From a Euronews article by Saul Anuzis:

"But in the last two years, things have changed. Azerbaijan won back the majority of Nagorno-Karabakh in a conflict in 2020. Today, only a rump remains under Armenian control."


The author's choice of "rump" in reference to an ethnical region with an ongoing deadly conflict that goes back centuries and has caused tremendous suffering to both sides doesn't seem right to me and sounds somewhat derogatory in a very subtle way. I'm not a native speaker but my knowledge of English is telling me something could be wrong with the term in this context. I'm not absolutely sure though. I've looked it up in online dictionaries and there is a use of the word in the sense of "what is left of a former organization, country", still wanted to check the specific context and how others perceive it. Someone cites an example of media referring to the unoccupied part of Czechoslovakia in the aftermath of Hitler's 1938 invasion as a "rump state". rump rebel organizations - "rump" used as an adjective

1 Answer 1


'Rump' is a perfectly normal term when used, in a political or historical context, to discuss what is left of something (e.g. a country or institution) when most of it has been taken away by some event such as a war. There is not really a derogatory implication, although the term comes from the rump (hindmost part) of an animal raised for meat. There is, however, possibly a sad implication: the formerly larger country, territory, Parliament, company etc, is now smaller and less important.

The Rump Parliament of England of 1648 was the English parliament after Oliver Cromwell had purged it of members hostile to the intention to try King Charles I for high treason.

What would remain of the United Kingdom if Scotland left has been called 'Rump UK'.

In 1938, Nazi Germany annexed the Sudetenland (part of Czechoslovakia). The remaining part still under Czechoslovak control has been called 'Rump Czechoslovakia'. This part was taken by Germany in 1939.

  • Thanks Michael for your reply! I'll just wait for maybe some more feedback and mark it as answered in a day or two. Appreciated.
    – Arman
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 16:10
  • @Arman - 'rump' is 'diminishing' (as your title asks), in a trivial sense, since the rump of something is that thing, diminished, but a suggestion of shame, misfortune, defeat, etc, is not automatic. That's the short version of my answer. Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 17:37
  • Thanks @Michael, it makes good sense. Let me just ask you this - do you think it was a good choice by the author in this specific context and it doesn't leave any possible ambiguity? I don't want to keep insisting that it is diminishing and I trust native speakers' better perception, what I'm thinking about is the topic he's commenting on is not simply a historic one, and it's not about some state formation but an active, ongoing, bloody ethnic conflict involving impoverished nations. And his article seemed to me critical of the Armenian side alone. Maybe that has impacted my perception too.
    – Arman
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 9:56
  • @Arman - I repeat, the term 'rump' as used in the article is essentially a neutral term, and is a one-word synonym for the phrase 'the remaining part'. Even if (as you seem to think), the article favours the Azerbaijan side in the Armenia - Azerbaijan conflict, the term 'rump' is not 'critical' of the Armenian side. It is a normal term for the situation. I should add that this site (ELU Stack Exchange) takes a dim view of questions which veer towards political rants, and you should take great care to avoid seeming to promulgate one. Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 10:13
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    Michael, as you have noticed I have marked your reply (actually before getting to read your last comment) as an answer so I'm clearly not trying to 'influence' the conversation. I also made it clear in my last comment that it might be my reading of the article behind my negative perception of the term. There's no attempt to turn this into a political rant. I'll even remove the last paragraph from the question as it's somewhat irrelevant to it. It should be obvious that a single short exchange is not always going to be enough to address language use issues. Thanks for your help.
    – Arman
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 10:23

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