The etymology of the (requested!) word trump was a better indicator of the 2016 election results than almost all polling... and it also indicated some of the scandals that followed. The most current use of trump is "to beat", and this verb form traces back to the Old French word triumphe, which, unsurprisingly meant "triumph". This went back to the Latin word triumphus, which was a modified form of the earlier word triumpus. Supposedly, this went through the Etruscan word thriampe (though we don't know for sure), and that comes from the Greek word thriambos, defined as a "hymn to Dionysus", since many hymns to gods are done in triumphant fashions. This is supposed to go further back to Proto-Greek, but nobody's bothered to make any reconstructions yet, so we'll leave it at that. Anyway, what we can glean from this is that (the person) Trump was both etymologically fated to be "triumphant" and to be accused of overtly "Dionysian" acts. This'll be a good time to segue into the surname Trump: it came from German drumpf, which meant "drummer" a long time ago, and that may or may not be connected to triumpus (I vote yay; a semantic connection is clear).
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd