Last year I posted a blog about the funniest words in the English language—you remember: absquatulate, callipygian, gazump, gongoozle, snollygoster, and a few more. I’m going to start the New Year with another list, which I suppose you’d have to call the second funniest words in English, since they didn’t make the first cut.
I like abibliophobia, which comes from the Greek words for “without,” “books,” and “fear.” And it means just what you might think: a dread of running out of reading material. Frankly, I think anyone who suffers from that is engaging in batrachomyomachy, which is Greek again and means a battle between frogs and mice, in reference to an ancient Greek parody of The Iliad. If you used the word today (which is highly unlikely) it would probably mean something like making a molehill out of a mountain. And speaking of frogs, if you’re ranivorous, you like to eat them.
Crapulence does not stem from the rude word you might think it does—but it might be related nonetheless. It stems from the Latin crapulus (“intoxicated”) and it means discomfort caused by too much drinking or eating. That’s an ailment unlikely to beset a gaberlunzie, which is a wandering beggar, as if you didn’t already know, and, like so many weird words, is Scottish. Another word that isn’t what it sounds like is turdiform, which means having the shape of a lark—not a word you can find many uses for in this larkadaiscal age.
To round out our funnies for today, there’s gobemouche a French word (literally a “fly-swallower’) for a highly gullible person; slangwhanger, a user of abusive slang words; and wabbit, which besides being Elmer Fudd’s word for that wascally Bugs, also means exhausted, and, naturally, originated with those widiculous Scots.
The Bard of Buffalo Bayou has reached out for some funny words—and when he reaches, it’s really a stretch, as you can see.
A snollygoster with a snickersnee
Was lollygagging and gongoozling.
A cockalorum with a bumbershoot
Thought the snool was just bamboozling.
The panjandrum whacked him on the sinciput,
Which gave him eructating collywobbles,
And made the jackanapes remugient,
Prolonging all their sudorific squabbles.