Trumptionary 3: Barnhart’s Never-Finished Dictionary of Politics

Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 12.55.10 PMWhatever fate the electorate has for Donald Trump next week, he has already gained such attention that he has inspired the media to unprecedented heights in devising new words. A lone lexicographer from the renowned Barnhart lexicographical family has undertaken to collect a heap of these words for posterity, giving each the documentation that befits a historical dictionary.

Last March I had the pleasure and privilege of reporting in Lingua Franca two excerpts from this burgeoning collection.

Here, on the eve of the election, is a third installment. I’ll turn the rest of this post over to the lexicographer David Barnhart himself.

“Here we go again! Keeping up with language is always a struggle. Below are several more words in the collection that will appear in Barnhart’s Never-Finished Dictionary of Politics of the 21st Century, forthcoming from Lexik House before Inauguration Day January 20. 

“The words below are treated with quotations, as has been the tradition of the Barnhart dictionaries of new English (1973, 1980, 1990) and The Barnhart Dictionary Companion (1982 onward). Unlike the previous installments of the Trumptionary, there are terms not directly based upon the Donald’s last name. A few are present because he used — or popularized — or exemplified them (dark poll, gotcha question, and the like).”

anti-Trump or pro-Trump: opposed to or supportive of his candidacy. “Here comes the anti-Trump brigade.” February 12, 2016, The Washington Post. “The pro-Trump, anti-Clinton media world rippled with fevered speculation.” October 4, 2016, The Washington Post.

dark poll: an opinion survey engineered to produce a desired result. “They call them ‘dark polls.’ They are phony polls put out by phony media.” October 25, 2016,

gotcha question: a question from a journalist intended to embarrass, trap, or confuse a politician. “Trump stumped on foreign policy, hits ‘gotcha’ question.” September 4, 2015, CNN Politics.

manterrupt: (of a man) to interrupt a woman who is speaking, especially repeatedly or in an aggressive manner. “Hillary Clinton Will Not Be Manterrupted.” September 27, 2016, The New York Times.

meta-lie: a lie about lying. “One thing he does frequently is to insist he never said something that he’s getting slammed for saying — like when he proposed that Japan should acquire nuclear weapons to defend itself against North Korea, and then denied ever having floated such an idea. In such cases, he’s telling what we might call a meta-lie.” July/August 2016,

out-Trump: to act like an exaggerated version of Donald J. Trump. “The North Carolinian ‘out-Trumped’ Donald Trump and was so full of bunkum that it was part of his nickname, ‘Buncombe Bob.’” July 15, 2015, The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.

post-Trump: having to do with the time following his candidacy. “His vision of the post-Trump political landscape is far bleaker.” September 7, 2016, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia).

pre-Trump: having to do with the time before his candidacy. “Few residents seem to hold strong opinions about her … pre-Trump past,” September 5, 2016, The Guardian (London).

Trump: go (the) full Trump: to act in an extremely harsh and unfriendly way. “Watch a Trump Supporter Go Full Trump on Ted Cruz.” May 2, 2016,

Trump effect or Trump factor: His influence on a down-ballot race . “It’s kind of the Donald Trump effect: ‘It’s all about me,’” May 1, 2012, The Hill. “Democrats … believe the Trump factor can play an important role in deciding what is expected to be a very tight race.” October 23, 2016, The Hartford Currant.

Trumpesque: characteristic of the Donald. “One beefy applicant wore a Trumpesque reddish-brown toupee.” March 28, 2004, The New York Times.

Trumpista: a woman who is a strong supporter. “If you’re looking for a candidate whose polling surge looks most like a march of voter folly, the Donald and his Trumpistas wouldn’t be the place I’d start.” September 20, 2015, The New York Times.

Trumpmania: strong popularity of the candidate, especially among Republicans. “Trump has peaked, Trumpmania is over.” August 21, 2015, Plus Media Solutions.

Trump-proof: resistant to his influence. “The primary process might not be Trump-proof, but the democratic governing process … is designed to stifle would-be dictators.” August 7, 2016, Poughkeepsie Journal.

Trump-tastic: eccentrically and irrationally wonderful. “‘We’re going to have a Trump-tastic time,’ said Tricia Cunningham, who coordinates volunteer efforts for Mr. Trump.” July 17, 2016, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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