President Trump’s Favorite Words

time

The unique vocabulary of Donald J. Trump

It's hard to believe, but the presidential term of Donald Trump is almost a quarter complete. Now, we could debate about what has gone on inside and outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for days. But, we're not a forum for that. We are, however, excited to examine the unique vocabulary that Trump has brought to the Oval Office. Jennifer Sclafani is a linguist at Georgetown University, and she says "he is interesting to me because linguistically, he speaks like everyone else, and we're not used to hearing that from the President."

And, Trump definitely has some favorite words . . . let's take a look at a few from his first term as president.

Huge/yuge

Whether it's something he just likes saying or a pronunciation affected by his understated New York accent, yuge is a prime example of Trump's linguistics in action. When talking about a truly grandiose scale: think solid-gold staircases—that's yuge.

Mental Floss notes that the word has been a featured term in the NYC and Philadelphia areas for years as well as overseas in the Irish cities of Cork and Dublin. They also accurately observed that the "h-dropping occurs in a specific environment: only in words that start with a hu—huge, humid, humongous." Seems like New York followed Trump into the White House with this one.

Bigly

We haven't heard this one much lately, but it's a legitimate word. We define it as "in a big way; greatly: Their gifts made the children smile bigly."

If you'll recall the campaign in the fall of 2016, Trump used the term in a debate, and it pretty much short-circuited Twitter. To which, Donald Jr. flatly stated "he said 'big league'." You decide.

Believe me

Believe me is an ordinary expression used most often to assure people that what you're saying is credible, i.e., "You can trust me on this, right?"

Trump has been questioned throughout his presidential campaign and first term, so it's not very surprising that he tacks on this phrase on, just to hit it home that he is a reliable source of information . . . even if you are reading that information on Twitter.

Stupid

This is a pejorative term that is meant as an insult—no other way to spin it. It's a real hard-hitter, and Trump has proven that he's not shy of hard-hitting.

However, we hope this is a word he uses less of in his second year, it's better to build 'em up rather than to knock em' down.

Loser

This is another one that carries a lot of weight, especially if a person of power uses it. Trump has used the term a lot, describing everyone from Cher to terrorists as losers.

There are two schools of thought here. One might suggest this approach is an indiscriminate use of the term, which may make its effect less serious. On the other hand, carpet-bombing your foes with this insult may be the path of least resistance that provides the highest return: a reaction.

Moron

And, to round out the pejorative insults that Trump loves, moron may be his favorite. This word has been used against anyone who doesn't align with conservative views, including the writers of Modern Family.

He also gets what he gives: Reports indicate that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson supposedly used this word to describe Trump during the summer of 2017.

We/They

Using these terms frequently is a way of choosing sides. It's "us" versus "them." We're the "good guys," and they're the "bad guys." Creating sides starts conversation and debate, and maybe that's the silver lining of the we/they conundrum. Complicity no more?

Then again, sometimes Trump just uses we all by its lonesome (Twitter never forgets). Mysterious . . . .

Fire and fury

President Donald Trump has been known to make some controversial remarks once in awhile. One that definitely got people's attention was this quote from August 8, 2017: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."

We define fire as a "a destructive conflagration," and fury as "unrestrained or violent anger, rage, passion, or the like." So, fire and fury used together in this context is indeed a very pointed threat. Back to the hard-hitting with this phrase.

Great

Great is a commonly used term to denote something that is really good, really outstanding. Example: "I will build a great, great wall on our southern border." And, who can forget "Make America great again!"

We sure can't and neither can most television shows, comedians, article headlines, news reports.

Incredible

The WashingtonTimes.com notes that "Donald never met a superlative he didn’t like," and that's right on the button. Incredible has to be right at the top.

There’s really nothing bad about a superlative here and there. However, when you overuse them, it gets harder and harder to differentiate between that which is truly incredible and what is merely average. There's another interesting usage of this word that Trump likes, as well . . . click ahead to see more.

The incredible men and women

With this phrase, Trump put away his fire and fury and is instead firing positive compliments. According to CNN, "if Trump is talking about incredible people, he is most likely talking about the military or law enforcement."

CNN is correct. "There is no single place I'd rather begin my trip than right here with all of you, the incredible men and women of the United States military.” And, we must say, it is a positive and notable thing to see respect given to such hardworking men and women.

Covfefe

In the early hours of May 31, 2017, the President decides to tweet, "Despite the negative press covfefe." That's it. Not only is there no such word, it's a glaring sentence fragment.

In the New York Times, former press secretary Sean Spicer said "The President and a small group of people know exactly what he meant." Considering the context it was used in, maybe it's code for coverage, as in "despite the negative press coverage." Regardless, we wouldn't be surprised if this word joins the English lexicon for good after all of its press covfefe this year.

Fake news

Of course, the term is now commonly used to describe some type of disinformation that is disseminated. Trump claims he invented the term, which The Washington Post says is untrue.

But, what the heck, we're adding it anyway, because even if Trump didn't coin it, he definitely put it on the map.

Tremendous (tremendously)

This is another (forgive us, we can't help it) tremendous, uh, superlative. The sheer number of memes out there give credence to this word on this list. Tremendous is used in precisely the same context as incredible; for Trump, they're totally interchangeable.

It's also not uncommon to hear that something was tremendously successful . . . .

A lot of money

Money, as you would expect, is a big(ly) thing for the President. But, a lot of money is oddly unspecific, right? It's open-ended and leaves wiggle room for interpretation.

He's used the term repeatedly: "Private jets cost a lot of money." "Puerto Rico is going to need a lot of money." "So, I greatly appreciate the fact that they’ve been able to cut our payroll for the United States. We’ll save a lot of money." "I made a lot of money in Atlantic City." Trump’s all about the money and he wants us all to know that he understands how to make a lot of it!

Millions and billions

When you're talking a lot of money . . . these are the go-to superlatives of choice. (Trillion doesn't get much play, does it? Perhaps, that would be setting the bar too high?) Millions (or “Millyins” as some cite Trump saying) and billions are mostly used to talk about financial deals with foreign countries, like with China.

One may theorize that the reason he repeatedly uses these large sums as imagery is that it's consistent with the "Trump brand." Tossing these amounts around just reinforces the perception that he's a financial expert.

Classy

Betsy Rymes is a linguistic anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and said on the site, WilsonQuarterly.com, "People have two ideas about the word classy. The first is that it’s sort of somebody who has class or seems high-class. The other, which seems like it’s gotten so saturated with sarcasm and irony, is used just as often to mean the opposite”.

Trump seems to use the first meaning of the word most often though, "I built the Grand Hyatt right next to Grand Central Station — beautiful, classy job — but then the city denied my request to have the top 10 floors illuminated with my face at night. Can you believe that?" Nope. Hard to fathom that decision.

You'll find out

You'll find out and you'll see. These verbal cliffhangers are phrases Trump uses to keep the audience guessing, to keep them circling in his orbit hoping for a scrap of information to feed on.

He's got the intel, and you don't. Wait and see. It’s like oral clickbait.

Winning

According to CNN.com "[winning] frames everything as a challenge, a competition to be won, which definitely echoes Trump's competitive personal nature and business background." The act of winning is an absolute essential ingredient to the Trump formula.

"You're going to win so much you may get tired of winning." There's danger in setting the level of expectation that high, though. If you miss it, you've got a long distance to fall.

Zero

Zero is literally nothing; so, it’s not hard to realize that Trump stores this word in his "disparaging" arsenal. Some tweets confirm this: "Crooked Hillary Clinton has zero natural talent." "Jeb Bush has zero communication skills."

It’s either zero or a million for President Trump . . . no in between.