Trend Watch

Trump: Let Obamacare 'Implode'

How does implode differ from explode?

Implode was one of our top lookups on July 28th, 2017, after Donald Trump employed the word in a tweet, in which he called for the intransitive sense of this verb to be applied to the Affordable Care Act.

The word shares an origin with applaud (and a number of other words dealing with clapping); both come in part from the Latin plaudere (“to clap”). Implode has a number of senses, all of which are concerned with an inward movement. The earliest sense of the word (which is fairly recent, with our records indicating use began in the 19th century) was “to burst inward.” The figurative sense employed by Trump, “self-destruct,” did not become common until later.

Tonight the wind whips through my stomach
over knots of trees and sharp rocks.
When he rushes out of me the crowd gasps---
and I implode from sheer emptiness.
—Moniza Alvi, Houdini (from Carrying my Wife), 2000

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