Tweeted air-quotes, and our linguistic debt to Donald Trump

May 15, 2017

Donald Trump says he invented the phrase pump-priming. Maybe he didn’t, but that pales into insignificance when compared with his magnificent contribution to our understanding of the “tweeted air-quote “

This week, in an interview with the Economist, President Trump said he recently came up with the term priming the pump as an economic concept. The interviewer politely suggested it had been in use before (by Maynard Keynes). No matter, when we reflect on the brilliant use of air quotes when tweeting.

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