"Tillersoned" Is A Word Now & It Makes Ghosting Seems Nice
It's either a very good thing or a very bad thing when your name gets turned into a verb, nothing in between. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is now getting that treatment on Twitter, as "Tillerson" has been turned into a verb — and it's certainly not going to rank among the former Exxon/Mobil CEO's highest achievements.
"I got Tillersoned sophomore year of high school," a Twitter user wrote, giving one example of having been Tillersoned. "She changed her status to single but also got into a public relationship with someone else before I even made it back from debate practice."
The meaning you can derive from that, then, is that "to Tillerson" means to dump someone on social media without giving them any indication that it's happening. This mirrors how Donald Trump fired his secretary of state — by releasing a statement that apparently blindsided Tillerson.
The New York Times reported that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly did warn Tillerson on Friday that he "may get a tweet," but Kelly did not make it clear what exactly that meant. Trump reportedly did not speak with Tillerson directly about the decision, much as the people spilling their guts on Twitter either did not speak to their exes, whether they were the dumpers or the dumpees.
A Major Confession
Trump, who makes a habit of firing people in indirect ways, apparently has no shame about Tillersoning people — but Washington Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah recognized that Tillersoning an ex was "not [her] best moment."
Notice The Social Media Theme
While Trump dumped Tillerson on Twitter, Attiah and fellow journalist Astead W. Herndon of The Boston Globe and the one above both used Facebook as their social media dumping site of choice.
Trump, let's remember, was actually "an ocean away" right before he fired Tillerson by tweet. Tillerson was on a tour of Africa, his first and last as secretary of state, when he may have gotten the news, although the timing is unclear.
When Kelly told him to watch out for a tweet on Friday, Tillerson was in Kenya. On Monday, the day before his firing, Tillerson cut his trip short to come home that day.
Tillersoning In Person
This example of Tillersoning is actually far more up front than what Trump did, as Twitter user @runaway0121 actually saw the Tillersoning happen in person.
Tillersoned By Text
Victoria M. Walker, video editor for The Washington Post, discussed the time when she broke up with an ex by text right before a planned Valentine's Day date, but hey, at least she texted him directly instead of just announcing it to the public, right? This might not be a true example of Tillersoning someone.
Jhene & Big Sean
Singer Jhene Aiko may have Tillersoned Big Sean, her rapper boyfriend, by unfollowing him on social media — but it's still unclear what's gone on between the two. Perhaps it was an in-person or at least somewhat more breakup that was only followed by social media unfollowing.
This Isn't The First Time
Twitter user @M_G_Stone aptly pointed out that this isn't the first time a Trump official has been Tillersoned; in fact, the administration has produced numerous synonyms for this phenomenon.
He uses the example of "being Reinced" in reference to Trump's roundabout way of firing former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, but he could also have said "being Comeyed" to bring in former FBI director James Comey — who found out that he had been fired by seeing the news on TV.
An Immediate Application
Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts Gayle Manchin was just fired on the same day as Tillerson, and she found out in a similar way — not through a tweet, but through a news release that a reporter read to her over the phone.
An Old School Tillersoning
Before social media, celebrities could Tillerson each other on talk shows — like when, as Scripps College politics professor Sumita Pahwa pointed out, Matt Damon dumped Minnie Driver by saying that he was single when he was on Oprah.
Language is a fascinating thing. It seems pretty set in stone when you look at a dictionary or take an English exam, but then the president fires his secretary of state in an extremely bizarre way, and suddenly there's a whole new word. Slang is just beautiful.