Trend Watch

Trump: There Was No 'Collusion'

The word shares a root with 'elude', 'delude', and 'allude'


Collusion (“secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose”) snuck to the forefront of our lookups on May 18th, 2017, after it was used repeatedly by Donald Trump in response to questions at a press conference.

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'Collusion' has surprisingly playful roots

"There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but I can always speak for myself, and the Russians, zero," Trump told ABC News' Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl.

"Believe me -- there's no collusion. Russia is fine, but whether it is Russia or anybody else, my total priority, believe me, is the United States of America," Trump added.

He later reiterated: "There was no collusion, and everybody -- even my enemies have said, there is no collusion. So we want to get back and keep on the track that we're on."
—Meghan Keneally, ABC News (abcnews.go.com), 18 May, 2017

The word has been in English use since the 14th century, and has always carried the sense of illicit agreement. Collusion may be traced to the Latin colludere, which means “to play with, or act in collusion.” This playful Latin sense did not carry over into English, with the exception of a brief mention in Thomas Blount’s 1656 dictionary, in which he offered the “playing” sense as part of his definition of the word (along with “deceit”).

The latter portion of the word’s Latin origin, ludere (“to play”), has served as the basis for a good number of English words, most of which are more playful than collusion. We find traces of ludere in such words as elude (“to avoid adroitly”), delude (“to lead from truth or into error”), and allude (“to refer indirectly”).



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