03:25 - Source: CNN
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The 2016 left its mark on the English language

Washington CNN —  

Following the 2016 election cycle, where a billionaire reality television star took American politics by storm, some words will just never be the same.


From campaign slogans like “Feel the Bern!” and “Make America Great Again,” to Donald Trump’s favorite political insults, undertones of the 2016 race to the White House will echo for years to come in what were once very ordinary phrases in the English language.

How Donald Trump won

Here’s a look at some of the most notable examples:

Low energy

Early on in the primary Trump labeled former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as “low energy,” and while the dig seems very mild compared to other nicknames Trump had for his opponents like “Crooked Hillary” and “Lyin’ Ted,” the insult stuck to the mild-mannered Bush like glue.

“I defined him. I gave him this term, ‘Low energy.’ I said he’s a low energy individual,” Trump explained to Jimmy Kimmel last December. “We do not need in this country low energy. Do you agree with that? We need high energy.”

You can no longer assess a person’s energy without the ghost of the Trump vs. Bush battle creeping up on you. You will inevitably ask yourself, “Am I a Trump or a Bush?”

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President-elect Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are both New York City natives with “yuuge” New York accents.

Their unique way of pronouncing “huge” when talking about “yuuge” movements or “yuuge” crowds stood out to Americans across the nation and this 2016 political buzz word is now forever archived in GIFs, Vines and the subconscious of politically engaged American minds.


Before 2016 “lightweight” was prominently used to describe a person or an item’s weight, particularly in sports like boxing. But after 2016, “Lightweight,” which is one of Trump’s most prolifically used attacks, will forever be heard as an insult.

Trump has referred to tens of people as “lightweight” to imply that they are daft or unsubstantial.

He repeatedly called FOX News’ Megyn Kelly a “lightweight.”

“I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter!” he tweeted in January.

He also dismissed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as a “dishonest lightweight.”

“Lightweight Marco Rubio was working hard last night. The problem is, he is a choker, and once a choker, always a choker! Mr. Meltdown,” he tweeted in February.

“I will be using Facebook and Twitter to expose dishonest lightweight Senator Marco Rubio. A record no-show in Senate, he is scamming Florida,” Trump tweeted in March.

He slammed a former acting director of the CIA, Mike Morell, tweeting, “Michael Morell, the lightweight former Acting Director of C.I.A., and a man who has made serious bad calls, is a total Clinton flunky!”


Trump’s tweets often ended with what we could refer to as “Trump-xclamations” – a single word with an exclamation mark, often capitalized, at the end of a tweet for dramatic effect.

Sometimes he added “very” for emphasis and used “SAD!” to comment on everything from his opponents, to “The View.”

“Because of me, the Republican Party has taken in millions of new voters, a record. If they are not careful, they will all leave. Sad!” Trump tweeted in March.

“The @TheView @ABC, once great when headed by @BarbaraJWalters, is now in total freefall. Whoopi Goldberg is terrible. Very sad!” he tweeted in January.

“Hillary Clinton spokesperson admitted that their was no ISIS video of me. Therefore, Hillary LIED at the debate last night. SAD!” the President-elect tweeted last December.

Feel the Burn/Bern

“Feel the Burn” will now always be heard as “Bern” – with an “E” for Bernie.

The passionate support that the Vermont senator got from young Americas across the county translated into an equally fiery campaign slogan and a hashtag that lived on months after Sanders exited the 2016 race.

#FeelTheBern will always remind us of the Democratic socialist, who gave challenged Clinton during the 2016 Democratic primary.

Playing the woman card

When Trump accused Clinton of “playing the woman’s card,” the former Democratic presidential nominee turned Trump’s attack against him by embracing the phrase.

The Clinton campaign produced an actual “Woman Card” that they sent out to supporters who donate to the campaign.

“The other day, Mr. Trump accused me, of playing the, quote, ‘woman card,’” Clinton said in April. “Well, if fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in.”

This became a popular line of attack against Trump throughout her campaign.

Nasty woman

When Trump called Clinton a “nasty woman” during a debate dig, Clinton supporters embraced the phrase – capitalizing on the positive connotations of the word that have existed in American slang for years.

“Nasty” has been used as a synonym for “cool” and has also been used to describe a fierce woman – especially one with exceptionally good abilities.

“Nasty Woman” T-shirts popped up around the country and streams of Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” soared on Spotify.

“I just bought a NASTY WOMAN t-shirt. 50% goes to Planned Parenthood,” one woman tweeted.


Even Katy Perry wore a “Nasty Woman” T-shirt while campaigning for Clinton last month.

Any variation of “America” and “great”

Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” sparked heated debates across the country. Some argued that America is already great, others longed for a “greater” past, while some pointed to a history of racism defined by slavery and Jim Crow and took issue with the “again” portion of the slogan.

After 2016, you can no longer say that America is great or long for greater times without appearing to take a political stand.

Trump’s slogan will also resonate whenever making anything “great again” is discussed.


“Bad” is one of Trump’s favorite insults. He used it to comment on everything from his election opponents, to describing some Latinos as “bad hombres” during the final presidential debate last month.

He punctuated several of his tweets about his former primary opponent Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with “Bad!”

“Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!” Trump tweeted in February.

“Ted Cruz does not have the right ‘temperment’ to be President. Look at the way he totally panicked in firing his director of comm. BAD!” Trump tweeted later that month.

It will be difficult to call something “bad” again without hearing Trump in your head.


Trump is known for selecting nicknames for his opponents – Cruz became “Lyin’ Ted,” Sanders became “Crazy Bernie,” Rubio became “little Marco” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren is simply “Pocahontas.” But none of his 2016 nicknames will be as prominently remembered as “Crooked Hillary.”

At times, Trump would even drop “Hillary” and simply called the former secretary of state “Crooked” in various tweets.

The Trump campaign even launched a “Crooked Hillary” Snapchat filter ahead of the first presidential debate.

It’s safe to say that “Crooked” will never be the same again.