Trump – as a name, verb or adjective – is word of the year

Written by: Emma Lee-Potter | Published:

Donald Trump is rarely out of the headlines – and now it turns out that children are fascinated by the US president too.

“Trump” has now been declared the children’s word of the year, with thousands of youngsters featuring it in their creative writing.

The trend emerged after the Oxford University Press (OUP) analysed entries to BBC Radio 2’s annual 500 Words short story competition for children aged 13 and under.

Youngsters were asked to write an original work of fiction using no more than 500 words. The competition attracted more than 130,000 entries and 50 finalists were invited to the final at the Tower of London earlier this month. The event was broadcast live on Chris Evans’s Radio 2 breakfast show.

Trump appeared nearly 2,300 times in the children’s entries – as a name, a verb and an adjective. The word also inspired a range of comic characters, from Trumpelstiltskin and Trumpzilla to Boggle Trump and Snozzle Trump. One 12-year-old girl wrote: “10... 9... 8 ‘my hair is so amazing’... 7... ‘And real’. 6... 5... ‘I am going to make the moon great again!’ 3... 2... 1 blast off!! The rocket soars off into the sky transporting

Donald to the moon. Donald Trump selected himself as the best representative of mankind to make first contact. ‘There was stiff competition but I truly believe the best candidate won,’ Trump said at the news conference.”

Gaming words always appear in the 500 Word competition and this year the craze for Pokémon GO featured widely in children’s writing, with many youngsters using words like Pikachu, Pokéball and Pokéstop.

The term “social media” increased in frequency this year. YouTube featured most often, followed by Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. Emoji and emojis were also mentioned far more frequently.

Children showed a keen interest in current affairs. New expressions like Brexit, Article 50 and fake news all appeared in this year’s stories and far more entrants mentioned words like president, vote and debate than previously.

Vineeta Gupta, head of OUP’s Dictionaries for Children, said: “The stories demonstrate creativity, style and wit, all underpinned by a sophisticated use of grammar and language. From humorous punning to creating their own words, children have played and experimented with language with impressive results.

“The stories have not only provided us with infinite entertainment, but also contributed to language research for children’s dictionaries. As well as this, 500 Words has led to academic research at Oxford University which will support teachers and schools.”

To read more about the OUP’s findings, go to


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