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.
  • Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the lastest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.