The third presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Wednesday night reignited one of the most-talked about talking points in this election.
What is that word Donald Trump keeps using? Is he saying “bigly,” which, according to Merriam-Webster means “in a large fashion, with great scope or with bluster”? Or is he saying “big league” as in big time?
After his May win in Indiana, here is what he said: “We’ve been losing all the time. We lose with everything. We lose with our military; we cant beat ISIS. We lose with trade. We lose with borders. We lose with everything. We’re not going to lose. We’re going to start winning again and we’re going to win (bigly or Big League).”
The Republican presidential candidate used the word again, whichever it is, during the third and final debate on Wednesday night, setting off yet another round of speculation.
USA Today wrote about the word bigly being Googled and fact checked; Fortune Magazine wrote that during the debate folks were turning to their dictionaries to look up “bigly” and “hombre,” which means man in Spanish; and the Washington Post wrote that “bigly donald trump” was the fastest-rising Google search related to Trump’s candidacy.
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On Thursday, People magazine said the mystery was solved and that Trump’s campaign had confirmed that the candidate was saying “big league,” but at least one reader was not convinced: “He is saying bigly…He has used this term for years and a few dozen times in the last year alone. If you replace the times he used bigly with “big league”, the statements become even more absurd,” wrote Twinmommy Resell on Facebook.
Tara McAllister Byun, tweeted a Facebook post by Susan Lin, an assistant professor in linguistics at the University of California-Berkeley that says people who study sounds used in speech have determined Trump is actually saying “big league”: note the velar pinch and the stop closure/burst.”
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