Merriam-Webster feeding upon Trump’s verbal missteps

The dictionary publisher’s social media team has seized upon the flood of linguistic gaffes teeming from the Oval Office to cultivate a devoted following on Twitter and beyond.

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Regardless of your personal political leaning, if you consider yourself a wordsmith of any caliber, you’ve probably been taken aback by President Donald Trump’s extemporaneous syntax and usage.

Merriam-Webster, the dictionary purveyor, has taken note.

Last week, when Trump claimed credit for coming up with the phrase, “priming the pump,” scribes and scholars were quick to point out that, in fact, he had not coined it.

Merriam-Webster tweeted the following:

‘Pump priming’ has been used to refer to government investment expenditures since at least 1933.

— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) May 11, 2017

There are any number of explanations as to why Trump took credit for the phrase. He may have been joking. He may have never heard the phrase and independently came up with it. Both are at least somewhat plausible explanations. Still, this is not the first time Merriam-Webster has stepped in to offer a Trumprovement. (See what I did there?)

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