PR Buzz Word #7: Mugwump

You’re probably not going to use the term mugwump that often. But, you will this week!

Boris Johnson has made his official entrance into the general election campaign with some fancy language that had us all heading for the dictionary.

The foreign secretary accused Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, of being a “mutton-headed old mugwump” in a column in The Sun. If you’re not sure what it means, and let’s face it, that’s pretty much everyone, then here’s the definition from the Oxford English Dictionary.


A person who remains aloof or independent, especially from party politics.

If you think it sounds familiar or something that could be from Harry Potter, then you are right! Fans will associate the supreme mugwump with the title of the head of the International Confederation of Wizards. It’s also a term used in lots of other books, like The Twits by Road Dahl.

Now you know what it means, you can chat about what Boris actually meant by this accusation/insult and whether you’ll actually need the word ever again. Trust Boris to start the election off with a bang!

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