Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Name recognition

As a TV star he was known as the Trumpster. It’s an interesting way to construct a nickname. The definite article elevates the subject to guru status, while the diminutive suffix suggests intimacy and affection. Not everyone with a following gets this treatment, but not every name lends itself to the form. Try it with Kasich.

The word Trumpster floats poetically between trickster and dumpster. Now that Trump’s followers are getting almost as much attention as the man himself, it has acquired a new meaning as a term for the true believers, otherwise known as trumplings.

Trump’s name has turned out to be a linguistic playground. Even in its original form it’s richly evocative, suggesting a winning hand, while carrying lofty suggestions of a ceremonial fanfare, a martial summons, or a final encounter with the Almighty as imagined by St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians: Behold, we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. Less loftily, it’s slang for fart.

Dictionary definitions of ‘trumpery’ are suddenly popular (calculated to deceive by false show, trifles, rubbish, nonsense). Commentators have come up with the term Trumponomics, which is a bit like designing the packaging for some brilliant devise that hasn’t been invented yet. Then there’s the name’s irresistible rhyming potential, exploited by the Dump Trump movement. For some, the Trump Rump is the part of the anatomy from which the would-be president speaks. I hope to see the same phrase recycled for the surviving Donald-loyalists once the Republican Party has splintered irrevocably into warring factions and the body politic is on a waiting list for a trumpectomy. 

Meanwhile, here are a few Trump variations that have not yet entered the lexicon:

Trumpf – a cascade of meaningless words

Trumpkopf – an impressionable voter

Trumpen proletariat – economically disadvantaged people who have not yet worked out that they should be voting for Bernie Sanders

Trumpo – one who suffers from the delusion that in uttering xenophobic slurs he is courageously standing up to the ‘new McCarthyism’ of political correctness

Trumple – to implode after a meteoric rise 


  1. This is Trumpatstic! You really captured the spirit of the Trumpiator. I think many on the right will continue to Trumpiate until they go blind. I can't wait until the Republican party finds it is so constipated that it can't dump Trump. Best wishes.

  2. Joe I think this one trumps your new one, though I totally buy the Ceasar bit and love that one as well. As usual your erudiction blows the best writers in the Guardian out the ballpark. Did see a comparison with Archie Bunker though which was pretty good. Loved Archie and love Donald. Should get every medal going for speeding up the the demise of the monster that is the Republican Party since 1980. Nobody else could have done it as well.

    1. Thanks, Michael. You're too kind. Thanks for directing me to the Archie Bunker piece.