Notable Words of the 2016 Election

atkins bookshelf wordsCertainly, the 2016 presidential election has been one of the most mean-spirited, divisive, and offensive in the nation’s recent history. But politics is a double-edged sword: it is as annoying as it is fascinating, but in a schadenfreund way. Who can resist the swamp of misery that presidential candidates slog through for over a year? The never-ending exchange of insults, name-calling, finger-pointing, temper tantrums, the spinning of intricate web of lies, sensational sound bites, and so forth. The attention that these two dueling candidates have drawn is unprecedented. To get a sense of the scale, consider that most presidential debates are watched by 60-70 million viewers. However, the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, on September 26, was watched by over 84 million viewers — the most watched debate in the history of the country. Hence, voters are carefully noting how the candidates behave, what they believe, and what they say. Regardless of who wins the election, the acrimonious 2016 campaign has impacted the lexicon of the world. The editors at Merriam Webster and the Oxford English Dictionaries noted there were several surges in word lookups right after the debates and during breaking news cycles throughout the 2016 election. Here are some of the words and phrases that colored the 2016 presidential election:

alt-right: Shortened form of alternative right, a political movement that combines right-wing ideologies with racialized nationalism

anchor baby: a child born to American parents that are not citizens

basket of deplorables: large number of people who are bad (presumably because they are racist, sexist, or xenophobic)

big league: major, important; however, Trump uses it as an adverb, to mean completely or “big time”

bigly: 1. with great force or violently  2. boastfully or proudly. However, Trump uses it to mean completely or “big time”

braggadocious: archaic term for arrogant or boastful

cuckservative: an insulting term for mainstream conservatives

demagogue: a political leader who seeks support by appealing to emotions and prejudices or making false claims rather than by using rational arguments

disavow: to disown, to disclaim knowledge of or responsibility for something

healther: people who believe that Clinton is hiding a grave illness

juggernaut: a large, destructive force

loser: a person who has lost something; however, Trump uses it for anyone who disagrees with him

malarkey: nonsense; meaningless talk

misognyist: a person who hates women

oleaginous: having the nature of oil, unctuous, smarmy

pussyfoot: to avoid making a definite decision due to doubt or fear

Pyrrhic victory: a victory won at too great a cost

stop and frisk: a law that allows a police officer stop and pat down a person based on suspicion 

trumpery: attractive articles of little worth; showy but worthless

xenophobic: fearful of foreigners

yuge: the way Trump pronounces “huge”

Real related posts: There’s a Word for That: Trumpery
What Rhymes with Orange?
The Most Mispronounced Words
Words with Letters in Alphabetical Order
Difficult Tongue Twisters
Word Oddities: Fun with Vowels100 Words Almost Everyone Mispronounces

The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations

For further reading: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2008/top-ten-presidential-debates-1960-to-present.html
http://time.com/4535588/2016-election-words-debates/?xid=newsletter-brief
http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2016/10/us-election-words/
http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2016/02/political-profanity/
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/dictionary-expert-bigly-is-actually-933072
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/28/us/braggadocio-in-trump-and-clinton-debate-words-that-sent-viewers-to-the-dictionary.html

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