The Trumpery of Trump: Life Imitates Definition

The word ‘trumpery’ is defined as below in the Oxford dictionary, which ought to know what it means if anyone does. Definitions are important during an election year during which phrases like, say, ‘believing in the constitution,’ are tossed around with little regard for the article referenced.

NOUN (plural trumperies):

1 Attractive articles of little value or use.

1.1 Practices or beliefs that are superficially or visually appealing but have little real value or worth.


1 Showy but worthless:trumpery jewelry

1.1 Delusive or shallow: ‘that trumpery hope which lets us dupe ourselves’


Late Middle English (denoting trickery): from Old French tromperie, from tromper ‘deceive’.

N. B. We have learned from John Oliver that Donald Trump’s original family name was Drumpf. One of his forebears changed the name to Trump, unaware of any potential future irony. It’s probably just a bizarre coincidence that so many in the United States and without think that the word ‘trumpery’ fits Trump so well.

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