St. Louis Puts 'Dumpster Fire' in the Dictionary — Literally


  • photo by Amanda Mueller

Way back in July 2016, a graphic featured in a KMOV news story went viral. The image showed the locations of the many fires that had occurred in dumpsters overnight in the St. Louis area.

This accidental work of art quickly took over the internet both local and beyond, and showed the city of St. Louis ringed by no less than 22 labels all screaming "DUMPSTER FIRE."

The phrase quickly caught on in pop culture, likely because there were so many occasions to use it in relation to the current presidential administration. In fact, if you search for "Trump" + "dumpster fire," Google returns a shocking 272,000 results. (You can read all about its rise in popularity at the essential website Know Your Meme.)

And now it's in the dictionary. And not just Urban Dictionary, but the big boss: Merriam-Webster.

Merriam-Webster defines its new entry as such:

dumpster fire
US, informal
an utterly calamitous or mismanaged situation or occurrence: disaster

Yep, that seems to apply to quite a few current situations, doesn't it? Like, what did we even say before we all started saying dumpster fire? A world without constant figurative dumpster fires seems like so very long ago.

But at least now we have the right words for our situation. On behalf of all of St. Louis, you're welcome.
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