The Word Joe Biden Made Great Again When He Slammed Donald Trump

July 28th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

Vice President Joe Biden's attack on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump renewed an old word that many Americans had to Google search.

During his speech at Wednesday night's Democratic National Convention, Biden slammed Trump's relationship with working class people.

“He’s trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break,” Biden said. “That’s a bunch of malarkey.”

Merriam-Webster defines "malarkey" as "insincere or foolish talk," but apparently some people didn't know that. Google searches for "malarkey" rose by 19,000 percent after Biden's speech in Philadelphia.

However there's an important political reason Biden uses phrases like "give me a break" and "malarkey."

He's trying to appeal to working class white voters in swing states like Virginia and Florida, which has been a struggle for Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who needs these voters in her support base. Clinton is ahead of Trump in every demographic except with white men who don't have a college degree, according to The New York Times. Trump leads by a 58 to 30 percent margin among white registered voters with no college degree in six polls conducted in July, according to The New York Times.

The word "malarkey" is often associated with Irish-American working people.

Although the origins of the word are unknown, the use of the word as "foolish talk" is thought to be distinctly North American, according to The Washington Post. Biden made the association to Irish culture in a 2012 debate against then-Republican vice presidential candidate and current House Speaker Paul Ryan. Biden dismissed Ryan's points as nonsense. "We Irish call it malarkey," he said.

The Urban Dictionary, a glossary of slang terms and cuss words says that the word is "Irish-American for bullshit."


Although there's no clear answer for where the word came from, University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan told Michigan NPR that the first person to popularize the term was Irish-American.

"When it first shows up in U.S. English, it shows up in Irish-American usage. It shows up in the 1920s, and it shows up in cartoons by Thomas Aloysius Dorgan, who is of Irish decent," she told NPR. "It also showed up in sports writing."

Data from the Sunlight Foundation shows that Biden has used "malarkey" in public more than any person on Capitol Hill, ever.


Also, the word is significantly more popular with Democrats.


People were clearly excited to hear Biden say "malarkey." 

The last day of the Democratic National Convention is Thursday. 

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