Trend Watch

Trump: That's Just a 'Misnomer'

Lookups rose over 9000%

Misnomer found itself, blinking and confused, at the very top of our lookups on January 4th, 2018; the word was propelled there not by any virtue or design of its own, but rather through an apparent misuse by President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump later said to reporters on Mr Bannon: "He called me a great man last night. So he obviously changed his tune pretty quick. I don’t talk to him ... that’s just a misnomer.”
— Ben Riley-Smith, The Telegraph, 4 Jan. 2018

The senses of misnomer that we define are as follows:

The misnaming of a person in a legal instrument

A use of a wrong or inappropriate name

A wrong name or inappropriate designation

Trump seems to have adopted a broadened sense in using the word as a synonym for mistake or misconception. This use is common enough that finding examples presents little difficulty, yet not common enough to have become accepted usage.

”I’ve started a girls camp every year that’s packed to capacity. To say I’m not out in the community, that is just a misnomer.”
Daily Press, (Newsport News, VA), 21 Apr. 2016

”The perception that somehow the states are awash in cash is not just a misnomer but an injustice,” says Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt, a Republican who chairs the National Governors’ Association.
Palladium-Item (Richmond, IN), 10 Jul. 2000

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