N is for Neologism


I’ve pointed to Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” before. As it turns out, it’s a prime example of our next term:

Neologism (also Nonce word)

“A newly coined word.”

Source: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/resources/learning/glossary

The jabberwock is, itself, a neologism, and the poem is filled with even more examples like “gimble” and “bandersnatch.”

Wikipedia has collected some possible definitions for the nonsense words that pepper the poem. For example, “mimsy” might be meant as a combination of “flimsy” and “miserable.”

Alice is confused, herself, but tries not to let on.

” ‘It seems very pretty,’ she said when she had finished it, ‘but it’s rather hard to understand!’ (You see, she didn’t like to confess, even to herself, that she couldn’t make it out at all)”

Brought to life in this 1870 John Tenniel sketch, I can’t imagine what’s not to get about this lovable little jabberwock. 😉



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