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The “schlonged” brouhaha

The “schlonged” brouhaha

Noun into verb

Trump has now scandalized people by using a Yiddish expression to describe what happened to Hillary Clinton at the hands of the Obama forces back in 2008:

She was favored to win and she got schlonged, she lost.

Now, for those of you who aren’t especially up on Yiddish, “schlong” is one of the many Yiddish words used to describe the male member, as in genitalia. I won’t bother to list the others; you can probably do it yourself. But, even as an ex-New Yorker, although I’m familiar with the word, I can’t ever recall it being used as a verb before—which is the way Trump is using it here, as an equivalent of “screwed.”

Not only that, but it’s not the first time Trump has turned the noun into a verb:

The business mogul and Republican front-runner has also used the term “schlonged” before, saying in a 2011 interview with the Washington Post, “I watched a popular Republican woman [Jane Corwin] not only lose but get schlonged by a Democrat [Kathy Hochul] nobody ever heard of for the congressional seat and that was because, simply, because of the Paul Ryan plan.”

I’m not the only one curious about this usage; here’s a WaPo article that looks at “schlonged” from a linguistic point of view:

Trump’s problem? He’s a gentile who, linguistically, may have wandered too far from home.

“Many goyim are confused by the large number of Yiddish terms beginning with ‘schl’ or ‘schm’ (schlemiel, schlemazzle, schmeggegge, schlub, schlock, schlep, schmutz, schnook), and use them incorrectly or interchangeably,” [Steven Pinker] wrote. “And headline writers often ransack the language for onomatopoeic synonyms for ‘defeat’ such as drub, whomp, thump, wallop, whack, trounce, clobber, smash, trample, and Obama’s own favorite, shellac (which in fact sounds a bit like schlong). So an alternative explanation is that Trump reached for what he thought was a Yinglish word for ‘beat’ and inadvertently coined an obscene one.”

That was actually the first possibility that occurred to me. It made me think of the time when, as an 8-year-old, I called my 11-year-old brother a “slut.” I thought it sounded suitably nasty—slippery and slimy, like a sort of slug—and was surprised when he burst out laughing and then explained to me what the word actually meant (which I didn’t quite understand even after the explanation).

But that’s probably not what’s going on with Trump and “schlonged.” Trump moves in New York circles where he’s probably been schooled in many of the finer points of Yiddish—if not the language itself as a whole, then its more colorful expressions. In fact, Trump tweeted a response to his critics in which he claimed that the usage was common:

When I said that Hillary Clinton got schlonged by Obama, it meant got beaten badly. The media knows this. Often used word in politics!

However, the verb form of schlong—“schlonged”—is actually a rare construction, although not quite a Trump neologism:

Nexis notes just seven uses of “schlonged.” Two were Trump’s recent jab at Clinton; one referenced a “long-schlonged” reality TV star; one appeared in an obituary for Philip Seymour Hoffman, noting the actor’s role as a “gauche gay boom operator with a crush on [a] long-schlonged superstar” in the film “Boogie Nights”; another appeared in an article about the HBO show “Hung”; and another in the transcript of an episode of Comedy Central’s long-canceled “The Man Show.”

Only one use of “schlonged” as a verb came from a respected political source. In 2011, NPR’s Neal Conan made this observation (to The Post’s Chris Cillizza) on the 1984 Walter Mondale/Geraldine Ferraro campaign: “That ticket went on to get schlonged at the polls.”

NPR; who would have guessed?

On the other hand, it is quite common to turn a noun into a verb, such as “Google” to “Googled.”

Trump’s use of the word “schlonged” has been widely condemned, of course. It’s supposedly sexist, it’s vulgar, it’s a colorful and idiosyncratic use of language, it’s New Yorkese, it’s all the things that Trump’s detractors hate about him and his supporters know and love.

Oh, and I note that it has us talking about him again. In this case, talking about his talk.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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Whats the big deal? Since Obama took office, many Americans are getting Schlonged by his socialist policies. Did the media go apeshit when Joe Blow Biden said this if a big fuxxing deal when the Demorats bribed their way into passing Obamacare? I don’t think so, in fact they found it rather cheerful as it reflected just how the media was feeling.

Dude dup!

If you are going to look up a word at least use the OED, or an Americanized version.

It does not mean screwed it means

From my misspent youth when I checked out a few pr0n videos, an act often seen as a precursor to a money shot involving the face,

Not a Trump guy here, but this article is disingenuous. You quote a prior usage by a likely leftist source in virtually the same context, with the same meaning Trump had:

“In 2011, NPR’s Neal Conan made this observation (to The Post’s Chris Cillizza) on the 1984 Walter Mondale/Geraldine Ferraro campaign: “That ticket went on to get schlonged at the polls.”

