What's a 'dotard' anyway?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has confused a lot of English-speakers — though this time not about what he intends with his nuclear program.

Responding to President Donald Trump's bellicose warning to Pyongyang in his first speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, Kim on Friday called Trump a "dotard" — at least in a translation by the state news agency KCNA.

The obscure word is old — late Middle English, or around the 14th century — and means senile old person, someone in their dotage.

Although Shakespeare and Tolkien used it, the word is barely heard these days and Kim's statement caused a Twitter storm of questions to Merriam-Webster dictionary about its meaning, while searches on Google also increased.

Merriam-Webster responded with a tweet, defining dotard as "a person in his or her dotage," which is "a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness," which quickly became the top trending post on Twitter on Friday, with more than 7,400 retweets and 13,000 likes.

December 15, 2017 Friday
December 14, 2017 Thursday
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