MAGA is not a word in itself, nor is it slang. It is an acronym that comes from Donald Trump.
It came about during his campaign for the presidency of the United States in 2015-2016. He focused his campaign on wanting to return the United States to a time when it was “great”. What exactly he meant by this is unclear.
However, in part, the concept was to generate nostalgia for a time in American history that was “great” – or at least great for a very specific group of people.
The slogan of his campaign eventually became an acronym partly because of the 140 character limit of Twitter (now 280 characters), which was Donald Trump’s method of choice for communication.
MAGA stands for Make America Great Again
If you use this acronym, it typically implies that you either support Donald Trump’s beliefs and policies. If not, it at least shows that you are not bothered with them. It is not used in spoken conversation, but rather is mostly an online acronym.
#MAGA is commonly used when discussing something that could ostensibly improve the American economy, by both Donald Trump and his supporters alike. For example, these are some of his tweets:
- Heading back from a very exciting two days in Davos, Switzerland. Speech on America’s economic revival was well received. Many of the people I met will be investing in the U.S.A.! #MAGA
- AMERICA will once again be a NATION that thinks big, dreams bigger, and always reaches for the stars. YOU are the ones who will shape America’s destiny. YOU are the ones who will restore our prosperity. And YOU are the ones who are MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! #MAGA
Note that each time he uses the hashtag, he is referring to something that he hopes will improve the United States.
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Notes on Usage
Do take note that MAGA is very synonymous (having the same or very nearly the same meaning) with the Trump administration. Because of this, it is often used by comedians, critics, and other opponents of the administration as well.
In these cases, what they say would be closer to satire. They likely are not expressing true support for the message, but are using it as a symbol of the Trump administration.
In addition, because it is a made up word with no fixed meaning, it is sometimes appropriated for comedic or political purposes.
You could easily find something that says something different. For example, Stephen Colbert, a well known evening show host and critic of Trump, titled one of his YouTube videos:
- Hey POTUS: Cutting DACA Won’t MAGA
(DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an act that protects children who move to the United States undocumented as children, and grow up in the country without citizenship.)