Kakistocracy, a 374-year-old word that means ‘government by the worst,’ just broke the dictionary

Today was a productive vocabulary day in the United States of America.

The learning began in the morning, when former CIA director John O. Brennan tweeted at President Trump: “Your kakistocracy is collapsing after its lamentable journey.”

The insult was part of a raging feud between Trump and various members of the intelligence community, some of whom suspect the president’s inner circle of committing federal crimes, and many of whom Trump says are out to destroy him.

Brennan’s tweet proved quite popular with Trump’s critics, even if not everyone totally understood it.

What, wondered the actor/director Zach Braff and the fake congressman Steven Smith, and many others, was a “kakistocracy”?

Kleptocracy means a government by thieves, and autocracy means government by one person. Both of those terms have been used liberally by Trump’s critics in the last year or so, but kakistocracy … was that like a government of cack, as in dung?

Actually, yeah, kind of.

Searches for the kakistocracy surged to the top of Merriam-Webster, arguably the hippest of the major dictionaries, which recently made “dumpster fire” an official English word.


Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2018/04/13/kakistocracy-a-374-year-old-word-that-means-government-by-the-worst-just-broke-the-dictionary/?utm_term=.a0807a0f44fc

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