I saw a headline, “Hillary Clinton Gets Gored” in today’s New York Times (September 6) article.

In this article, Paul Krugman, the author compares the current political position Mrs. Hillary Clinton is placed in regard of e-mail scandals with the position Mr. Al Gore was placed in 2000 U.S. Presidential race in regard with a false accusation that he had claimed to have invented the internet, which he never did claim.

Is “get + person’s name + ed” like “Hillary Clinton gets Gored” a common usage in English, providing the character of referred name being a well-established one?

Can I use “ get + name of place + ed” instead of a person’s name, like “get Fukushima-ed” to describe a disastrous situation like the accident of the collapse of a nuclear power plant at the time of M9 Magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami taking place in 2011?

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    It's not "common", but it's done. And the noun used can be anything -- need not be a person or a place or some other proper noun. Someone might "get Pokemoned" or "get potatoed" or "get snowglobed" -- whatever suits the meaning the writer wishes to convey. It's not something you should do if you don't grasp the subtleties, though.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 0:58
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    The hyphen is not generally used when adding "ed" to the proper noun to make it a past participle, e.g. "get Londoned". If the word ends in a vowel, we would more likely write this as it's pronounced - "get Fukushima'd” - in preference to “get Fukushimaed”, to avoid any confusion about how vowel+ed is pronounced. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 1:17
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    What @Chappo said. As Paul Simon sang: I been Norman Mailered, Maxwell Taylored \ I been John O'Hara'd, McNamara'd \ I been Rolling Stoned and Beatled 'til I'm blind... Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 1:48
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    The pun aspect of gored/Gored is evidently irresistible to headline writers—as indeed is the pun aspect of trumped/Trumped, which yields more than 150 matches in a Google search of online news and commentary sites, each one as clever as the one before.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 3:10
  • Of course "tump" means something, so nowadays it is quite common for political headline writers to talk about someone being Trumped. But they would not talk about being Clintoned, since "clinton" has no other meaning.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 17:13

6 Answers 6


The example you cited is a pun. It makes sense because 'gore' is a verb meaning to pierce or wound with something pointed (as a horn or knife), as well as a name. In the article, Krugman is comparing Clinton's reputation being 'wounded' by a scandal to a similar situation that happened to Al Gore.

To answer your question, if you're not making a pun, using a name in this context (pronoun + 'ed') would only work if using it would translate into a verb. 'Fukushima-ed' doesn't really make much sense, in my opinion. An example that might work is that if you had a friend named Joey who was well-known for playing pranks, and he played a prank on someone, you might say that person got "Joey'd," meaning that they were pranked by Joey.

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    Note that your "Joey'd" example has a different sense to the "Gored" example - in the former, the parallel is that Joey pranked someone like he has pranked other people, while in the latter, the parallel is that Clinton is (arguably) being attacked in a manner similar to the way Al Gore was attacked.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 7:24
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    In general, if you "get X'd" then you are affected by X, not becoming like X. This situation is different because of the pun.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 9:01
  • Jeremy: agreed that my example is different precisely because it is not a pun. OrangeDog: that's a useful clarification. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 12:41
  • I think you mean noun or proper noun in the first sentence of paragraph 2 "(pronoun + 'ed')" It's probably impossible to use a pronoun in this way. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 13:03
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    Fukushima'd isn't a pun but it is a very good euphemism for "f**ked" meaning broken, destroyed, tired, drunk etc. "Work was crazy today - I'm absolutely Fukushima'd".
    – Mr_Thyroid
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 16:00

Firstly, to answer your question directly: Yes, it is a reasonably common English idiom.

Such words are called eponymous verbs, and are formed by the process of metonymy.

Modern examples include Bobbitted and Tebowed, but there are many other examples using names of real and fictional people alike, such as Bogarted, Borked, Boycotted, Casanova'd, Houdini'd, Heismanned, Lewinsky'd, Pompadour'd, Scrooged, Scully'd - some of which had but passing currency in common usage, and some of which have stayed with us to the point where we don't even realize that "borked" and "boycott" are eponymous any more.

Then there are a few names-via-company-names like Hoovered, Biro'd, etc.

Similarly, there are other words used in an eponymous sense, but only with suffixes like -ize, or as other parts of speech (nouns, adjectives). So we have Gerrymander, Bowdlerize, Spoonerize, Mesmerize, Galvanize, Herculean, Erotic, Chimeric, Atlas, Streisand Effect, Victorian, Chauvinist, Quisling, Faustian, Sisyphean, Quixotic, Diesel...

Somewhat related, though I feel they are using the names in a different sense:

Simon & Garfunkel ("A Simple Desultory Philippic"):

(Or How I Was Robert McNamara'd into Submission)
I been Norman Mailered, Maxwell Taylored.
I been John O'Hara'd, McNamara'd.
I been Rolling Stoned and Beatled till I'm blind.
I been Ayn Randed, nearly branded
Communist, 'cause I'm left-handed.
That's the hand I use, well, never mind!
I been Phil Spectored, resurrected.
I been Lou Adlered, Barry Sadlered.
Well, I paid all the dues I want to pay.
And I learned the truth from Lenny Bruce,
And all my wealth won't buy me health,
So I smoke a pint of tea a day.

