Kim Jong Un and ‘dotard’ Trump get the internet excited about words again

north korea kim jong un donald trump dotard
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un poses for pictures with female pilots as he provides field guidance to the flight drill of female pilots of pursuit planes of the KPA Air and Anti-Air Force in Pyongyang November 28, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA

US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un may be engaged in a game of nuclear table tennis, but at least the verbal battle is getting people interested in English again.

Discounting Trump’s covfefe moment, a new word has sparked the imagination of the internet, and it’s courtesy of Kim Jong Un.

In response to Trump’s fiery comments at the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week, the North Korean leader delivered a few choice words of his own.

Calling Trump “deranged” and a “frightened dog”, Kim Jong Un also labelled the US leader a “dotard” (this after translation).

Naturally, the internet latched onto the word, and frantically slammed the six letters into Google.

According to the Mountain View search giant, queries for “dotard” heavily outweighed those for “Donald Trump” within 24 hours.


Over on Twitter, users also embraced the word, with some nodding indefinitely upon learning its definition.

Merriam-Webster also helped users crack the code.

“Kim Jong Un calls Trump a mentally deranged U.S. dotard. Searches for ‘dotard’ are high as a kite,” the dictionary company tweeted.

The tweet itself received over 7000 retweets, with 12500 spare likes to boot.

But the word has a lesser known meaning. Merriam-Webster explains:

The word as used today commonly means “a person in his or her dotage” (dotage is “a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness”). Dotard, which comes from the Middle English word doten (meaning “to dote”), initially had the meaning of “imbecile” when it began being used in the 14th century.

While this incident will undoubtedly spurn a slew of memes, it’s also getting the internet interested in words again. That’s a good thing for the digital realm, especially as social media becomes increasingly entranced by a surge of visual content.

And better yet, it’s a real word. Sorry covfefe and Nambia.

Feature image: Robert Sullivan via Flickr (Public domain)

Andy Walker
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