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Trump infiltrates the Oxford Dictionary

Trump infiltrates the Oxford Dictionary

Just when you thought it was safe to open a dictionary…

Personally, I didn’t think that Donald Trump could infiltrate any more of my daily life, but I was so wrong. There is a chance that Trump-based expressions might find their way into the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary soon.

Popular phrases such as ‘Trumponomics, ‘Trumpertantrum’ and (my personal favourite), ‘trumpkin’ are under consideration for inclusion in the OED at the moment, after Trump’s presidency has already caused several new words to be coined and used frequently against the president on social media platforms such as Twitter.

If you’re not familiar with the words, ‘Trumponomics’ refers to his own brand of an economic policy, ‘Trumpertantrum’ is when he gets angry on Twitter, and ‘Trumpkin’ is a word for one of the (unnervingly realistic) pumpkins carved to look like Trump.

This may come as a bit of a surprise, since words generally need to be in common parlance for a few years before they are considered for entry, but these words have been added to a list of potential words to be ‘fast-tracked’ into the OED, largely due to the high level of historical disruption since Trump’s presidency began.


Eleanor Maier, the associate editor of the Oxford English Dictionary explained to The Guardian that social media was the cause of these ‘Trumpisms’ fast-tracking, and that twitter in particular has caused the ‘Trumpisms’ to spread into the wider population.

‘Not everything we log will satisfy our inclusion criteria and some of them are likely to be relatively short-lived,

‘But it means we have a record of the usage and a place to add evidence and developments.”

In addition, Maier also explained that the word would usually have to be understood without explanation in common conversation for it to meet the criteria for inclusion. 

Some other new coinages (or ‘neologisms’) which have been triggered by recent political unrest include the overly-familiar ‘Brexit’ (just ask Theresa May if you’d like to know what that one means), and ‘alt-right’, which were both added to the dictionary last year, according to the Guardian. In addition, the sinister phrase ‘post-truth’ has been added to online dictionaries, and is under consideration for inclusion in the OED as well.

If that wasn’t enough excitement, there are plenty more potential Trump-isms which could make their way onto the pages of a dictionary near you. These include Trumpflation (the inflation which experts predict his ‘Trumponomics’ will cause); as well as various terms for a male Trump supporter (a Trumpist) and a female supporter (the very musical ‘Trumpette’).

However, before you get too depressed, this trend for new words about the president may end up being somewhat short-lived.

As Maier explained to the Guardian: ‘It may seem that the current political situation has given rise to new words at a faster rate than before, but it would be interesting to see if Lincoln, Reagan, Thatcher, and Clinton, for example, inspired at the time a similar number of short-lived, and now forgotten, neologisms.’

Holly Smith Editor