Skip to navigationSkip to content
AP Photo/David Goldman
“The annoying or exaggerated talk of someone who is trying to sound very proud or brave.”
BRAGGADOCIO

Here’s the word you’ve been looking for to describe Donald Trump

Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Geopolitics reporter

“I have a tremendous income. And the reason I say that is not in a braggadocious way,” said Donald Trump last night (Sept. 26), during the first US presidential debate.

Though he’s used it in previous debates, braggadocious is not a word: Merriam-Webster dictionary was quick to point out that it’s a relatively recent term, meaning “arrogant,” that’s “not common enough to merit an entry in our dictionary.”

What he probably meant to say is ”braggadocio,” an older word derived from Braggadochio, an arrogant, boastful character on Edmund Spencer’s The Faerie Queene.

Braggadochio name was an adaptation of braggart, “a loud, arrogant boaster.”

Notice a pattern? All of these words refer to someone who brags a lot.

It’s funny that Trump used that (non) word to (not) describe himself, as his debating style is the quintessential illustration of its meaning. Braggadocio describes “the annoying or exaggerated talk of someone who is trying to sound very proud or brave,” which Trump heartily employed last night.

“I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament. I have a winning temperament,” he said.

Trump’s word is also the name of a popular typeface designed in 1938—black, bold, and a product of art deco. As its official description reads, “just like the high society in the 1920’s, Braggadocio is a typeface that must not be taken too seriously.”

The font says it all.

Correction: An earlier version of the mistakingly quoted Donald Trump as saying “‘I wrote the Art of the Deal. I say not in a braggadocious way.’

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.