A Bushism is any of a number of peculiar words, phrases, pronunciations, malapropisms, semantic or linguistic errors, and gaffes that have occurred in the public speaking of United States President George W. Bush and, before that, of his father George H. W. Bush. The term, a neologism, has become part of popular folklore, and is the basis of a number of websites and published books. It is often used to caricature the two presidents. Common characteristics include malapropisms, the creation of neologisms, and spoonerisms.

Some columnists – including Molly Ivins, co-author of a book of Bushisms – have suggested that Bush may have difficulty speaking "Washington English", and that he may be trying to cover his dialect by over-emphasizing words. Some have hypothesized that Bush is not familiar with some of the words that he feels he must use as president.

Bush's misuse of the English language has spawned dozens of books that document the phenomenon. The majority are written by Slate magazine editor Jacob Weisberg. The first, Bushisms, was released in 2002. The Bushism books have been received well around the world, with editions released in Germany, France, and Italy landing on best seller lists. A poem entitled Make the Pie Higher, composed entirely of Bushisms, was compiled by high school English teacher Dirk Schulze under the pseudonym of "Richard Thompson", as an example of a found poem for his students.

Notable Statements

"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." —Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." —LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." —Greater Nashua, N.H., Jan. 27, 2000

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." —Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." —Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

"Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?" —Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." —Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004

"It's your money. You paid for it." —LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

"They misunderestimated me." —Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000

See also

Related linguistic elements


Further reading

  • Frank, Justin A., Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President (2004), ISBN 0-06-073670-4.
  • Miller, Mark Crispin. The Bush Dyslexicon (2001), ISBN 0-393-04183-2.
  • George W. Bushisms: The Accidental Wit and Wisdom of Our 43rd President. Ed. Jacob Weisberg. ISBN 0-7407-4456-9.
  • Bushisms/President George Herbert Walker Bush in His Own Words New Republic. Workman Pub Co., May 1992, ISBN 1-56305-318-7
  • George W. Bush -- On The Trips Of His Tongue -- A Linguistic Legacy. B. Elwin Sherman. ISBN 978-1430317951.

External links

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