Trend Watch

Cruz Tells Reporters He Is Not a 'Servile Puppy Dog'

The former candidate said his pledge to support the nominee became void after Trump's attacks turned personal

Servile saw an increase in look-ups today after Ted Cruz's comments to reporters who asked about his dramatic non-endorsement of Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention.

Asked about the pledge Cruz signed to back the Republican nominee, he said it was no longer operative. "The day that became abrogated was the day that became personal," Cruz said. "I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father. And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you [attack] Heidi I'm going to nonetheless go like a servile puppy dog" and stick to the pledge anyway.
—Katie Glueck,, 21 July 2016

The word abrogate, which means "to annul" or "to treat as nonexistent," spiked as well. The word first appeared in English as a verb in the 16th century.

Servile can be traced back to the Latin word servus, meaning “slave,” as may be seen by the earliest use of the word in English, which had the meaning of “befitting a slave or servant.” The word has taken on a number of other senses over the years, including “held in servitude,” “slavishly imitative of a model, especially in literature or art,” and, in Roman Catholicism, “of, relating to, or constituting physical as distinguished from manual labor.” Based on the context it would appear likely that Cruz intended servile to convey a different meaning, such as “lacking spirit or independence” or “engaged in the work of a servant or menial.”

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