Merriam-Webster Dictionary Schools Donald Trump on Use of the Word ‘Braggadocious’

But adjective might not be wrong, after all

Last Updated: September 27, 2016 @ 7:47 AM

Who says when Donald Trump speaks, nobody listens? In addition to the many millions of Americans who tuned in to the first 2016 presidential debate, the Merriam-Webster folks had their eyes on the TV set, ears to the ground, and fingers on the keyboard last night.

And the dictionary ripped the GOP nominee for his use of “braggadocious,” a word he’s debated with before.

“I have tremendous income, and the reason I say it is not in a braggadocious way,” Trump said Monday. He was rebutting Hillary Clinton’s criticism over those still-secret tax returns.

Merriam-Webster’s official Twitter account was swift to criticize, tweeting out, “He was trying for braggadocio.”

But here’s what Vocabulary.com’s executive editor had to say about the usage last year, when Trump invoked it during the Republican debates:

“So braggadocious, it’s an adjective formed from the noun braggadocio, which can mean vain and empty boasting,” he told NPR. “In 1853, there was something in The Boston Investigator referring to a swaggering, braggadocious piece of egotism. So it was being used all the way back in the mid-19th century, and it’s popped up from time to time since then. It still sounds like a very sort of funny, made-up word. And the Oxford English Dictionary suggests it’s influenced by other words, like ferocious, precocious and atrocious, or that super-long word from ‘Mary Poppins,’ perhaps.”

You word-nerds can debate that out amongst yourselves.

Here’s the popular “correction” tweet in question:

And then there was these interesting ones from Tuesday morning:

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