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Trump words

/ 12:32 AM February 03, 2017

In the first days of Donald Trump’s presidency we are seeing America, and the world, going through dramatic changes—“good” or “bad” depending on one’s political views.

The strongest reactions I’ve been getting are from Filipino-American friends, some of whom are in panic with Trump’s outright ban on the entry of nationals of seven countries, and stricter screening of Muslims in general. My friends worry—prematurely, I believe—that we may eventually be affected if the Trump administration decides it wants to be stricter with immigrants in general.

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But let’s get light today and do another linguistic exercise, focusing on the way Trump’s election campaign and his coming into the White House have hastened the development of new words using, well, his name. I checked the site urbandictionary.com and was flabbergasted at the words that start with “trump.” I’m listing those that are clearly generated from President Trump.

There are nine in all: “trumpertantrum” and “trumpestuous,” which are self-explanatory; “trumpescent” to refer to “expensive yet vile design aesthetics” (translation: expensive but bad taste); the unexpected “trumpey,” to refer to the members of Trump’s family, as well as his policies; “trumpet boy,” who has all the latest news about Trump; and, for Trump supporters, “Trumper Thumper,” “trumpescite” and “trumpeteer.”

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For the ninth word, I hope you enjoyed that quick word tour and are feeling “trumpertained.”

I was surprised that the word “trumped” didn’t appear as a negative term. “Trump” and “trumped” preceded the rise of Donald Trump, a trump card referring to the game of bridge where you get a card that could make you win. To “trump” then means to do better than someone else, with a statement or action; to “get trumped” is to lose to someone else.

To some extent that last meaning is negative, but in its original form, it still means to lose in a fair game. It’s interesting that in the Philippine context, I’m hearing “trumped” used to mean an unexpected defeat, with insinuations of losing because of dirty tricks. Its connotations include the sense of being dumped.

This connotation seems to date back to that horrible week last November when Trump won the US presidential race (well, winning in the electoral votes, but not in the actual number of votes cast). It was a close fight, and shocked the world because many people thought there was no way he could win—but win he did on Nov. 9.

Triple whammy

Trump’s victory came just two days after our Supreme Court ruled that Ferdinand Marcos’ remains could be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Filipinos were dazed—how could two terrible things happen in the same week? There was some fretting, even from normally rational people: Bad luck comes in threes so will there be a third this week?

There was no triple whammy… until Nov. 18 with the hasty and sneaky Marcos burial.

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Just this month, as UP’s board of regents geared up to elect the next Diliman chancellor, my friends asked why I was so complacent and not running around chasing votes. They threatened me: “Sige, sige, baka ma-trump ka.” I was adamant: I will not be trumped. I was too busy with work, and my father was in hospital during the search period.

I was not trumped, I’m pleased to report, thanks to my supporters who didn’t have to trump—and yes, I did my part, reminding friends to keep the high moral ground.

So I’m now accepting condolences for a new 3-year sentence. (Joke, joke. I’m happy to serve and that’s not said a la SM Supermarkets).

To return to trump words, nine new words generated from “trump” and “trumpet” in such a short period is a linguistic phenomenon.

I’m also intrigued that the trump neologisms (new words) are linked to trumpets only in two instances: “trumpet boy” and “trumpeteer.” Until I checked the urban dictionary site, I was not aware that “trumpet” has generated many profane words used mainly to insult people.

Body functions

These trumpet words are found in two broad categories, both body functions, one from the rear and the other from the front.

You see, “trumpet” can mean “to fart,” and this should interest Filipinos because we do crack a lot of toilet jokes, including those that refer to passing wind. In American English, people who frequently fart are said to have a “trumpet bun,” a “trumpet arse,” or a “trumpet ass” (more specific than “trumpet arse,” referring to farting while s*itting, and I don’t mean sitting although, yes, you sit when you s*it).  Then there’s “trumpet butt,” different from “trumpet bun,” the former referring to farting “in key” (calling the College of Music!). There’s a similar musical term, “trumpet fart,” which is a long one starting low and ending high. A “trumpet choke” is an attempt to suppress the farting, in key or not. Finally, a “trumpeter’s loft” is where all the music begins.

From a back function we move to the front, with “trumpet” referring to sex.  I have to be careful here because the Inquirer is a family newspaper, so you will have to look up their meanings on the web. You have “trumpet creeper,” “trumpet cookie,” “trumpet donkey,” “trumpet flower” and “trumpet b.j.” Get it?

Let’s leave English and have a quick look at Mexican Spanish, the Mexicans understandably irritated, to put it mildly, by Trump. At the height of his campaign and his tirades against America’s southern neighbor, the Mexicans transformed their “trompear” (to hit or to punch) to “trumpear,” which has acquired several meanings: “to hit, vilify to terrorize in elections,” “to propose stupid things impossible to realize” and “to do ridiculous things and contradict yourself afterwards.” (See “A new verb in Mexico” in The New York Times. That same article describes one Mexican eatery creating a Donald Trump taco, which has tongue (presumably ox tongue), pig snout and a little bit of cow’s brain.)

At home, do we have President Duterte generating new terms?  It seems that so far it’s only “dutertards,” to refer to Mr. Duterte’s diehard fans. To retaliate, the fans have coined “yellowtards” to refer to supporters of Noynoy Aquino.

But using “retard” to insult someone is considered very politically incorrect, even when applied to…

That’s about it. It seems that for Mr. Duterte, it’s not new words being coined but his own words, his profanities in particular, that have caught people’s attention. It’s sort of disappointing considering that we Filipinos are usually quite good, and witty, with coining new words.

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TAGS: Donald Trump, immigrant, Immigration, opinion, Trump, US
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