To trump it all*

I feel TRUMP should be seen in a different light ... through the lens of etymology.

Wordy facts:

  • The verb ‘trump up’ (1695 onwards), meaning to fabricate, actually originates from the verb ‘trump’ (as early as 1513), meaning to deceive/cheat. This came from Old French ‘tromper’ and we still use the French expression ‘trompe l’oeil’ for art techniques that trick the eye into seeing optical illusions.

  • The noun ‘trump’ for the card of the highest ranking suit comes from 1529 and is probably special use of English ‘triumph’. It may also be loosely connected to ‘trumpet’, with the idea of announcing which suit is trump in a card game.

There are various other meanings too: the diverse heritage of the English language.

See? Nothing politically controversial here.

My only ‘policy’ is this: we need to keep words relevant for the next generation by discussing their origins, making connections between languages and expanding our vocabularies.

Has this given you a fresh perspective on TRUMP?

*I admit this isn't truly worthy of being a full blog post but I sometimes post similar snippets on social media as I find etymology an endless source of fascination.

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