Merriam-Webster Tries to Explain Cocaine-Related Phrase ‘Key Bump’ After Madison Cawthorn Remarks Trend

North Carolina congressman Cawthorn said some interesting things in a podcast earlier this week

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After North Carolina Republican Rep Madison Cawthorn made headlines for making claims about orgies and drug use in Washington, and using the phrase “key bump,” Merriam-Webster has weighed in.

“People are talking about ‘key bumps,’ and so we have a duty to tell you some things about this,” Merriam-Webster tweeted Wednesday, beginning a Twitter chain looking into what Cawthorn might have meant by the two words.

“A ‘bump,’ in this context, may be defined as ‘a small quantity of an illicit drug when inhaled in powdered form at one time,’” Merriam-Webster wrote in another tweet. “We do not enter ‘key bump’ as a fixed phrase, as it has not yet demonstrated wide currency of use.”

“You may, if you choose, refer to ‘small amounts of drugs sniffed off a key’ as ‘key bumps,’ but there is something you should be aware of…,” the dictionary brand continued.

“This use of ‘key’ is what we call an attributive noun; you can read more about it here,” it wrote linking to a page about nouns that look like adjectives.

Cawthorn made headlines after an appearance on the “Warrior Poet Society” podcast, after host John Lovell brought up the Netflix series “House of Cards.” Lovell asked Cawthorn how similar Congress life is to the portrayal in the show. 

“The sexual perversion that goes on in Washington … being kind of a young guy in Washington, where the average of is probably 60 or 70 — [you] look at all these people, a lot of them that I’ve looked up to through my life, I’ve always paid attention to politics,” Cawthorn said.

“Then all of a sudden you get invited, ‘oh hey, we’re going to have a sexual get-together at one of our homes, you should come.’ What did you just ask me to come to? And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy,” he continued. “Some of the people leading on the movement to try and remove addiction in our country, and then you watch them do a key bump of cocaine right in front of you. And it’s like, this is wild.”

The Republican party has responded by expressing their disappointment over Cawthorn’s remarks.