"trump up" = inflate

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Apr 14 21:10:29 UTC 2008

I agree completely with Oxford that to "trump up" means to fabricate something deceitfully and not merely to exaggerate it. "Trumped-up charges" are, in Standard English, entirely and deliberately invented, not just heaped on or overblown.

  The likelihood of misinterpretation for one reason or other is obvious, however.


"Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
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Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Joel S. Berson"
Subject: Re: "trump up" = inflate

At 4/14/2008 11:04 AM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>i also suspect that most people here are unfamiliar with the 'inflate,
>blow up, exaggerate' sense of "trump up"; for most of us, it looks
>like an innovation (or a survival, or a previously unencountered
>dialect item). the comments so far suggest that it's a combo (of some
>sort) of the widespread "trump up" 'invent' and "trumpet", perhaps
>influenced by by some other V+"up" combinations.

"Trumped up excuse/charges" is familiar and not new for me, with the
sense of "invented, exaggerated". I associate it with the "trump
v.3" of card-playing.


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