Merriam-Webster found itself at a loss for words when President Trump famously tweeted "covfefe" earlier this year. But on Thursday, the online dictionary was up to task and redeemed itself when social media needed it the most.
In response to Trump's combative U.N. General Assembly speech against North Korea and his decision to ramp up economic pressure on the reclusive nation, Kim Jong Un called Trump a "mentally deranged dotard" who is “unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country."
Shortly after Kim's statement, Twitter tossed the question to Merriam-Webster, asking for dotard's definition:
@MerriamWebster Dotard.Get on it.— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) September 21, 2017
Who gets to read Trump the definition of "dotard"— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) September 21, 2017
And the online dictionary quickly knocked it out of the park:
📈 Kim Jong Un calls Trump a mentally deranged U.S. dotard. Searches for 'dotard' are high as a kite. https://t.co/HztPoLSjXi— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) September 21, 2017
"The word as used today commonly means 'a person in his or her dotage,'" Merriam-Webster said shortly after the word went viral, adding that dotage: "is a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness."
Dotard, Merriam-Webster said, comes from "the Middle English word doten (meaning 'to dote'), initially had the meaning of 'imbecile' when it began being used in the 14th century."
People were quick to thank Merriam-Webster, some with emotion:
'Dotard' is a good one to pull out of the bag. Wish I learnt it doing a crossword instead of through being on the precipice of nuclear war.— edgarwright (@edgarwright) September 21, 2017
Looks up definition of "dotard." pic.twitter.com/kyf5j6J1DB— Cameron Ridle (@CameronRidle) September 21, 2017