Thanks to a Twitter typo, “covfefe,” President Donald Trump might have fat-fingered his way into unifying the nation.
America awoke to a state of general confusion Wednesday morning, trying to make sense of (yet another) one of the president’s late-night Twitter rampages.
This time, it was a typo: covfefe.
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The tweet said simply, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.”
That was it.
Tweeted at 12:06 a.m., everyone expected the tweet to be deleted, and it was, but only after lingering online for hours and stirring up a lot of questions about just what in the heck the president of the United States meant by “covfefe.”
It didn’t take long for internet detectives to sleuth out the meaning of this made-up word: coverage. Some pointed out the letters “erage” are situated similarly to “fefe” on the keyboard.
But it was too late: Covfefe was born.
By the time Trump got around to deleting the typo heard around the world, it had long gone viral, and true to himself, the tweeter-in-chief just couldn’t resist the urge to stir the pot and lap up a little more attention.
At 6:09 a.m. he tweeted, “Who can figure out the true meaning of 'covfefe'??? Enjoy!”
Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
And try they did.
Websites like Heavy, Fusion, Mashable and Buzzfeed polled readers on the correct pronunciation, giving choices like Cov-FEE-fee, Cov-FEH-fay and COV-feef.
And just like that, the nation was once again divided.
Front-runners for how to pronounce the president’s new word are: Cov-FEE-fee, COV-fee-fee and COV-fef-ay, but there were plenty of opinions to go around.
My professional linguist opinion is that #covfefe should be pronounced [koʊ̯vˈfɛˌfeɪ̯], but [koʊ̯vˈfeɪ̯ˌfeɪ̯] would also be acceptable— Language Jones (@languagejones) May 31, 2017
It's pronounced "kuv-fay-fay" you uncultured swine!— Nanoparticles, PhD (@jazzorion) May 31, 2017
OFFICIAL WORLDWIDE NOTICE:#covfefe is pronounced:— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) May 31, 2017
cō•feef (stress is on the 2nd syllable)
[The "v" is silent; it's a classy word.]
And as the debate simmered, Twitter users turned to the one account that might be able to help: Merriam Webster.
The account for Merriam Webster Dictionary, which has become known for its snarky and on-the-nose tweets in recent months, was caught in a tailspin like the rest of us, though.
“Wakes up. Checks Twitter. Uh... Lookups fo…” the account tweeted. “Regrets checking Twitter. Goes back to bed.”
Wakes up.— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) May 31, 2017
? Lookups fo...
Regrets checking Twitter.
Goes back to bed.
We should probably follow that advice.