Trump Will Be a Verb After This Election, But What It Will Mean Remains to be Seen

Some possibilities of how the verb “trump” could be used to describe future candidates.

It’s pretty rare that a person’s name becomes so intertwined with something that it comes to represent that very thing.

“Gerrymandering” came from Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry after he signed a bill in 1812 which manipulated election districts to benefit his political party.

Charles Boycott was an English estate manager whose ostracism by his local community in Ireland gave us the verb “to boycott”.

The verb “pasteurize” comes from the process invented by Louis Pasteur, and “mesmerize” comes from Dr. Franz Mesmer, the physician who studied hypnotism.

More recently, we have “MacGyver”, as in, “using seemingly useless trinkets and objects in your close vicinity together to accomplish an otherwise impossible task,” named after the 1985 television series.

And who could forget “Rickrolling,” the Internet meme involving an unexpected appearance of the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song, “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

You get the point.

Donald Trump is on the fast track to be included on that list, but what he will be known for has yet to be written.

Here are some possibilities of how the verb “Trump” could be used to describe future candidates:




  1. “To give meandering speeches, often without the aid of notes, an outline or teleprompter.”
    John Doe really trumped that speech. He spoke for an hour and a half and didn’t say anything.
  2. “To destroy a political party by bringing embarrassment or ridicule upon party voters, elected officials and/or candidates.”
    Jane Doe is going to trump that party if she doesn’t stop talking about the judge’s ethnicity.
  3. “To negatively impact down ballot candidates due to the unpopularity of the candidate at the top of the ballot.”
    The State Representative incumbent in Dallas County just got trumped.
  4. “To publicly insult people generally seen as deserving of honor.”
    Jane Doe just trumped that Gold Star family.
  5. “To associate one’s political opponents with derogatory characteristics.”
    Jane Doe trumped her opponent with “Lyin’” and “Crooked” nicknames.
  6. “To be crass in public speeches.”
    I can’t believe John Doe just trumped about his penis.

These are the verbs that might have come from the Donald Trump we saw from the beginning of his campaign up to about two weeks ago.

Things are a little different now. We just hit the 7th Inning Stretch of Labor Day. Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers are sliding and Trump’s are rising.

Clinton may have an improved Donald Trump on her hands — one a little more attuned to the voters who want change in Washington, D.C., but who also expect a little more diplomacy from the potential leader of the free world.

If this trend continues, the name Trump could come to mean something entirely different.




  1. “To be attuned to the desires of mainstream voters despite the conventional political wisdom.”
    John Doe trumped the immigration issue.
  2. “To surrounded oneself with experienced and qualified advisors.”
    It’s about time Jane Doe trumped her team with people she would actually listen to.
  3. “To debate in an aggressive style by confronting one’s political opponent with the opponent’s scandals and embarrassments, both past and present.”
    John Doe incessantly trumped Jane Doe about Benghazi, her private email server, and the Doe Foundation scandal.

If Donald Trump has his way, “trump” won’t be a verb at all. Instead, it will go down in American parlance as a noun:

“An amateur politician who, despite all odds, and the predictions of so-called experts, beat a career politician to become President of the United States.”

Wade Emmert is the former Chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party. Article originally published in on September 6, 2016.

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