This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Thing To Do Today: trump.

'Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus
Off she went with a trumpety trump
Trump trump trump.'

So begins Ralph Butler and Peter Hart's delightful 1956 song. But what I want to know is, from which end was Nellie trumping? In Britain (and it's a British song) to trump means...but I'm sure you can work that out for yourselves.

One can't help but wonder if Nellie's escape was welcomed, or even possibly assisted, by her long-suffering companions.

That sort of trump, the rear-blasting one, is basically linked to trumpets (the last trump is the trumpet call that will, so it is said, awaken the dead so they can be judged by God). 

The other sort of trump, the card-game trump, is a completely different word. A trump card is one that scores higher than one from any other suit. If you play your trump card you're bringing to a situation something that's sure to make you win.

In the same way, if you trump someone you're outdoing them or surpassing them.

On reflection, I suppose it would be possible to trump someone at trumping

But on the whole I think I'd rather not be there to witness the competition.

Thing To Do Today: trump. I hope you win at something today, but even if you don't, the normal number of the other sort of trump per person a day is apparently between 8 - 20. The noisy sort of trump comes from Old French trompe, from the Old High German trompa, trumpet; the winning-at-something word is a variant of triumph.

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