Kim Jong Un calls Trump dotard: What is the meaning of this word so loved by Shakespeare, Chaucer and JRR Tolkien

North Korea once again has threatened to resume its "unfriendly banter" against the United States of America by calling Donald Trump a "dotard."

On Thursday, The Associated Press citing Choe Son Hui, the first vice foreign minister, warned that his country will resume calling US President Donald Trump, a "dotard" lest Trump stops threats of possible military actions against the North and abstains from calling the Kim Jong Un - "rocket man."

"If any language and expressions stoking the atmosphere of confrontation are used once again ... that must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the dotage of a dotard," Choe said.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore

Amidst all the bad news and the threats of nuclear escalation, the logomaniacs can take solace in the fact that "dotard" is no more a lost word. This word, which has been around for some 600 years, has finally been revived thanks to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

He used the word for the first time back in 2017, following US President Donald Trump's maiden speech at the UN. As once again, the North Korean tyrant has threatened to resume his insulting remarks, let's take a look at the interesting history of this particular word.

In his statement, issued in September 2017, insulting the US president, Kim Jong Un had used the word twice.

"Action is the best option in treating the dotard* who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say." And he again used the word towards the end of his statement: "I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire."

Origin of the word

So what is the origin of this word? The origin of the word dates back to the 14th century. The word dotard is derived from the word 'doten' which means 'to behave foolishly' or 'become feeble-minded.'

Geoffrey Chaucer used the term in his famed collection of stories The Canterbury Tales in 1387. He used the term several times to describe aged men, who have lost their virility. William Shakespeare also has frequently used the word in his plays - The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, Cymbeline and The Winter's Tale.

JRR Tolkien also used the word in Return of the King, where Gandalf told Denethor, steward of Gondor "Folly? Nay, my lord, when you are a dotard you will die." A few chapters later, this time Denethor uses the word and said: "I will not step down to be the dotard chamberlain of an upstart."

This article was first published on December 6, 2019