Kim Jong-un calls Donald Trump a ‘dotard’; searches for its meaning rocket online
The war of words has stepped up in the escalating tension between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
Following President Trump’s UN address, in which he said the North Korean “Rocket Man” was on a “suicide mission for himself and his regime”, Kim Jong-un has hit back, referring to the US leader as a “deranged US dotard”.
Following the release of Kim Jong-un’s statement, searches for the word “dotard” rocketed. As a hashtag, it began trending on Twitter in the UK from 2am – shortly after the statement was released.
Google Trends shows that searches for the term peaked in the UK at 7am, and dictionary Merriam-Webster said searches for the word dotard on its own site “are high as a kite”.
The Merriam-Webster definition of dotard is “a person in his or her dotage”, and dotage refers to “a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness”.
It comes from the Middle English word doten (meaning “to dote”) which initially had the meaning of “imbecile” when it was first used in the 14th century. It looks like the use of the word in literature peaked in 1823 and has been used sporadically ever since:
However, the phrase used by Kim Jong-un may not have been used in exactly the way translated.
In response to Merriam-Webster’s tweet, a Korean speaker explained that the original statement said “늙다리 미치광이,” which means old beast lunatic, which was translated into “dotard”.
Below is a truncated, translated version of Kim Jong-un’s retort:
“Shaping the general idea of what he would say, I expected [Trump] would make stereotyped, prepared remarks a little from what he used to utter in his office on the spur of the moment as he had to speak on the world’s biggest official diplomatic stage. But, far from making any remarks of any persuasive power that can be viewed to be helpful in diffusion tension, he made unprecedented rude nonsense no-one has ever heard from any of his predecessors.
“A frightened dog barks louder.
“The mentally deranged behaviour of the US president openly expressing on the UN arena the unethical will to ‘totally destroy’ a sovereign state, beyond the boundary of threats and regime change or overturn of social system, makes even those with normal thinking faculty think about discretion and composure.
“His remarks remind me of such words as ‘political layman’ and ‘political heretic’ which were in vogue in reference to Trump during his presidential election campaign.
“Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of war in history that he would destroy the DPRK, we will consider with seriousness exercising a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history. Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say.
“I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue. Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.
I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.”
The full statement is available here.