The Best of Jon Stewart Words

We didn’t want to believe it but it’s true: Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show.

While it’s been a while since we’ve covered the most trusted man in America for our Word Soup column, we still have vivid memories of our favorite Stewart-isms, from words in the news, to original portmanteaus, to guest-coined neologisms.

Let’s revisit 12 of our favorites.


Jon Stewart: “By using the phrase ‘you didn’t build that,’ you create confusion by using the demonstrative singular pronoun, ‘that’ instead of the plural anaphor, ‘those,’ which of course would be referring to the antecedent, ‘roads and bridges’. . . .My butt is giving myself a grammar wedgie!”

July 25, 2012

An anaphor is a word, such as a pronoun, “used to avoid repetition,” where “the referent of an anaphor is determined by its antecedent.” The word anaphor ultimately comes from the Greek anapherein, “to carry back, to bring up.”

Anaphor was our 2012 choice for Best Use of a Grammar Term on the Comedy Channel.


Jon Stewart: “Remember when you oversaw the killing of Osama bin Laden? You must have known this photo would go viral. You had to think of it as an assassitunity.”

June 13, 2012

Assassitunity, a blend of assassinate and opportunity, refers to using the assassination of Osama bin Laden as a PR opportunity. Other opportunity portmanteaus include disadvertunity, hobbyturnity, and talk-portunity.

The blend assassitunity is one of the reasons we picked The Daily Show for Best Use of Portmanteaus (tied with The Colbert Report) in 2012.

Benghazi flu

Jon Stewart: “Secretary Clinton was supposed to have testified back in December but kept postponing it for ‘health issues’ which came to be referred to by ‘medical professionals’ as [the Benghazi flu]. . . .The Benghazi flu turned out to be a cerebral blood clot.”

January 24, 2013

The term Benghazi flu was coined by Rep. Allen West, a Republican from Florida, who claimed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was faking illness in order to avoid testifying about the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

It was later revealed that Clinton had been suffering from a “blood clot near her brain.”


Jon Stewart: “Ladies and gentlemen, the fiscal cliff! It’s the subject of tonight’s cliffpocalypsemageddonacaust, our nation’s totally solvable budget problem.”

November 29, 2012

Cliffpocalypsemageddonacaust is blend of cliff of fiscal cliff, apocalypse, armageddon, and holocaust. For more end-of-the-world words, check out Arnold Zwicky’s apocalypse posts.

This ridiculous portmanteau was our pick for Most Ridiculous Portmanteau of 2013.


Larry Wilmore: “Racism works best in person. Distrust but verified.”
Jon Stewart: “Like a cop pulling you over for a DWB.”
Larry: “I’m sorry, what’s that, Jon?”
Jon: “A DWB, you know. . .Driving While Black.”

October 2, 2012

DWB, or driving while black, “refers to the racial profiling of black drivers.” The phrase is a play on DWI, “driving while intoxicated,” and originated in 1990 in a New York Times article, says the Oxford English Dictionary.


Jon Stewart: “All that remains is the bloody gaffe carcass to be picked over by our nation’s most esteemed gaffestronomists, who will measure the gaffe using the exact science of gaffestronomy.”

June 11, 2012

Gaffestronomist is a blend of gaffe and gastronomist. A gastronomist, also known as gastronomer, is “one versed in gastronomy,” or “the art of preparing and serving rich or delicate and appetizing food.”

Gaffe, “a foolish and embarrassing error, especially one made in public,” may come from the French gaffe, “clumsy remark” which originally meant “boat hook.” The sense connection may be, says World Wide Words, “because the emotional effect [of a blunder] is like being gaffed,” or pulled by a hook.


Jon Stewart: “Note to self: A Jewish potato treat with the flavor of the southwest. I call it the Mexiknish.”

June 25, 2012

Mexikinish, or “somewhat Mexican,” combines the word Mexican with the suffix ish meaning “approximately,” and refers Romney’s claim that his father’s being born in Mexico ties him somehow to the Latino community.

The term is also a pun on knish, a hearty eastern European potato snack.


Jon Stewart: “Or the incredible tax breaks the government gives the investor class, whose money is taxed at a capital gains rate of 15% as opposed to ordinary having-a-job income which can be taxed up to 35%. Boy I wish we had a poster boy for that element of moochacracy. Oh right.” [Cuts to picture of Mitt Romney]

September 19, 2012

Moochacracy is a blend of mooch, “to get or try to get something free of charge,” and the suffixcracy, “rule or government by.” Mooch probably comes from the Old French muchier, “to hide, skulk,” while –cracy comes from the Greek kratos, “strength.” Stewart continues:

In 2010, Governor Romney had an adjusted gross income of $21.6 million yet paid only $3 million in federal income tax, or 13.9%. Without the preferential investor tax code, Romney would have paid $7.56 million – a government subsidy of $4.56 million, or. . . .enough food stamps to feed Mr. Romney through the year 4870.

nerd glaze

Jon Stewart: “I have people who work here, in this office, who disappear for days on Game of Thrones jags, and they just come back with that sort of, ‘Can’t wait – ‘”
Peter Dinklage: “Nerd glaze.”
Jon Stewart: “You just coined something, sir. If somebody doesn’t have nerdglaze dot com right now, you have to register that.”

March 25, 2013

The term nerd glaze, created by Games of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage, refers to an expression of daze and awe as a result of binge-watching a favorite TV show; or awe-struck fandom in general.

We’re glad to see is still up.


Jon Stewart: “We’re talking about Mitt Romney who will be the Republican Presidential nominee, or as I now call it, the Rominee. That’s trademarked.”

May 2, 2012

Rominee is a blend of Romney and nominee, a word that won’t be used in the election next year.


Jon Stewart: “Al, I think you’ve been had by Hawaiian uber-prankster Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.” Al Madrigal: “What? No. I got Tuiasosopoed? No!” January 21, 2013

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is the suspect behind the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax, and so to be Tuiasosopoed means to be fooled by such a hoax. The word is both an eponym, a word derived from a person’s name, and anthimeria, using a word from one part of speech as another part, such as a noun as a verb. A synonym is catfish. Tuiasosopo was also a word that Stewart really enjoyed saying, as evinced in this clip.

More words that are fun to say.


Jon Stewart: “Are you not under-tained? There goes my whole night. Sorry, kids, Daddy can’t read you a bedtime story because he’s got to spend the next five hours watching Blitzer and John King fingerbang Ohio on a magic touchscreen to find out how differently 35-42 year old Catholics voted in Adams County versus this time in 2008.”

March 7, 2012

Under-tained is blend of under and entertained, and means to be entertained in an underwhleming way. It plays on the phrase from the film Gladiator, “Are you not entertained?”

In regards to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, we were never under-tained.