Donald Trump’s Neologisms and Other New Words for His Politics

English Dictionary

Have you ever heard that William Shakespeare enriched the English language with new words and word forms? By the way, David Crystal has an interesting work on this topic. Whatever, I set this example in order to throw out an idea to you of how creative one must be to coin new words, which one’s descendants will use until the end of time.

Nonetheless, today it’s rather difficult to surprise us with neologisms. Within the last 10-15 years we’ve enlarged our vocabularies with dozens of terms for various devices, economic and social phenomena, even just everyday life issues. But if I ask you who are the authors of these terms, you’ll definitely need some time to google for their names.

I think I’ll devote one of my next posts to these people. And today we’ll discover the linguistic contribution made by the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump.

What can be so interesting about these words? Well, recently it’s been reported that some of his brainchildren can be included into the Oxford English Dictionary. (But I think it’s still worth checking the last updates. The OED and Merriam Webster may have already been upgraded with some Trumpisms.) But an expert lexicographer will tell you that it takes 10 years for a word to be added to a dictionary. It still can be added earlier provided that it’s become really popular and is clearly understood by many people.

Taking into account the fact that Donald Trump has more than 30 million subscribers in Twitter, and that he regularly gives speeches, there’s no wonder his neologisms have become so well known. Though remain not very clear.

Besides, Trump’s political actions have inspired some witty minds to coin a few new words that define various facets of his presidentship. You see, this man leaves nobody cold.

So, in the first part of this blog post we’ll check Trump’s original neologisms. And in the second part I’ll try to define, with the help of dictionaries and The Guardian, the meanings of the novel English language units related to Trump’s politics. Here we go!

White House in Washington

Part 1. Original Neologisms by Donald John Trump

These are the latest heroes of discussions in Twitter and online news sources. Let’s see what they mean and whether we can use them in our standard writing and speech.

Covfefe

It’s strange. It’s difficult to pronounce. And it has already received so many definitions that lexicographers will wrack their brains for a long time trying to discover the original meaning.

This word appeared in Donald Trump’s tweet at 12:06 AM on May 31. Quite a late post for the President, isn’t it? Or it’s just me who prefers sleeping at this time on Wednesdays? Whatever, it enclosed the phrase “despite the constant negative press…” And then this word in the end.

What is it? A noun or a verb? It looks very French to me, but it’s not, I’ve checked. The most reasonable idea suggests that it must have been “coverage”, but something went wrong. Urban Dictionary claims that it’s probably a code.

I think you can use this word in your essay if you mean something unusual or weird. But you should provide a brief explanation of its origins in brackets.

Bigly

In one of the 2016 debates, before Trump was elected the President, he was heard to use the adverb “bigly” in the context of “cutting taxes.” Despite the fact that the Washington Post and CNN reported that he said “big league”, which does sound quite the same, many listeners and some other media didn’t agree. Besides, how can taxes and high-level athletes be connected?

What’s more, the Guardian also notes that the future president encouraged his supporters by promising them in one of his speeches that they would win “bigly”.

Actually, it’s easy to guess what this word can mean. Even Merriam Webster Dictionary claimed in Twitter then that there is such a word in the English language. Probably, it’s just out of date. But the author of the tweet also added that Trump hadn’t used that word in the speech.

So, we can only guess now and rather avoid using this adverb. At least in academic writing.

Symblomatic

Although Bloomberg Businessweek claim that Trump wasn’t the first to use this mysterious word, still it became the focus of attention of mass media.

In his speech about the Oscars and Vanity Fair party after the award ceremony he described the latter as boring and “symblomatic.” There are suggestions that he might have implied either “emblematic”, “symbolic” or “symptomatic”. But something went wrong again and everybody heard a new adjective.

I’m really not sure what this word means, so I wouldn’t use it in my articles or essays.

Unpresidented

On the one hand, it’s just a funny misspelling of the word “unprecedented.” On the other hand, when it’s used in political context by the President of the United States, it seems more meaningful than it’s probably supposed to.   

Man Scratching Head

Part 2. Brand-New but Recognized New Words for Donald Trump’s Politics

Honestly, I checked the OED and Merriam Webster for the definitions of the words below. I found some of them in Merriam Webster, so here you have the really adequate explanations of some of these neologisms. The other definitions are based on what I read in The Guardian and The Week.

If you happen to write a paper on the current state American economics or on the latest Donald Trump’s innovations, you’d better ask your professor in advance if using these words is okay. That’s just to make sure you’ll be understood in the way you expect.   

Trumpear

Have you noticed the stem? Good. This is a slightly modified verb from the Spanish language. It was coined by Mexicans, who aren’t fond of the current U.S. President and some of his ideas.

In Spanish there is “trompear”, which means “to punch, to hit.” After you change one vowel, you get the verb with the meaning “to propose or do silly or incredible things”, or something like that.

As you see, the word has a rather negative meaning, so you’d better avoid using it alone. Besides, it’s from the Spanish language. But if you got really interested in its connotation, you can use in among a few English synonyms, like “be eccentric”, or some metaphors, like “go against the norms.”

Trumponomics

Today you can find the definition of this word online in Urban Dictionary (looks like these guys keep up with all latest trends very successfully) and in Investopedia.

In a nutshell, it’s the new economic policy developed by the U.S. President and aimed at “making America great again.” (And has anything really disastrous happened to this country? Never mind.) So, in one of his interviews Donald Trump highlighted that he would take care of tax cuts, GDP growth, higher salaries and so on.

However, critics believe that trumponomics is mostly a set of proposals, put forward not by expert economists but by businessmen courtiers. Consequently, it’s unlikely to lead the country to the promised greatness. Still, time will show.

By the way, on the Internet you can find really compelling materials if you’re going to write a paper on some similar topics. Personally I liked the article by The Economist. 

Trumpkin

Although several months have passed after the Halloween celebrations, it’s certainly never late to remember about the tradition of carving pumpkins and crafting jack-o’-lanterns.

Actually, the idea to carve a portrait of Donald Trump on pumpkins appeared in 2016, when he was running for U.S. presidentship. And it looks like in 2017 it hasn’t lost a gram of popularity.

I scrolled through the photos of trumpkins on The Daily Mail and must admit that some of them are carved really skillfully. But generally, I’m not very keen on this idea. I wouldn’t like to have President’s faces all over my yard or neighbourhood.

Trumpertantrum

The second part of this word, “tantrum”, means a situation when a person, especially a child or teenager, behaves in a rather aggressive, unreasonable and emotional way. It’s usually used in the word combination “temper tantrum.”

If we’re talking about trumpertantrum, it’s defined as posting rude, offensive, vengeful tweets by Donald Trump’s supporters or even the President himself.

I wouldn’t like to comment on that. But in my humble opinion, that’s not the way politics must work.  

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