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August 28, 2008

Slang of the Week: PUMA (noun)
A Democrat who feels Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly by the party and cheated of the presidential nomination

When Hillary ended her campaign, Jennifer turned PUMA, packed up her pantsuit and joined the enemy.

Celebrity quote
“If Bill Clinton's speech does not convince the Hillary holdouts to fall in line, if his compelling case against four more years of Republican rule doesn't kill the P.U.M.A (Party Unity My A**) contingent, then the Democratic Party better get set to salute President McCain.”
- Jonathan Capehart in the Washington Post

PUMA is an acronym that comes from Party Unity My Ass (I don’t believe in party unity). PUMAs (primarily women) are apparently so bitter that Clinton won’t be representing the Democrats in November that they will vote for Republican John McCain instead of Democrat Barack Obama.

It’s a baffling phenomenon. Clinton and Obama have very similar political views, while Clinton and McCain differ on many points, especially the “women’s issue” of abortion.

I know PUMAs exist, because I have seen them on TV and found PUMA blogs online, but I have not personally met any here in Massachusetts, where Clinton easily won the primary. Still, it’s not surprising that they’ve gotten so much press. Controversial PUMAs make a far more attention-grabbing story than the unexciting majority of Clinton supporters, who now back Obama.

Without capitalization, puma has a very different meaning, also associated with women. A puma is a younger version of a cougar. Both are women who prefer younger men, but cougars are generally over 35; pumas are in their late twenties and early thirties.

Take a look in our bookstore for books and DVDs on all kinds of slang! This week’s pick: Cassell's Dictionary of Slang by Jonathan Green. This excellent resource is one of the most comprehensive dictionaries of English Slang from the US, UK and Australia.