I saw the phrase ‘be worse off under Bam’ in the Reuter’s news titled ‘Gippered’ in Time magazine (September 6), which says:

“More than 1/3 of USAers say they are worse off under Bam. Warning-sign numbers galore in fresh WashPost/ABC poll. Conducted Aug. 29-Sept. 1, error margin 3.5 points.”

I looked for definitions of ‘bum’ that seem relevant to the context of the above sentence. There were six headings of ‘bum’ in Kenkyusha’s Reader Plus English Japanese Dictionary, but none of them seemed to be applicable to the case.

What does ‘they are worse off under Bam’ mean? Why does B of Bam come in capital?


To be worse off under Bam is a shortening of worse off under Obama. Here, Bam is a short form of Obama, which they use because the entire snippet is in condensed form. In speech in the US, one wouldn't usually refer to a politician like this, so I wouldn't recommend doing so.

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    I'm not sure how common the practice is in the US, but in the UK quite a few people at the "lower end" of popular media like to try and promote the use of shortened names for public figures. Sometimes ("Madge" for Madonna, I think) that short form has some basis in reality. Other times ("Maggie" for Thatcher) they are purely made up by the media. With yet others ("Samcam" for Cameron's wife) it's a job to tell. I must say I'm not expecting "Bam" to become commonplace in the US, but who knows? – FumbleFingers Sep 6 '11 at 22:46
  • @Simchona. All my confusion came from that I was unable to judge whether Bam is a proper noun or common noun, and who is Bam if it’s a proper noun. I had slightest idea to associate it with Mr. Obama, though I can associate Dojo (loach) to Japan’s new Prime Minister. – Yoichi Oishi Sep 7 '11 at 2:03

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