US & Canada

'Covfefe': Trump invents new word and melts internet

Donald Trump Image copyright EPA
Image caption Donald Trump made a typo on Twitter and the internet had a lot of fun with it

One word was close to breaking the internet on Wednesday morning: "covfefe".

It was an apparent typo in a tweet by US President Donald Trump, and internet users have been mocking him mercilessly.

"Despite the constant negative press covfefe," he tweeted just after midnight, Washington time.

And he then appeared to have gone to bed, without finishing his thought or correcting his mistake.

It took six hours before he acknowledged it with a good-humoured response, and by that time a lot of people had had a lot of fun.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked by journalists at Wednesday's daily briefing what the tweet meant.

Mr Spicer provoked incredulity from the assembled media as he replied: "The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant."

Image copyright Twitter / Donald Trump

Although it seems likely the word Mr Trump was reaching for was "coverage", social media users have been trying to guess other alternatives or motivations.

Others deliberated on the pronunciation, and wondered why no aides had stepped in to alert him to the mistake.

Google Translate recognised the word as Samoan, though could offer no English translation. A BBC reader has written in to debunk any suggestion that the president is a secret Samoan speaker. Among many other reasons for this, the language does not even have a letter C.

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Image copyright Twitter / Fusion
Image caption Cov-FEE-fee has been narrowly winning the online pronunciation poll
Image copyright Twitter/ Donovan Kay

No time was wasted as some users put the word on a T-shirt, which they started to sell on eBay.

Someone also appears to have bought the domain name, covfefe.us.

Image copyright Twitter / Jimmy Kimmel
Image caption US comedian Jimmy Kimmel was among the celebrities to join in
Image copyright Twitter / Jackson Dame
Image caption Some people made parodies related to films, such as this take on Arrival
Image copyright Twitter / Steve Galgas
Image caption And US game show Wheel of Fortune

Getting caught up in an explosion of memes, some social media users said they could not sleep, as everyone on the internet seemed to be trying to outdo each other with the best response.

And then Europe woke up, and it started all over again.

#Covfefe is currently a trending topic on Twitter across the world.

Image copyright Twitter / Peter Speigel
Image caption The news editor of Financial Times got involved in the UK

Meanwhile, Twitter accounts for Covfefe the Strong and the Wizard Covfefe appeared online on Wednesday, claiming to have been summoned by Mr Trump's puzzling word.

Image copyright Twitter

Philadelphia's police department also poked fun at how the term could be used.

Image copyright Twitter

And when President Trump reappeared on Twitter, six hours later, he deleted the mistake, but seemed to be enjoying the spectacle.

He asked followers to keep guessing, while giving nothing away.

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