trimmer. The term acquired popularity from the publication in 1688 of Halifax's pamphlet The Character of a Trimmer, which appealed for moderation in politics, condemning ‘madmen in two extremes [who] agree to make common sense treason’. Why, asked Halifax, do we play the fool by throwing the names Whig and Tory at each other, as boys do snowballs? Since moderation is rarely admired, the term soon acquired a pejorative meaning of waverer or time-server.
J. A. Cannon
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