Richard Spencer
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute speaks on campus during an event not sanctioned by the school, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, Dec. 6, 2016. REUTERS/Spencer Selvidge

The word “cuckservative” is one of many terms that’s gained traction since President Donald Trump’s campaign run and inauguration. Just last week, white nationalist Richard Spencer tweeted that “cuckservatives” and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are not helping American public schools by promoting school choice.

The word cuckservative is not particularly new — it’s a favorite term of the far-right, and it’s been around for the past two years. But to understand fully understand what a cuckservative is, you need to take a few steps back first.

“Cuckservative” evolved from “cuck.” And “cuck” came from the word “cuckold.”

Let’s start with the word cuckold: A cuckold is a man who’s been cheated on by his wife. It was first used in the 1200, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and it was used in literature for the next few hundred years. The word has recently made a comeback in the alternative forms used by the far-right; it’s now in the top 20 percent of words searched on Merriam-Webster’s website.

Cuckold has been appropriated largely because of its connotations: The man has, in essence, lost his manliness. And that’s where the word “cuck” comes in.

“‘Cuck’ has become shorthand for any perceived weakness, or rather, perceived reluctance to exploit strength,” writer Dana Schwartz said in GQ last August.

But cuck also has racist roots, which is perhaps why it’s become a favorite insult of people with white nationalist ideologies. Cuckold pornography portrays a white man watching his wife have sex with another man — usually well-endowed, and usually black.

Enter the word “cuckservative,” which first appeared on Urban Dictionary in 2015. According to one definition, it’s an insult “for weak-willed wusses that pretend to be ‘conservative.’”

“It’s a very good shorthand meme to express a certain kind of frustration and a certain kind of contempt for mainstream conservatives,” Spencer told the New York Times in 2015.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has been called a cuckservative. Former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush? Cuckservative. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)? You guessed it. Cuckservative. The entire Republican establishment? There's an entire book written about that.