quincentenary

Pronounced: kwin-sen-TEN-uh-ree, noun/adj

Notes: I probably should have figured this one out, but I didn’t, so it’s here


Yesterday’s word

The word roorback means “a defamatory falsehood published for political effect”

Background / Comments

Dirty politics are nothing new in the United States; incidents go back to the very early days of the republic. Our word today comes from the 1844 presidential election between James Polk and Henry Clay: a letter was published in a New York newspaper claiming that a certain ‘Baron von Roorback’ had, while traveling in Tennessee, comes across many slaves owned by James Polk and branded with his initials. The letter caused an uproar that threatened Mr Polk’s campaign… until it was discovered that the entire thing was a hoax perpetrated by the opposing party (there was no such person as Baron von Roorback). Polk gained the White House, and our language gained a new word.

First usage

This word showed up in the mid-1800s (see the background)

Published by Richard

Christian, lover-of-knowledge, Texan, and other things.

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