A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 13, 2007
Turd Blossom

"Turd Blossom” was a nickname for George W. Bush’s adviser, Karl Rove. The term was popularized in 2001.

A “turd blossom” is supposedly a Texas term for a flower that grows from manure, but historical citations for this alleged regional definition are lacking.

Wikipedia: Turd Blossom
Turd Blossom, according to partisans of Karl Rove and George W. Bush, is a Texan term for a flower which grows from a pile of cow dung. The term has gained notoriety in the United States, as reportedly this is one of President George W. Bush’s terms of endearment for his chief political advisor, Karl Rove. Bush is also reported to call Rove by the nickname ”Boy Genius.“

Few, if any, native Texans would recognize this definition of ‘turd blossom.’ ‘Turd blossom’ was used in 1960s Texas high school slang to describe the spreading smell of a fart, or the spreading stain of a loose bowel movement. Neither Rove nor George W. Bush attended high school in Texas, and they may have been unfamiliar with the original use of the word. ‘Fart blossom’ was a common variant.

Google Groups: alt.usage.english
Newsgroups: alt.usage.english
From: Ben Zimmer
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 15:31:40 -0500
Local: Thurs, Jun 28 2001 4:31 pm
Subject: Re: Rove’s nickname?

Turd Blossom.

Time Magazine had no qualms printing it:

An explanation is given in “First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty”, by Bill Minutaglio:

“Everybody must have a nickname, and the spin doctor has a quality nickname, Turd Blossom — as in wherever-he-goes-something-is-sure-to-pop-up.”

Google Books
Boy Genius: Karl Rove, the Brains Behind the Remarkable Political Triumph of George W. Bush
by Carl M. Canoon, Lou Debose and Jan Reid
Public Affairs
Pg. 138:
Somewhere along the line, after they moved to Washington together, Bush began alternating Rove’s “Boy Genius” nickname with another, less flattering moniker: “Turd Blossom.” It seems fitting enough, given Rove’s modest background (a turd blossom is a Texas expression for a flower that grows out of a cowpie), but Rove shrugs in some embarrassment when asked how Bush came up with this.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Monday, August 13, 2007 • Permalink