cause to appear more pleasant or appealing
With rebellion thus sugar-coated they have been drugging the public mind of their section for more than thirty years, and until at length they have brought many good men to a willingness to take up arms against the government.
- Abraham Lincoln
In an 1861 message to congress, Lincoln accused the southern army of the Civil War of
sugarcoating their rebellion by claiming it was constitutional. At this time no one had heard the term
sugarcoat before. The term was even objected to by the official government printer who was in charge of making a transcript of the speech. Over these objections, Lincoln predicted that “The time will never come in this country when the people won’t know exactly what ‘sugarcoated’ means.”
lessen the authority, dignity, or reputation of
So far the Count de Buffon has carried this new theory of the tendency of nature to
belittle her productions on this side of the Atlantic.
- Thomas Jefferson
... there had been a verbal use of
little, meaning “to lessen” or “to decrease.” What Jefferson did is take that verb and put the “be-“ from words like
besmirch in front of it to introduce
belittle, meaning “to make small,” and figuratively, to “scorn as worthless." The verb form of little has been lost, but Jefferson’s
belittle lives on.
so exceedingly large or extensive as to suggest a giant
Mammoth cheese is arrived here and is to be presented this day. it is 4 f 4½ I. diameter, 15. I. thick, and weighed in August 1230. ℔. They were offered 1000. D. in New York for the use of it 12. days as a shew. it is an ebullition of the passion of republicanism in a state where it has been under heavy persecution.
The incident involves Jefferson and an immense block of cheese, a gift to Jefferson which was so huge that reporters had to find a word to to describe its sheer bulk.
Mammoth comes from Russian
mammot, an animal who rooted in the earth. The idea here is that this 4 ft. cheese disc displaced hefty portions of earth just like a rooting animal. It was, in a word, gigantic, or mammoth. Jefferson's reference to a "shew" means they wanted to put the cheese on display.
a member of the Constitutional Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787
It is good to meet and drink at the fountains of wisdom inherited from the
founding fathers of the Republic.
- Warren G. Harding
Although the exact facts are unclear, Harding is credited with coining the phrase “
founding fathers” which one hears frequently, whether it be during election season or on television about Presidents Day sales.
the state of being within the range of regular functioning
America’s present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums [remedies] but
normalcy; not revolution but restoration.
- Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding introduced
normalcy into popular use when he said it on the campaign trail, where normalcy is not the norm. “America’s present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums [remedies] but normalcy; not revolution but restoration.”
speak verbosely and windily
Peter P. Low, Esq., will with open throat..
bloviate about the farmers being taxed upon the full value of their farms, while bankers are released from taxation.
H.L. Mencken on Harding: "He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up to the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is balder and dash."
not sensible about practical matters
Ten years ago, I wrote a book called Troublesome Young Men, about this
campaign that helped change the course of history.The Guardian (Feb 3, 2017)
John Adams popularized a term,
quixotic, that denotes a mission that is “naively idealistic” fanciful and “whimsical.” The word is derived from Cervantes’ hero Don Quixote de la Mancha who imagines himself a brave knight while tilting at windmills.
the wife of a chief executive
She will never be forgotten because she was truly our
First Lady for a half-century
- Zachary Taylor about Dolley Madison
It may be an apocryphal story, but President Zachary Taylor is credited with coining the term
first lady in his eulogy of Dolley Madison, wife of James Madison, America’s fourth president.
talk socially without exchanging too much information
In the United States today, we have more than our share of the
nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H Club — the ‘hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.'”-
Vice President Spiro Agnew
Although his Vice President actually used the phrase, "nattering nabobs of negativism" is a phrase that followed President Nixon well beyond his resignation.
a governor in India during the Mogul empire
In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering
nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H Club — the ‘hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.'”
- Vice President Spiro Agnew
a political unit with extreme and fanatical views
lunatic fringe was fully in evidence, especially in the rooms devoted to the Cubists and the Futurists, or Near-Impressionists.
-President Theodore Roosevelt
the tenure of a president
In reviewing the incidents of my
administration, I am unconscious of intentional error.
- George Washington
Washington didn't invent this word, but he was the first to use it to refer to a President's term in office.
a newly invented word or phrase
Necessity obliges us to neologize.
- Thomas Jefferson
one who spreads real or alleged scandal about another
“In Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress you may recall the description of the Man with the Muck-rake, the man who could look no way but downward with the muck-rake in his hands; Who was offered a celestial crown for his muck-rake, but who would neither look up nor regard the crown he was offered, but continued to rake to himself the filth of the floor.
- Theodore Roosevelt
brief description accompanying an illustration
You will see in the
caption of the address that we have pruned the ordinary stile of the degrading appendages of Excellency.
- James Madison
a particular point in time
The present temper of the states is friendly to the establishment of a lasting union; the
moment should be improved; if suffered to pass away it may never return.
- George Washington
Washington was the first to use "moment" to mean a time to act, an opportunity.