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MINIONS SHAMED in restaurants. A giant balloon to float above London. A ballad celebrating inarticulate ramblings about mouth, brain, and Elton John. What a perfect time to add the word “ridicule” to the SimanaitisSays series of Etymology for our Times. While we’re at it, let’s include its related “derision” and “mockery” too.

Merriam-Webster defines “ridicule” in a circular sort of way: “the act of ridiculing: DERISION, MOCKERY.”

Ridicule in action: Senior Policy Advisor Stephen Miller was given the bird, two of them actually, by a bartender at a Washington, D.C., sushi restaurant. Image from Reuters/iStock.

The word ridicule comes to us from the Latin ridiculum, jest. Other related English words are “ridiculous,” “deride,” and “derision. The Latin verb rideo is “to laugh, jeer, grin.”

M-W defines “derision” as “a: the use of ridicule or scorn to show contempt. b: a state of being laughed at or ridiculed; a state of being derided.”

Derision in action: The Red Hen Restaurant, in Lexington, Virginia, refused to serve Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on June 23, 2018. Image by Daniel Lin/AP.

According to, Trump retaliated by calling the restaurant “filthy.” Note, the Red Hen passed its latest state health inspection, in February, with zero violations. By contrast, Mar-a-Lago has been cited 78 times in three years for health code violations.

Last, M-W’s word “mockeries” is defined in several ways, among them, “insulting or contemptuous action or speech: DERISION. Laying himself open to the jeers of his rebellious subjects.—E.A. Freeman.”

Mockery in action: A Trump balloon will soar above London during his time in the U.K. This and the following image from

The 20-ft. balloon’s crowdfunding statement read “donald trump is a big, angry baby with a fragile ego and tiny hands.” The funding campaign was so successful that the group is planning to follow Trump throughout his international tour.

M-W’s mockery definition continues, “3. a: counterfeit appearance: IMITATION. If it was not a man it was a huge and grotesque mockery of man.—E.R. Burroughs.”

Musicians Sandy and Richard Riccardi have offered a particular wonderful bit of ridicule, derision, and mockery inspired by Trump’s recent Montana word tangle reported here at SimanaitisSays.

Sandy and Richard Riccardi perform their rendition of “a musical instrument.”

Other examples of their musical satire are also at YouTube. As Sandy observes, “We believe laughter is the best medicine, but Xanax is nice too….”

It is to laugh. And to ridicule, to deride, and to mock. And to resist and to protest. And to vote. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2018

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