I noticed a slogan in the past presidential election: Love Trumps hate.

At first I thought "Trumps"referred to people who supported Trump, and a "what" was omitted. Only "Love what Trumps hate" made any sense to me. But now I'm not so sure.

What does it mean?

Edited: I found it in Twitter hashtag from a pro-Clinton.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Nov 27 '16 at 22:00

No, it's a pun, on the verb "trump" meaning "beat" or "score higher than" (from Whist-like card games in which one suit, or certain cards are "trumps", which beat any card that isn't a trump).

So the primary meaning is fully grammatical, with "trumps" as the verb. The secondary meaning is not quite clear, but I take it to mean "[the] love [that] Trumps [i.e. Trump and his supporters] hate".

  • Oh yeah, I only connect the word to the name and forget its literal meaning. Thanks! – AsaMyth Nov 26 '16 at 15:38
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    You can't really apply the trump = fart sense to this slogan (though I'm sure whoever came up with it would have liked to! :) On the other hand, allowing for a bit of illiteracy on the part of the target audience, it's not hard to see it as an imperative with the sense of Love Trump's hate (i.e. You should love the thing that Trump hates). – FumbleFingers Nov 26 '16 at 15:58
  • I think you should clarify that the 2nd meaning is the imperative: 'You should love that Trump espouses hate' (because that will make him easy to defeat) -- Oh, wait... – AmI Nov 26 '16 at 17:56
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    I don't think there is an actual second meaning. It's just associated to Trump. The non trump version would be "love wins [over hate]", and so by associating it with trump, it says the political brand that is "trump" will not win over love. – Jonathan. Nov 26 '16 at 17:57
  • As to the second meaning, can it not be "Love Trump's Hate", i.e imperative+possessive+noun? It would need an apostrophe, which may have been omitted due to the other meaning, and the two meanings somewhat overlap (if you consider the second to be sarcasm): one argues against hate, the other argues that Trump is hateful (and then sarcastically tells you to love the fact that he is hateful) – Flater Sep 18 '17 at 16:23

There is a potential grammatical ambiguity. In fact, I misunderstood this slogan the first time I saw it.

Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert, also noted the ambiguity on his blog. See bullet point #3 at http://blog.dilbert.com/post/143789982926/clinton-versus-trump-persuasion-scores.

First, the above answers correctly describe the most common understanding of "Love Trumps Hate". "Love" is the subject, "trumps" is the verb, and "hate" is the direct object.

However, I know people who use this slogan ironically. It also can be read (aloud, at least) as an imperative sentence. The subject is the understood "you". Then "(should) love" is the verb, "hate" is the direct object, and "Trump[']s" is an adjective modifying "hate".

In that reading, then, the sentence is similar to

"You should love the fact that Trump hates some people."

A purist would require an apostrophe to make "Trumps" a possessive noun. But it's not very unusual to drop that apostrophe. See the Wikipedia page at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostrophe#Omission and further down the page under the "Criticism" heading.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Nov 27 '16 at 22:00

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