Trend Watch

Trump: Comey a 'Slime Ball'

Searches rise 60,000% after tweet

Slimeball finally had its day in the sun on April 13th, 2018, as the disparaging word was among our top lookups. The spike in interest was driven by Donald Trump’s use of the term in reference to James Comey, new author and former director of the FBI.

We define slimeball as “a morally repulsive or odious person.” It is of paramount importance that you do not confuse this word with scuzzball, which we define as “an unpleasant, dirty, or dangerous person.” Despite the fact that both slime and ball have been part of the English vocabulary for a considerable length of time (each is about a thousand years old), it was not until the latter portion of the 20th century that we got around to combining them.

Here he is in a quieter moment, thinking of his retirement: “It would be something, I thought, really something to stay on the job. You have your pension in the bag…Whether you’re fired for pushing a slimeball down the fire escape, whether you’re booked for lying in court, whether you bust your stick over the hairy little skull of some college brat, they got to pay you your pension.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12 Feb. 1972

Although Trump rendered the word as an open compound (slime ball) in his tweet, the traditional form is as a closed compound (slimeball).

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