In the New Yorker’s (May 31) article under the title, “Stephen Hawking angers Trump supporters with baffling array of long words,” Andy Borowitz wrote;
“Speaking to a television interviewer in London, the theoretical physicist, Hawking called Trump “a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator. --- “For a so-called genius, this was an epic fail,” Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said. “If Professor Hawking wants to do some damage, maybe he should try talking in English next time.”
Later in the day, Hawking attempted to clarify his remark about the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, telling a reporter, “Trump bad man. Real bad man.”
From the context of Professor Hawking’s remark, I take “the lowest common denominator” as referring to the “social segment of low educated, unsophisticated people,” but I’m not sure.
I thought "common denominator" is a simple mathematic term. What does it mean in the context of the above quote?
Mr. Trump’s campaign manager says Professor Hawking should try to talk in English. Is this a farfetched way of using “common denominator” from math to politics?
Did Professor Hawking misuse "the common denominator"? Or does Mr. Trump's campaign manager not understand the meaning of "common denominator", which some call an "everyday-use" English phrase?
I found the following definition of 'common denominator' in Oxford Advanced Learners English Dictionary;
2) an idea, attitude or experience that is shared by all the members of group - see also Lowest common denominator.
Readers English Japanese Dictionary at hand, published by Kenkyu-sha, a foreign language, especially English language dictionary specialist publisher in Japan, and rated as the most reliable English Japanese dictionary totally dropped the reference to this paticular meaning.
It was a learning. I told to myself that I should have made more homework on English-to-English dictonaries beforehand.