Talking of verbing, Trump is schlonging it


Talking of “verbing”, as Glossophilia was doing yesterday, we had a lovely example of it coming from the U.S.’s favorite presidential wannabe a couple of days ago, as Dana Milbank reported colorfully in the Washington Post today:

“Or make that “schlonged.” Trump, in his latest bit of narishkeit, proclaimed Monday night that Hillary Clinton got “schlonged” by Barack Obama in their 2008 contest. Thus did Trump bastardize a Yiddish noun for penis (literally, serpent) by turning it into a verb in front of 7,500 people and millions more who would see it on TV.” (See the full article here; its Yiddish flavor will also appeal to Glossophiles everywhere.)

Trump, according to the linguist Steven Pinker, was apparently using the noun schlong — which arrived in the English lexicon courtesy of Yiddish and Middle German —  uniquely, or at least for the first time publicly, as a verb. “Given Trump’s history of vulgarity and misogyny, it’s entirely possible that he had created a sexist term for ‘defeat’ (as far as I know there is no such slang verb in Yiddish). But given his history with sloppy language it’s also possible that it’s a malaprop.”

Whatever his intentions — linguistic or otherwise — it’s fun to know that Trump is schlonging the language as creatively as he’s bastardizing his own political party. To quote Mr. Milbank in closing, “Yiddish insults are custom-tailored for the overbearing and boorish gantseh macher that Trump has made of himself. He’s a shmegegi and a mamzer, a fabrecher and a nudnik with a lot of chutzpah (and a tuches un a halb). Sorry, you’ll have to look those up.”


3 thoughts on “Talking of verbing, Trump is schlonging it

  1. Jan Burke

    For the record — Dana Timothy Milbank is male. I’ll pass on the temptation to use Yiddish or even Trumpery expressions here.

  2. Profling

    For a so-called misogynist, Trump sure has a taste for beautiful wives. I doubt the schmendrick Pinkster does.

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