The Washington Post (October 30 issue) carried an article under the headline, “Will Trump be ‘Brexit times five’? He may need to be if he wants to win.” which is followed by the following passage:

“The Republican nominee has repeatedly fed that belief, calling himself “Mr. Brexit,” predicting “Brexit times five” and vowing Tuesday that “there’s going to be a lot of Brexit happening in about two weeks. A lot of Brexit.”

I surmise Mr. Trump is predicting his big victory in the Presidential election in the scale of five times as much large as Brexisists’ victory, which few anticipated to happen. Am I right?

Is “X times five” a common idiom to describe a big number or large scale gap in comparison with something (X)? Why should it be five, not three, seven, ten, hundred, or any other number?

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    – MetaEd
    Oct 31, 2016 at 16:21

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is common to say " something times something else" to express the idea of an amplified effect:


  • used as a multiplicative word in phrasal combinations expressing how many instances of a quantity or factor are taken together: Two goes into six three times; five times faster.


Brexit was an unanticipated and very surprising result to many Europeans, Trumps victory will be five times as much for many Americans and possibly for many foreigners.

From Vox.com:

  • Trump told rallygoers that the results on Election Day will “be like Brexit times five.” Newt Gingrich says Trump’s odds of winning remain “very, very good” because “just as with the Brexit vote in Britain,” there are secret Trump supporters out there who don’t want to tell pollsters they are voting for him. Matthew Goodwin at Politico exhorted liberals on October 16 to “learn the lesson of Brexit” and not underestimate Trump’s chances of winning.
  • What he is undoubtedly relying on is a category of voter who will vote for him but is ashamed to admit to it. The same effect was evident with Margaret Thatcher.
    – WS2
    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:59

You need to note that Donald Trump not only used "Brexit times five", but also "beyond Brexit" and "Brexit plus" as one report says as follows:

On Friday Donald Trump held three rallies in North Carolina and Pennsylvania in which he compared the inaccurate early predictions of Britain's "Brexit" to his own campaign. He continued his attack on the media. Currently down in the polls, the Republican nominee, predicted the U.S. presidential election would be "beyond Brexit," "Brexit plus" and finally "Brexit times five." In a result that defied predictions, voters in the U.K. in June voted to leave the European Union.

Trump claimed he predicted correctly the outcome of the Brexit referendum and he is saying basically he can correctly predict the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election. Here, Brexit is a metaphor for surprising outcome of an election that beats earlier inaccurate prediction. Times five is just used to intensify the metaphor which sounds far more emphatic than beyond Brexit and Brexit plus. Any number other than five could have been used.


  • 1
    Yes, politics aside it's worth remembering that the speaker in this instance is fond of playing fast and loose with the numbers, and may use several widely diverging descriptions for a single concept. Thus, in this case especially, no particular significance should be applied to "five", other than it sounded good to him.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 31, 2016 at 12:27
  • 1
    @HotLicks True. Five seems to be more used in my native language, too. I guess because we have five fingers and you can waive your hand saying "five". Purely speculative, though.
    – user140086
    Oct 31, 2016 at 12:29

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