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Sunday Word: Jabberwocky

Jab·ber·wock·y (ˈdʒæbəˌwɒkɪ):
origin: coined by Lewis Carroll in "Jabberwocky", a poem in Through the Looking Glass (1871)

noun
1. a playful imitation of language consisting of invented, meaningless words; nonsense; gibberish.
2. an example of writing or speech consisting of or containing meaningless words.
adjective
3. consisting of or comparable to Jabberwocky; meaningless; senseless.

However, I feel it is worthy to mention Mr. Carroll's own definition, or understanding, of the word. Found in response to The Girls' Latin School of Boston, who asked permission to name their school newspaper, "The Jabberwocky" (1888).


Mr. Lewis Carroll has much pleasure in giving the editors of the proposed magazine permission to use the title they wish for.

He finds that the Anglo-Saxon word "wocer" or "wocor" signifies dinary acceptation of "excited and voluble discussion," this would give the meaning of "the result of much excited discussion."

Wether this phrase will have any application to the projected periodical, it will be tfor the future historain of American literature to determine. Mr. Carroll wishes all success to the forthcoming magazine.

source: The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (2000)



Now, that's not nonsense!


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Tags: adjective, anglo-saxon, english, j, latin, made-up, noun, theme: poems, wordsmith: theidolhands
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