That quote should have been at the front of your post, but, then, the entire post would not have been necessary.

Cruz is the most formidable guy. He is missing Rubio’s charisma and Trump’s sensationalism but he wins everywhere else.

I think the word, as used, was innocuous, and just part of Duh Donald’s “word salad” mode of speech.

It certainly didn’t have the “deep meaning” that was alleged by some writers who got WAY too deep into the chicken entrails.

I don’t even think it was “bullying”. Though we do know that bullying is a T-rump trait and commonly used tool. It just wasn’t here.

Bill has probably said, “I wouldn’t schlong her with your schlong.”

The left senses an opportunity to “macaca” Trump, but seriously, if they haven’t figured out Trump’s superpowers yet, then they haven’t been paying attention.

Sammy Finkelman | December 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Well, it seems the word was used by Donald Trump back in 2011, and it used by some people playing golf in New York.

I think the etymology is probably wrong.

What I think of is “Shling arein” – throw in – referring to swallowing food – in other words gulping, and I think this is related to idea of fish swallowing each other.

It might be related to this:

Rabbi Chanina taught: “Pray for the welfare of the government, for without fear of governmental authorities people would swallow each other alive” (Pirkei Avos (Ethics of the Fathers) 3:2).

Now “Shling arein” is too long to be adopted as a word, so maybe somebody changed it to schlong,. which can be understood as a past tense of “shling”

I can’t see how you get to “beat badly / destroy” from schlang, which has a different vowel in any case.

    Sammy, the arein is unnecessary. Shlingen on its own means to swallow. A shlang shlingt on kayen — a snake swallows without chewing. The more I think about it the more I think you’re right, that Trump heard shling used as a verb, and confused it with the English vulgarism “schlong”.

According to the Daily Mail, Neal Conan used the term on air (NPR) to describe the results of the 1984 election. Now he regrets giving Trump the “veneer of respectability.”

What a “putz.”

as airline employee dealt with people all over US and New York people (JFK and LGA) uses it a lot to describe beaten/broken.
like the landing gear got schlonged when the ac went off taxiway.

Trump wouldn’t be the first person to use a noun referring to male genitalia (sometimes loosely) as a verb, and have the use take off.

Other possibilities he might have chosen: screwed, boned, dicked, shafted, hosed.

I don’t see a problem with using “schlonged”, except that it makes a longer-lasting sound-byte (it’s certainly less vulgar than some others). It generates false controversy, makes a “thing” out of a “non-thing”, pisses off the “right” people, and the over-the-top media fallout drives supporters to The Donald.

Actually, now that I think about it, that’s pretty much Trump’s entire campaign.

Now, for those of you who aren’t especially up on Yiddish, “schlong” is one of the many Yiddish words used to describe the male member, as in genitalia.

Not in Yiddish. Shlang simply means “snake”. It’s not a dirty word at all. It can be used in politest of company, in front of rabbis, delicate old ladies, and small children, without occasioning a raised eyebrow, let alone a titter. When I was in grade one we learned about the shlang that tempted Chava, and there was not a giggle to be heard — and we were a class that giggled at fir-kantik, which is Yiddish for “square”.

Yes, like the English word “snake”, it can be used in a vulgar sense, as in “trouser snake” or “one-eyed snake”, but unless the context made that very clear one would have to specify. “Schlong” (with that spelling) as a synonym for “penis” is not Yiddish at all but American English; it may derive from Yiddish or from German, there’s probably no way to know which.

It’s never used in Yiddish as a verb, but if I heard it as a verb with no context my first guess would be that it meant “snaked” as in a toilet. But I like Sammy’s suggestion that Trump heard the verb shlingen, to swallow, and having a dirty mind he confused it with the vulgar sense of shlang.

Wow, this post and the comments — as well as the feigned “analysis” from multiple corners of the media — all surprise me.

I’ve heard this term used multiple times in private conversations (the ones I’m recalling happened to be by Jewish NY businessmen). Trump did not invent the term or misuse it as I’ve heard it used. (I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump’s friend Howard Stern has used it.) It’s also not “bullying” or “word salad”. In most contexts in which I’ve heard it used, it wasn’t used that way, but more sypathetically, as in “hosed”, “screwed over”, “defrauded”.

Der shlang hot geshlungen a moiz — “the snake swallowed a mouse”.

Big Picture here:

There was worry that Trump would not go after Clinton the way he went after Republicans. A legit worry too. McCain and Romney famously refused to go after Obama.

Well, now it’s obvious that Trump will go after Hillary exactly the same way he went after Republicans!