This election campaign has been a real boost to my junior high school English classes.  It has provided a continuous stream of colorful vocabulary that the kids can really relate to.

Our next word study will focus on rigged, followed up with bad hombre, criminal, fraud, horrified, liar, nasty woman, prosecuted, puppet, suspense and unpatriotic.

rig: (transitive verb and noun)

The original meaning is to rig a ship or other object by applying the things you need in order to use it.

The more common meaning today is to cheat in an election or other competition by manipulating or arranging things so that one party is guaranteed to win.

Etymology:  The verb rig came into the English language from Swedish or Danish in the late 15th century as a nautical term meaning to fit the sails on a ship.


Looking at the beautiful symmetric lines created by the graceful rigging of masts, ropes and sails, it’s easy to see why people started using the same term to describe the first oil rigs that were erected on land and later at sea.


In the 19th century the noun rig was used to describe the reins and other devices required to rig up a horse and carriage rig.

james_pollard_-_the_london-faringdon_coach_passing_buckland_house_berkshire_-_google_art_projectThis naturally led to the modern use for a large truck and trailer rig.


In the 18th century rig was used to describe a swindle or cheating scheme, probably because of the complicated tricks the hustler would use to rig or trap his victims.


What was good enough for the con artist seemed good enough for the politicians in 1938 when journalists first used rig to mean tamper with election results. And now, in 2016, the Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, even before the election, is undermining the American democratic process by declaring the election is seriously rigged by his opponent, the media and all the various parties who are ganging up to deny him his rightful win.

Great! Now I’ve got another word for the kids’ vocabulary list – PARANOIA!


From Randy Rainbow’s parody of the first debate we had “braggadocious” and a whole string of related boastful banter like;  adolescent, arrogant, big-headed, boastful, brag, braggart, calculated, careless, callous, chauvinistic, corrupt, cruel, disgusting, egocentric, fabricating, fragile, gross, hyperbole, insensitive, nauseous, obnoxious, sexist, show-off, sleazy, superficial, swagger, self-centered, selfish, supercilious, thoughtless, under leverage, vain, vane, vanity and vulgar.



Other soundbites gave us such fascinating terms as; abuse, allegations, birther, candidate, deplorable, crooked, huge, enormous, nominees, patriotic, racist, tremendous, Tic Tacs, undocumented, Islamophobe and xenophobe.

When this farce of a presidential race is over, I am going to have to look for a new source of teaching material.  Maybe the upcoming TRUMP MEDIA EMPIRE can help.