Merriam-Webster gave a real-time vocabulary lesson to Donald Trump, trolling the president after he shared a tweet that incorrectly claimed the “calvary” was coming.
Trump took to Twitter to share a December 21 tweet from a supporter promoting a planned demonstration in the nation’s capital on January 6, the day Congress will tally the Electoral College results and seal Joe Biden’s win.
“The calvary is coming, Mr. President! JANUARY 6th,” the tweet read.
As Merriam-Webster pointed out, the word choice was the wrong one. The dictionary-maker tweeted an article that pointed out the difference between the word cavalry, which refers to an army component mounted on horseback, and calvary, which is the experience of intense suffering.
“These two words are often confused, enough so that we record the pronunciation for calvary (ˈkal-və-rē) as a variant on the headword for cavalry,” the article read. “Why would we do such a thing? Because a large number of people pronounce cavalry as calvary, even if they have no trouble distinguishing between the two words in writing.”
Many others joined in mocking Trump for passing along the misspelling, with the term “calvary” shooting to the top of Twitter’s trends as many pointed out what they saw as a telling mistake. Trump has been promoting the planned protests on January 6, which many have tied in with calls for Mike Pence to refuse to allow the validation of Biden’s victory.
Many on the right have pressed the theory that Pence, who is set to oversee the process through his role as vice president, has the ability to overturn the results and give a victory to Trump. Experts have said he has no such power, and the Justice Department has pushed back against a lawsuit filed by a Republican congressman seeking to affirm that Pence could overturn it.
Merriam-Webster has taken on Trump’s misuse of vocabulary in the past, going on Twitter back in 2018 to call him out for claiming that former lawyer Michael Cohen got away “Scott Free” for crimes. As the dictionary published noted, the actual term is “scot-free.”
Trump has regularly been criticized for misspellings and improper grammar in his tweets, including one back in July in which he incorrectly spelled “liar.” He retweeted a message from journalist John Solomon claiming that the credibility of Russia dossier author Christopher Steele was shredded after a British court identified inaccurate or unproven allegations.
“This man should be extradited, tried, and thrown into jail. A sick lier who was paid by Crooked Hillary & the DNC!” Trump wrote while retweeting the message.