Americans were stumped by covfefe, DACA, and bitcoin, according to Google's top 'What is' searches this year

We’ve all started a Google search by typing the words “what is” into the empty box.

But what do people type after those two words?

As part of its end-of-the-year recap, Google compiled the most popular queries of 2017 that used the “what is” phrase.

The results reflect a tumultuous year in politics, natural disasters, and protests. Americans took to the search engine to learn about topics like DACA, the Paris Climate Agreement, antifa, and net neutrality.

Here’s the complete list of the top ten Google searches in the US beginning with the phrase “what is:”

No. 10: What is a hurricane?

American’s searched for further clarification on hurricanes following Hurricane Harvey, the costliest disaster to hit the US in history, and Hurricane Irma, which was one of the strongest hurricanes to cross the Atlantic basin.

No. 9: What is the Paris Climate Agreement?

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In June, President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement and Americans took to the internet to learn more about the controversial move.

No. 8: What is a fidget spinner?


In April, the fidget spinner craze swept across the US. As early as May, it was estimated that more than 200 million spinners had been shipped to US retailers.

No. 7: What is the antikythera mechanism?

The internet’s fixation with the antikythera mechanism stemmed from a Google Doodle which graced Google’s landing page in May. The doodle depicted the antikythera mechanism, an archaic computational relic that was used to track the solar system as early as 85 B.C. It was originally discovered in 1902.

No. 6: What is covfefe?

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“Covfefe” is still the biggest mystery of the year. The search for “what is covfefe” was inspired by an inexplicable, fragmented tweet posted by President Trump in May: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”

No. 5: What is net neutrality?

The vote on net neutrality takes place on Thursday. The search term reflects the FCC’s impending vote, which could transform the way Americans use the internet.

No. 4: What is antifa?

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Anti-fascist group antifa made headlines in February when protestors overtook UC Berkeley in response to an event hosted by controversial extreme-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos.

No. 3: What is a solar eclipse?

2017 marked the first year in nearly a century that a solar eclipse crossed the US from coast to coast, and there was tons of interest in when, where and how to view the phenomenon.

No. 2: What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin made history in November when it was valuated at more than $US10,000 for the first time. The price of the cryptocurrency has continued to surge as more and more people jump on the bandwagon.

No. 1: What is DACA?

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In September, the Trump administration announced its plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era regulation that protects children from immigrant families who were born on US soil. Many of the people searching for DACA may have already known about the people affected by the regulation through the more familiar term: Dreamers.

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