Boris Johnson Just Called Jeremy Corbyn A "Mugwump"

But what does it mean?

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Trust Boris Johnson to bring the word "mugwump" into British politics.

In a column for The Sun, the Foreign Secretary launched a savage attack on Jeremy Corbyn, telling voters that they shouldn't feel sorry for the Labour leader, who he described as a "mutton-headed old mugwump".

Of course Johnson's choice of words sparked confusion everywhere and quickly prompted a debate over what a mugwump might actually be.

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According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, mugwump is "an anglicized version of a word used by Massachusett Indians to mean 'war leader.' The word was sometimes jestingly applied in early America to someone who was the 'head guy.'"

The definition highlights the word's origin, stating that the first political mugwumps "were Republicans in the presidential race of 1884 who chose to support Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland rather than their own party's nominee." It continues: "Their independence prompted one 1930s humorist to define a mugwump as 'a bird who sits with its mug on one side of the fence and its wump on the other.'"

The Oxford Dictionary has a similar meaning and states that a mugwump is "a person who remains aloof or independent, especially from party politics." However, Twitter has a different interpretation.

Some people said Johnson had taken inspiration from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as Wonka refers to Mrs Bucket as "my dear old muddleheaded mugwump".

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Boris himself has since revealed he thinks it's from Dahl's famous work. In an interview on Good Morning Britain, he said: "I think Willy Wonka says it either to the parents of Violet Beauregarde or Augustus Gloop." But as the Radio 4's Today presenter, Nick Robinson, points out, there are a number of other uses of the word in fiction, including another Dahl classic, The Twits.

Others referenced the surrealistic novel Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs, who depicts mugwumps as a bizarre alien-like species.

And fans of J.K. Rowling's work have been quick to note that the term was used by the author to describe members of the International Confederation of Wizards, of which Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore was appointed as the Supreme Mugwump.

However, before anyone gets carried away imagining Corbyn as the white-bearded wizard, here's a reminder of Rowling's view on the comparison.