The Second GOP Debate: Candidates' Most Relevant Words

For the Republican presidential debate of Sept. 16, 2015, we surveyed the candidates’ vocabulary, determining their most relevant words according to an analysis of the debate transcript. For more, see: " The Presidential (and Not So Presidential) Vocabulary of the Second GOP Debate."

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. deterrent
    something immaterial that interferes with action or progress
    We should use offensive tactics as it relates to cyber security, send a deterrent signal to China… If we do that, it’s going to create a healthier deterrent effect than anything else I can think of. -- Jeb Bush
  2. existential
    relating to or dealing with the state of being
    We’re talking about global jihadists who actually want to destroy us. They are an existential threat to our nation. -- Ben Carson
  3. veto
    a vote that blocks a decision
    Every morning I get up, I veto 400 bills from a crazy liberal Democratic legislature, not one of them has been overridden. I’ve vetoed more tax increases than any governor in American history. -- Chris Christie
  4. catastrophic
    extremely harmful; bringing physical or financial ruin
    Weakness is provocative, and this Iranian nuclear deal is nothing short of catastrophic… If I am elected president, on the very first day in office, I will rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal. -- Ted Cruz
  5. fester
    ripen and generate pus
    Problems have festered in Washington for too long... You know what a leader does? They challenge the status quo, they solve problems that have festered for a long time and they produce results. --Carly Fiorina
  6. redefine
    give a new or different meaning to
    The Supreme Court in a very, very divided decision decided out of thin air that they were just going to redefine marriage. --Mike Huckabee
  7. unified
    formed or united into a whole
    We work better when we are unified… We will be stronger when we are unified... Lift Americans, unify, give hope, grow America, and restore it to that great, shining city on a hill. --John Kasich
  8. non sequitur
    a reply that has no relevance to what preceded it
    I kind of have to laugh when I think of, ‘Mmm, sounds like a non sequitur.' --Rand Paul
  9. eviscerate
    remove the entrails of
    We are eviscerating our military… We have a world that grows increasingly dangerous, and we are eviscerating our military spending and signing deals with Iran. --Marco Rubio
  10. assimilation
    the process of absorbing one cultural group into another
    We have a country, where, to assimilate, you have to speak English. And I think that where he was, and the way it came out didn’t sound right to me. We have to have assimilation – to have a country, we have to have assimilation. --Donald Trump
  11. optimist
    a person disposed to take a favorable view of things
    Ronald Reagan wasn’t just a conservative Republican, he was an eternal optimist in the American people. --Scott Walker

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