I been Mick Jaggered, silver daggered.
Andy Warhol, won't you please come home?
I been mothered, fathered, aunt and uncled,
Been Roy Haleyed and Art Garfunkeled.
I just discovered somebody's tapped my phone.
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    Good points well made :) Do you know if any of those are due to things happening to the subject, rather than being predominantly things the subject did? The closest I can see is Streisand, but even then she was part of the cause of her calamity...
    – user208769
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 22:10
  • But, in all of the examples you give, [name]-ed means something like "had something done to them, as if [name] had done it", not "became like [name]". So I disagree with your "yes": it should be "no". Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 9:35
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    @DavidRicherby For some maybe, but not all. To Tebow is "to take a bow like Tebow". Bobbitted is to "become like Mr Bobbit". To be Borked is to be "rejected like Mr Bork". To be boycotted is "to be boycotted like Mr Boycott". And so forth. The difference in meaning is clearly in the song, though, which is why I said "I feel they are using the names in a different sense" Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 14:59
  • @DewiMorgan I'd argue that to be Bobbitted is to be attacked as if by Mrs Bobbit but OK. Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 15:05

Firstly, to answer your question directly: No*, it is not a common English idiom. This can be better described as "artistic license", where the writer of the headline has taken some liberties (read: bent the rules) with the English language for the purposes of humour.

I wouldn't consider this a particularly clever pun, or a massively useful headline. In fact, I find your pun far better. Not only is the global mindset around Fukushima particularly coherent, i.e it is very well known for one very specific destructive thing, it has a useful similarity to the past tense of a certain expletive.

Also, in English speaking families where people try to avoid swearing around children, people often catch themselves half-way through the word and substitute with similar but benign sounds - e.g. "I went drinking over the weekend, got totally Fuc... uh, Fukushima'd". The hope is that the children won't be taking a new swear word to school with them.

However, one thing I would point out: Using an event like Fukushima in a funny context, metaphorically, would be totally fine. However, if writing a headline about a similar disaster, this kind of title would be considered totally inappropriate - both because the writing style would not be considered fitting to the subject matter, but also because belittling a current event where human lives are on the line would be considered "in bad taste".

(Though, as a caveat: some publications make their money by being in bad taste.)

*Edit: As Dewi Morgan has pointed out that it is a common English idiom, with a litany of examples, I feel I must concede. As they also pointed out, many of these are no longer even thought of as eponymous, as their usefulness as concepts has far outlived the notoriety of the person they are modelled after.

Often, the reason the word emerges is not because something happened to one person that then happened to another; it is more common for the person to make a contribution to society (positive or not) that becomes their major legacy, so that their name is synonymous with the attribute or discovery (their name becomes a metonym). As such, they slowly drift into common usage, rather than being thrust - haphazard - into a headline. So the example in the question, as well as many of the examples given by my fellow answerer, feel like very rough and unnatural uses of the literary technique.

So, in the specific context of the question, I stand by my answer, however wrong it is in general; it is not common to tack "ed" onto the end of someone's name just because something also happened to them - it is more commonly because of something they did.


I am going to say "yes". With a warning.


past tense: borked;

obstruct (someone, especially a candidate for public office) through systematic defamation or vilification. "is fear of borking scaring people from public office?" Origin 1980s: from the name of Robert Bork (1927–2012), an American judge whose nomination to the US Supreme Court (1987) was rejected following unfavorable publicity for his allegedly extreme views.

See the date? 1987. The word came into use right after the issue, Robert Bork's rejection, but fell off as time passed. If I used it now, in a group of thirty somethings, I'd likely get a strange look, as they aren't going to know the reference.

The "person-ed" takes a couple factors in my opinion. A name that actually works (no matter how Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to our supreme court went, I doubt Sotomayored would have been uttered) along with a defining, notable event. Bork's situation made the news in a memorable way.

Other examples may last more or less time, depending on the nature of the back story. Al Gore was known for his failed presidential bid and efforts to save the planet (see any reference to An Inconvenient Truth). Trump is a current event and it remains to be seen how his verb survives.

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    Is it a coincidence that @Charles Burge and you came up with the same reference within a minute of each other? Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 19:53
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    Well, from now on, when I spend too much time composing an answer here, and another member posts a similar answer a minute sooner, I'll say I got Burged. (and I'll bet a nickel he's within 5 years of my age, 53. No kid would know this.) Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 20:07
  • Well you have got more detail than him so I don't believe that you've copied it directly. Either way, this is a good answer. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 20:12
  • Speaking of "borked," what do you make of this occurrence from 1980 (other half of the sliced line continued here)? I have confirmed at several other sites that Blood in the Maize Fields was published in 1980.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 20:34
  • Pre-1987, the Google Books Ngram Viewer shows activity. No idea how it was used, but to me, it's curious that usage grew and peaked in 1999. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 23:27

It's very rare, but it does happen from time to time. The example you cited is clearly a pun based on the word "gore", but another example comes to mind, and that is of Robert Bork. He was nominated to the Supreme Court by president Ronald Reagan back in 1987. The Senate ultimately rejected his nomination. Later, some people spoke of "borking" future nominees, meaning to reject them in similar fashion. Note that "borked" sometimes is used to mean broken or corrupted (often in relation to software) but that usage is unrelated.

Another example that has become a mainstream English word is boycott. Charles Boycott was a real person, whose ostracism by his community led to the coining of the verb. (see here for a Wikipedia article about him.


Another "verb" which was created from a person's name is "borked" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Bork#Bork_as_verb - with meaning:

"to attack or defeat (a nominee or candidate for public office) unfairly through an organized campaign of harsh public criticism or vilification"

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