MEANING: adjective:
1. Unequivocal, especially in refusing to run for an office.
2. Brutally thorough, especially in defeating someone.

ETYMOLOGY: After William Tecumseh Sherman, Union general in the American Civil War. Earliest documented use: 1918.

NOTES: The Union general William Tecumseh Sherman didn’t mince words. When he was being considered as a presidential candidate, he said, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.” Since then, a categorical statement, especially a denial, is called Shermanesque. Reporters ask politicians if their announcement not to run for an office is Shermanesque to confirm whether they really mean it.

Sherman also didn’t beat around the bush when it came to military campaigns. His soldiers destroyed infrastructure, farms, etc. in their wake. So the term Shermanesque is also used to refer to a scorched-earth approach.


SHORMANESQUE - like a sailor on leave

SHERPANESQUE - like a Himalayan mountain-climbing guide

SHEMANESQUE - in-your-face transgender