In Words

It’s one of those words that gets sillier the more you say it. Trump. Trump. Trump. Trump. Trump. See what I mean? Trump. Try putting ‘President’ in front of it and it sounds even more ridiculous, doesn’t it? But in case the ridiculous should become a reality, as it tends to do in matters of politics, it might help to understand a little more about the word Trump.


You can bet he’s had a team of branding specialists looking into the etymology of his name and this is what they would have unearthed. Firstly, the two chief meanings of trump: one being to overpower or outsmart, as in ‘trump card’, which he somehow managed to do to Ted Cruz this week; the other being to fabricate, as in ‘trumped up’, which… no, let’s not go there. I seem to recall he has a team of ferocious lawyers too.

Interestingly, the two meanings have different roots but seem to have come together in one man. Trump as in ‘trump card’ is derived from the word ‘triumph’, whereas trump as in ‘trumped up’ stems from the French word ‘tromper’, meaning to deceive. Obvious really. There are also links to trumpets, fools, elephants etc etc.

So, all in all a perfect name for a Presidential candidate, you might think. But then there’s the schoolboy definition, which I won’t spell out here for the sake of delicacy, but might just prove to be the most apposite of them all.

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