Quotable (#157)

An etymology lesson from Tyler Cowen:

trump (v.2) “fabricate, devise,” 1690s, from trump “deceive, cheat” (1510s), from Middle English trumpen (late 14c.), from Old French tromper “to deceive,” of uncertain origin. Apparently from se tromper de “to mock,” from Old French tromper “to blow a trumpet.” Brachet explains this as “to play the horn, alluding to quacks and mountebanks, who attracted the public by blowing a horn, and then cheated them into buying ….” The Hindley Old French dictionary has baillier la trompe “blow the trumpet” as “act the fool,” and Donkin connects it rather to trombe “waterspout,” on the notion of turning (someone) around. Connection with triumph also has been proposed. Related: Trumped; trumping. Trumped up “false, concocted” first recorded 1728.

Note also (from same internal link):

trump (v.1) “surpass, beat,” 1580s, from trump (n.). Related: Trumped; trumping.

One thought on “Quotable (#157)

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03t2mzp

    China’s Family Planning Army
    Now that China has ended its One Child policy, one group of state employees may soon be out of a job – the country’s hated population police. Hundreds of thousands of officers used to hunt down families suspected of violating the country’s draconian rules on child bearing, handing out crippling fines, confiscating property and sometimes forcing women to have abortions. But with an eye on improving child welfare in the countryside, there is a plan to redeploy many of these officers as child development specialists. Lucy Ash visits a pilot project in Shaanxi Province training former enforcers to offer advice and support to rural grandparents who are left rearing children while the parents migrate to jobs in the big cities. If successful, the scheme could be rolled out nationwide to redeploy an army of family planning workers and transform the life prospects of millions of rural children.

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