On November 9, 2016, Americans woke up someplace new—a terrifying, cartoonish underworld where the president-elect (and soon, the president) tweeted hostile typos at nuclear powers, the word “Russia” came up dozens of times a day, millions of people were suddenly watching White House press briefings, everybody knew the names of random Cabinet officials, and Donald Trump, Jr. was the voice of a generation.
Over time, and across party lines, our vocabulary has shifted considerably to accommodate this new, bad moment in history. Words, phrases, and people that were previously meaningless are now central players in our national conversation. To help you navigate this, we have compiled a dictionary for the Trump era. It’s filled with nonsensical words (covfefe), terrible people (the alt-right), the stock phrases of social media (But her emails!), and a range of Trumpisms that now define our modern political discourse. As our president might say—“enjoy!”
Alt-Right: A self-selected euphemism for a bootleg collective of sexists, racists, white nationalists, and xenophobes, often dressed in khakis.
Alternative Facts: A phrase coined in January 22, 2017 by White House advisor Kellyanne Conway in reference to the size of the crowd at Donald Trump’s inauguration. Subsequently adopted by White House and critics alike. Usage can be both ironic and sincere. See also: Bowling Green Massacre.
But Her Emails: Common expression on social media among devoted Hillary Clinton supporters meant to mock media focus on Clinton’s email scandal. Synonyms: Russia Stuff and This Is Not Normal.
Bannonite: Followers of Steve Bannon; OR: fascists suffering from mysterious skin conditions.
Covfefe: A typo that became a hashtag that became an unending nightmare that we’ve all thankfully forgotten about.
Cernovich, Mike: Men’s rights troll aligned with the “alt-right” who has recently fancied himself a journalist. As a real journalist at the New Yorker once noted, he has a surprisingly adenoidal voice.
DSA: Democratic Socialist of America, a fast-growing political party known for its anti-capitalist platform, excessive use of the word “neoliberal,” and fealty to a podcast.
Deep State: A conspiratorial turn of phrase designating a shadowy government composed of the intelligence community, previously associated with Turkish politics. Depending on who uses the phrase, it can indicate a group working to either impeach Donald Trump or protect Hillary Clinton. For correct usage, see: Rush Limbaugh and John Schindler.
Eric/Ivanka/Donald Jr: The favored children of Donald and Ivana Trump. Known for their unyielding support of their faauther as well as their shady business, financial and political dealings. Not to be confused with the president’s lesser children, Tiffany Trump and Barron Trump.
EPA: A government agency that recently pivoted towards destroying the planet.
Fake News: Initially meaning news that is fake, it’s now a phrase most often used to describe news reports that are unflattering to Donald Trump. (Synonym: Alternative Facts.)
Fox & Friends: A daily morning show at Fox News. Long renowned for its brazen inanity, it is now the preferred media outlet of the White House.
Good Person: A phrase used by Donald Trump to describe men who are, in fact, not good and barely people. Examples include Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.
Gamergate: The prelude to our current dystopia.
Handshakes: A common exchange between world leaders, lately transformed into a cringe-worthy attempt at potency by Donald Trump.
I’m Still With Her: The war cry of Hillary Clinton supporters who are, as stated, still with her, even though she was not elected President and is doing her best to move on.
InfoWars: A conspiracy empire helmed by an often-shirtless human aneurysm.
Jesse Watters: An up-and-coming racist.
Jared: Nasally son-in-law of Donald Trump and heir to a corrupt New Jersey real estate empire. 2. Engagement ring store commonly found in suburban malls.
The Kremlin: Used as a conspiratorial shorthand for the seat of the Russian government and origin of the Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee hacking scandals. See also: Russia Stuff.
Kompromat: From the Russian, meaning “compromising material” used to discredit opposition. In American politics used primarily by online reporters of “Russia Stuff,” in conjunction with impeachment. For correct usage see: Louise Mensch, Patribiotics, and Eric Garland.
Louise Mensch: Former member of the British Parliament, later a proprietor of a gullible conservative website, now the loudest purveyor of conspiracies on “Russia Stuff.”
Libs: An easier and more disdainful way to say “liberals.” See Tomi Lahren’s Twitter account for example of best usage.
MAGA: The thing Trump was going to do that is definitely happening currently.
The Mooch: Former Trump press secretary Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci, a hedge fund guy who talks with his hands and got fired on his 11th day at the White House after publicly accusing Steve Bannon of “sucking” his own “cock.”
Nasty Women: See: I’m Still With Her.
Not My President: A spirited, if inaccurate, rallying cry on the anti-Trump left.
“Our heritage”: Something Queens native Donald Trump—who once ordered a demolition crew to destroy a pair of Art Deco friezes using acetylene torches—likes to say about Confederate monuments.
The Order of Vitez: A Nazi-tied Hungarian nationalist organization, also known as Vitezi Rend. Sebastian Gorka, a former White House advisor and Breitbart editor who bills himself as a counterterrorism expert, wore a uniform and medal belonging to this group to an inaugural ball.
Pussy: Something the president has bragged about grabbing. 2. A cat. 3. A hat.
Pee Tape: It’s real.
Queens: A borough of New York City and birthplace of Donald Trump.
Russia Stuff: A catchall for the many stories, both real and conspiratorial, that have emerged from Russia. See also: Pee Tape, Kompromat, and Louise Mensch.
Resistance: A loosely constituted ideological group whose members include any person, group, or brand momentarily opposed to the policies of Donald Trump. For ironic usage see the phrase “Welcome to the resistance,” accompanied by a photograph of rapper Eminem or Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Snowflake: Linguistically incoherent alt-right insult for liberals who are fragile. In common parlance, snowflake often follows the rhetorical question, “Triggered much?”
She Persisted: A rallying cry for 2017 feminism taken from something MItch McConnell said about Elizabeth Warren’s protests against the appointment of Jeff Session; a slogan for hot feminist merch.
This Is Not Normal: Popular online expression among self-identified leaders of the resistance; a stylistic device meant to convey shock rather than insight.
Triggered much?: Rhetorical question popular among supporters of Donald Trump meant to indicate success in a unnecessary online debate. See: Donald Trump, Jr. for example of correct usage.
Unity: A word/concept employed by the White House when engaged in flagrant racism. Generally used in conjunction with: Charlottesville, Take a Knee, and Respect the Flag.
“Unbelievable”: A descriptor employed by the president to describe: turnout on Inauguration Day, the way Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been treated, the kind of job that the Trump administration is doing in Puerto Rico, FEMA administrator Brock Long, how red “the maps” were, Arabella Kushner, Trump’s relationship with foreign leaders, and the “violence” in Chicago.
Vote-a-Rama: A cartoonish-sounding phrase used to describe hellish Senate rules on budget reconciliation. Paired recently with the phrases “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” and “Skinny Repeal.”
Veselnitskaya, Natalie: Russian lawyer linked to Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. See also: Kompromat and Russia Stuff.
Women’s March: The largest one-day protest in American history; where everyone went instead of Donald Trump’s inauguration.
What Happened?: Answers include: Russia stuff, Michigan, Wisconsin, neoliberalism, Bernie Bros, and sexism. 2. The title of Hillary Clinton’s memoir, a book that does not wholly answer the question.
Ex-Wives: See Ivana Trump and Marla Maples, respectively the president’s first and second wives. Largely absent from the news cycle unless one prompts a statement from current wife, First Lady Melania Trump.
Zinke, Ryan: Secretary of the Interior. Known for his Trump-like temper, high regard for private planes and fossil fuel extraction, and the video game Big Buck Hunter.
Additional contributions by Megan Reynolds.