Steve Bannon is pictured backstage during a campaign event in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Nov. 1, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

In the weeks following the election of Donald Trump, white nationalists who feel emboldened by the results have used a favorite word, “cuck,” to insult political figures and opponents they deem as weak and ineffectual in the political realm.

For those unfamiliar with the term, here are a few important points on the origin and backstory of the insult.

The Dictionary Approach

First things first, “cuck” is not a word recognized in dictionaries. The term is a shortened take of “cuckold” which is defined as “a man whose wife is unfaithful.” The implicit message there, then, is that anyone called a “cuck” is someone perceived as emasculated.

Roots In Racism

Many have noted that the use of the word also has a racist background that fits well in the world of alt-right white nationalist vernacular. While "cuck" has been around since the 13th century, the term has gained some relatively new cultural importance through pornography. Cuckold pornography is a variety in which a poorly endowed white man watches his wife have sex with another man (and frequently this other man is a black man), according to Urban Dictionary.


Which now brings us this year’s election, when the word was used freely and has been combined with the word “conservative” to create “cuckservative” to take down conservative politicians. The alt-right and white nationalists who favor protecting American white dominance have employed the term to attack politicians like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who they viewed as a weak and effeminate leader. While political leaders like Bush are willing to apologize for offensive language, others like Trump are not and will double down on offensive remarks, if necessary. To them, the masculinity displayed by Trump is exactly what is needed to harken America back to a time when whites were more expressly dominant and were not threatened in the political sphere by growing minority groups.