Looking at Words Used to Describe Trump’s Victory

09 November, 2016

This is What's Trending Today:

As you read stories about the American elections, you may be seeing a lot of unfamiliar words.

Some of the wording relates to the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

But what do words like "stunning," "underdog," "jitters" and "status quo" mean?

Many people are calling Trump's victory "stunning."

The New York Times newspaper wrote that "Trump's stunning upset over (Hillary) Clinton ... has shocked the world."

Sometimes, the word stunning means "very beautiful or pleasing." It can be used to describe a work of art or an image of snow-covered mountains. But in this case, stunning means "surprising," according to Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary.

The word "underdog" was a term used to describe Trump, the candidate, during the election campaign.

President-elect Donald Trump smiles as he arrives to speak at an election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York.
President-elect Donald Trump smiles as he arrives to speak at an election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York.

This expression comes from the sport of dog fighting. The underdog was the term for the animal that lost the fight. Over time, underdog has spread. Americans now use it when talking about sporting events, elections or other forms of competition.

For example, a sports team that is expected to lose a game is considered the "underdog." Many observers considered Trump, the Republican Party candidate, an underdog heading into Election Day.

The U.S. presidential election also caused some people to feel anxiety. When people are nervous they are said to be having "jitters." This comes from the thought that people who are nervous or worried about something cannot sit still.

Late Tuesday night, when it looked as if Trump might win the election, people started reacting. Newspapers and other media began reporting that financial markets were showing signs of "election jitters."

And finally, one phrase you may have heard over the past 24 hours is "status quo." Status quo is not an English word. But it is used fairly often to describe the way things are today, compared to other times.

Status quo is an everyday expression taken directly from Latin. It may be used, without any changes, in your native language, too.

The term can be used to describe the motivation of many American voters. Political scientists say many people were not happy with the status quo. So, they voted for Trump.

And that's What's Trending Today.

I'm Anna Matteo.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Did you learn new words or terms by following the U.S. election? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

unfamiliar adj. not frequently seen, heard, or experienced

upset n. an occurrence in which a game, contest, etc., is won by a person or team that was expected to lose

phrase – n. a group of two or more words that express a single idea but do not usually form a complete sentence

anxiety – n. fear or nervousness about what might happen