Splendiferous News for Roald Dahl Fans

The OED is honoring the Dahl centenary by adding his words to the dictionary.

For many readers, Roald Dahl is affectionately remembered as the first author to dazzle their imaginations with books like Matilda, The Twits, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl’s ingenuity for storytelling also took on a decidedly darker tone in his adult short story collections, which have been dropping jaws for generations. He just had a way of putting things that was… well, Dalhesque.

If Dahl couldn’t find the perfect word to describe something while writing, he’d make it up. On what would have been his 100th birthday, the Oxford English Dictionary chose to commemorate one of literature’s most iconic storytellers by adding six new terms to their lexicon.

Here are Dahl’s Dictionary Additions:

Dahlesque, adj.– “Resembling or characteristic of the works of Roald Dahl.” According to the OED, the standout features of Dahl’s work are “eccentric plots, villainous or loathsome adult characters, and gruesome or black humour.”

Golden Ticket, n.– A reference to the golden tickets found in the chocolate bars in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is now officially canonized in the dictionary.

Human Bean, n.– “We is having an interesting babblement about the taste of the human bean. The human bean is not a vegetable.” From Dahl’s BFG.

Oompa Loompa, n.– Who doesn’t remember the “tiny” workers with “funny long hair” who worked in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory?

Scrumdiddlyumptious, adj.– From perhaps one of the most memorable lines of The BFG: “Every human bean is diddly and different. Some is scrumdiddlyumptious and some is uckyslush.” The term is reserved for only the most delicious humans.

Witching Hour, n.– Another one from The BFG: “a special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world to themselves.” However, this term is first credited for appearing in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Since the OED is constantly evolving alongside popular culture, they also introduced several other new terms this month, which include: biatch, cussing, moobs (yes, man boobs), and Yoda. With millions of words already inhabiting the English language, it’s nice to be reminded that there’s always room for more, no matter how silly they may sound. Thanks for teaching us about limitless possibilities, Roald Dahl. Happy belated.


About the Author

More Like This

My Step-Sister Is a Wolf Named Helen

"Formerly Feral" by Julia Armfield from the new collection 'salt slow' recommended by Lara Williams

Oct 16 - Julia Armfield

Why I Had to Rewrite the Ending of My Middle-Grade Book After Charlottesville

The rise of Trumpism made me realize that my characters needed to stop compromising

Oct 14 - Laurel Snyder

7 Literary Icons Who Moonlighted as Children’s Authors

Even the most serious authors can't resist the challenge of writing for the most discerning audience: little kids

Oct 11 - Tess Patalano