When Donald Trump the candidate famously said back in 2015, “I’m very highly educated. I know words, I know the best words” (via The Washington Post), who knew that would be a sign that we’d eventually be going back to the books in 2020 to try and track down words that we weren’t all that familiar with?
One of his recent tweets describing his campaign rallies indeed sent us back to the books with the use of a word directed at New York Times writer Maggie Haberman. “@maggieNYT There has never been a time in either of my two Campaigns when I felt we had a stronger chance of winning than we do right now. Early voting reports look far stronger than originally anticipated. Every RALLY is BOFFO. @MarkMeadows & team are doing a fantastic job….” Trump wrote. And just like that, boffo was “a thing.”
Trump has committed several gaffes in the past
“Boffo” is definitely a word, says Merriam Webster, authority of all things involving, well, words. The company, which produces dictionaries, helpfully tweeted: “Our current top search: ‘boffo,'” recognizing that the masses were scrambling to try to figure out exactly what boffo meant. Merriam Webster itself defines “boffo” as “extremely successful; sensational,” and says it was typically used in show business. The word goes back to the 1930s, long before the civil rights movement and just 10 years after women were given the right to vote. Searches on Oct. 19 spiked 90,000 percent thanks to Trump’s tweet.
This isn’t the first time Merriam Webster was called upon to fact check the president for throwing up a word that we either didn’t quite understand, or that didn’t exist altogether. Who can forget Trump’s use of “covfefe,” as in, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe” (via USA Today). For that Merriam Webster tweeted: “Wakes up. Checks Twitter… Uh… Lookups fo… Regrets checking Twitter. Goes back to bed.” Then there was the time when Trump referred to the nation of “Nambia” during a gathering with African leaders — The White House later clarified that Trump had, in fact, meant Namibia (via Business Insider).
Whether or not they’re the “best words,” Trump’s vocabulary is definitely keeping everyone on their toes.
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