I was interested in the word “egoscape” used in the following paragraph of the New Yorker magazine’s (March 14) article written by David Remnick under the title “American Demagogue”:

“For a long time, Trump, with his twenty-four-karat skyscrapers, his interesting hair, and his extra-classy airline, was a leading feature of the New York egoscape. The editors of the satirical monthly Spy covered him with the same obsessive attention that Field & Stream pays to the rainbow trout.”

I can’t find the word egoscape in either Oxford or Cambridge English Dictionary. Nor does Google Ngram register this particular word.

While Murukan says "egoscape" means “inward pilgrimage of an individual,” it doesn’t seem to fit the context of the above paragraph to me.

What does “egoscape” mean? Does it pass current?

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    The Murugan reference is irrelevant. That usage is unknown to the average English reader and is only significant to members of that sect.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 15, 2016 at 2:42
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    Can we say Washington egoscape, Beijing egoscape, Wall Street egoscape, and Silicon Valley egoscape? Apr 15, 2016 at 3:55
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    I expect that you could. Most places, and certainly most places that attract the wealthy and powerful, would have a collection of individuals who made up that locale's egoscape. It the collection of ego-driven individuals that make up the egoscape not necessarily the place.
    – Icy
    Apr 15, 2016 at 4:13
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    How could I tell who was being written about when I saw this on the Hot Network Questions sidebar?
    – Golden Cuy
    Apr 15, 2016 at 7:21
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    I'm curious to know why the question that attracted more than 400 views and earned 6 upvotes (minus 1 downvote) and one favorite question vote needs to be close-voted, though I don't blame downvotes. I doubt if it's non-native speaker bashing or somewhat prejudiced. Apr 15, 2016 at 20:29

3 Answers 3


Any word you see that ends in -scape, Oishi-san, refers to a scene or view of something [TFD]. Thus we get amalgams like


and so on. The point is, these are usually spacious, sweeping vistas, the size of everything you can see with your eyes in one direction.

What Remnick is doing is describing Trump's ego as something as broad and sweeping and spacious as a seascape or landscape. In other words, he's artfully saying that Trump and his ilk (rich, upscale New Yorkers) have gigantic egos.

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    Following your definition of -scape words, I think the sense might be not that Trump is himself an egoscape, but instead that Trump is a prominent figure in the social landscape of inflated egos in New York. Not only that, but his ego, like so many others', manifests in the physical cityscape in the form of Trump Tower.
    – Adam Brown
    Apr 15, 2016 at 5:46
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    @AdamBrown I believe that your comment is the most accurate answer here - I think you should post it as an answer in its own right.
    – atkins
    Apr 15, 2016 at 11:31
  • @atkins I took you suggestion and proposed an answer.
    – Adam Brown
    Apr 22, 2016 at 15:40
  • Though for people who don't live there, it's not just "Trump and his ilk" who form the New York (City) egoscape. It's more like he's Pike's Peak in the Colorado landscape.
    – jamesqf
    Apr 22, 2016 at 17:37
  • Nicely put. Funny as well.
    – Jelila
    Sep 5, 2018 at 16:43

It's clear enough that the suffix -scape refers to a scene or vista. This form is derived from landscape and is used analogously in words like cityscape, moonscape, etc. In this case, egoscape refers to the social environment — metaphorically, the ego landscape — of New York City.

In the case of this quotation there is a clever double-meaning in that Trump's ego, with ego used pejoratively to connote an excessive sense of self-worth, manifests in the physical cityscape. (Trump is a developer, known for his extravagant skyscrapers.) So egoscape is both a metaphor for New York society as a whole, and a critique of the built environment. The sense of this second meaning is that the actual landscape of New York City is a reflection of the over-sized egos who inhabit it.


Egoscape is this context refers to the mental picture New Yorkers have of their city, themselves and their place in the world.

Every city, state and town thinks it is special, but for New Yorkers, it's New York and the ROW (Rest of the World). For proof of this, see the New Yorker cover, View of The World from 9th Avenue, shown in Wikipedia

Today's Washington Post (Thu, April 14, 2016) has an article on its front page, above the fold, titled "Trump's Slice of the Big Apple". The gist of the article is that

To these New Yorkers, the reason for backing the mogul is clear: He's one of them.

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    This seems to imply that the ego in egoscape refers to all New Yorkers and their concept of themselves as representative individuals in their home town. But I don't think that's the meaning. The "egoscape" of New York is the array of famous NYC egotists who make for as characteristic view of the city as the NYC skyline makes for the NYC cityscape.
    – deadrat
    Apr 15, 2016 at 9:18

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