Stoop to no lengths

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Alex Isenstadt, "Trump warns supporters about 'really angry' Democrats", Politico 6/4/2018:

President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon marked 500 days in office by grimly warning supporters that Democrats are motivated to turn out for the midterm elections — and that they’re “really, really angry.”

During a national conference call with grassroots supporters to commemorate the 500-day milestone, Trump implored his backers not to become complacent ahead of the November elections because Democrats were determined to roll back his first-term accomplishments.

“It’s very important that they come out now for the midterms. Historically, they tend not to. They get a little complacent, I guess. Something happens and they tend not to. But it’s going to be very important because they are angry, the other side is really, really angry. And they stoop to no lengths. It’s an incredible thing we’re witnessing,” the president said on the 15-minute call, which was organized by the White House Office of Political Affairs.

MWM sent in the link and asked whether stoop to no lengths "is misnegation, or what?"

My feeling is that it's a kind of multi-idiom blend, combining at least influences from

  • the sense of stoop to that the OED glosses as "To lower or degrade oneself morally; to descend to something unworthy";
  • the phrase go to any lengths, where any lengths mean "the extremes or limits of possible action";
  • the phrase stoop to any depths (suggested in the comments below);
  • the idiom stop at nothing, meaning "to do everything in one's power".

I haven't been able to find an audio recording of the cited conference call. So given my traditional mistrust of journalistic quotations, we'll have to leave open the question of whether the president actually said this. But the phrase is certainly Out There:

[link] WWE will stoop to no lengths to ride the coattails of dead wrestlers.
[link] When people hate they will stoop to no lengths to destroy who and what is good.
[link] I smell a conspiracy that could involve Hogg and other democrats that will stoop to no lengths to push gun control.
[link] Spirits will stoop to no lengths to maintain any dignity, it seems.

Update — There are also plenty of instances of stoop at nothing, stoop to any lengths, stoop at anything, etc.



  1. Ian Preston said,

    June 5, 2018 @ 11:39 am

    "Stoop to any depths" is quite common.

  2. VV said,

    June 5, 2018 @ 12:02 pm

    “There are no depths they will not stoop to” is what I’d take as the “intended” idiom here, or at least how i’d translate the remark into my idiolect.

  3. CuConnacht said,

    June 5, 2018 @ 2:02 pm

    "Stop at nothing" is in there somewhere too.

  4. CuConnacht said,

    June 5, 2018 @ 2:04 pm

    Sorry. Apparently I missed the end of the post and went straight to the comments.

  5. John Lawler said,

    June 5, 2018 @ 2:54 pm

    Everybody knows that Democrats will stoop at nothing.

  6. Gregory Kusnick said,

    June 5, 2018 @ 3:19 pm

    I imagine Zeno had a stoop to no lengths at his front door.

  7. Jerry Friedman said,

    June 5, 2018 @ 7:25 pm

    It would be nice to find a politician who, like time, stoops to no man's lure.

  8. Yerushalmi said,

    June 5, 2018 @ 8:14 pm

    In my idiolect it's "stoop to any low". Interestingly, when I started typing it into Google to check if it exists elsewhere, Google suggested "stoop to any level".

  9. dw said,

    June 5, 2018 @ 11:19 pm

    "Stop at no lengths"


    "Stoop to new lows"


  10. DWalker07 said,

    June 6, 2018 @ 1:48 pm

    You can't really "stoop to any depth" though. I don't think it's possible to stoop lower than the floor.

    I think you can descend to various depths, if there are stairs or similar….

  11. richardelguru said,

    June 7, 2018 @ 5:53 am

    He might have been listening to Slightly Stoopid?

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