Twitter goes wild after 'Dotard' Trump and 'Madman' Kim Jong-un trade insults

Spat between world’s most dangerous men gives users of the social media site the chance to engage in gallows humour

A combination photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump in New York, U.S. September 21, 2017 and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, September 4, 2017.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque, KCNA/Handout via REUTERS/File Photos

“Dotard”, “frightened dog” and “mad man” topped on Friday a long list of insults between Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, sending Twitter abuzz to find the exact meaning of the medieval word Pyongyang used to describe the US President.

After calling him a “frightened dog” and a “mentally deranged US dotard”, Mr Trump entered the mudslinging match tweeting that Jong-un is  “a madman” who “will be tested like never before.”

But it was the word “dotard” that North Korea’s state news agency KCNA used in translating the leader’s speech that unleashed a Twitter storm, and got everybody looking for a definition.

Merriam Webster dictionary tweeted “Kim Jong Un calls Trump a mentally deranged U.S. dotard. Searches for 'dotard’ are high as a kite.”

Webster coined it as a 14th century word that refers to “a person in his or her dotage”. Dotage is a “a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness.”

Google traffic and Twitter hashtags showed a spike -probably unseen since Medieval times- in use of word “dotard”.


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The Washington Post reported that "Dotard" was used by Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales and "appeared numerous times in William Shakespeare's work, including The Merchant of Venice and King Lear."

But in the age of Donald Trump, his opponents on Twitter wasted no time in hashtagging and circulating the insult.

One user joked dotard will be the trigger for World War Three:

“To My Kids:

WWI: Started with the Shot heard around the World

WW2: Started when Germany invaded Poland

WW3: Started with #dotard”

The comedy show Funny or Die came up with its own definition of dotard:

do·tard (dōdərd) noun

A word you didn’t previously know existed, but googled today and said, “Damn, that’s pretty accurate.”

Many anti-Trump users had a field day highlighting that the US President’s twitter account is now the first that comes up in the search box when looking up “dotard”.

Mr Trump is known for ascribing catchy insults to his political opponents in the campaign. He still calls Hillary Clinton “crooked”, referred to Ted Cruz “lying Ted” and to Marco Rubio “little Marco”.