Wednesday Word of the Day: Embiggen
I wonder how many readers are wondering if I've lost my mind after seeing the headline of this Wednesday Word post ...
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man. Or in this case woman. Not that you are literally small in stature or spirit. Okay, I'll shut up now.
Beyond the fun way he wrote it, he used a word I'd never seen before anywhere, so of course I looked it up.
To my great surprise, I found out that it's real. It's in Merriam-Webster and other dictionaries, but it's considered to be informal and humorous speech:
Embiggen: to make bigger or more expansive
The word has an interesting history and was thought to have been created, along with two others, by the writers of The Simpsons TV show for a specific show featuring actor Donald Sutherland in 1996. Later it was learned that the word had been used in 1884 and subsequently in several scientific journals.
I don't know what the odds are of thinking you're creating a new word for a cartoon TV show series, only to find out it was real all along ... but somehow Mark Blocker stumbled across it and used it.
So thanks, Mark, for showing us a word 99.9% of us have never heard of before, using it correctly, and making me, at least, laugh over the whole affair.
Be warned, dear readers: Some day I may enjoy one of your comments enough to showcase it and you in a later post.
Are there other words you wonder about? Have you ever created one yourself? Share with us, please!
As an editor / copy editor, I read what others write, I correct typos concerning punctuation and word usage (American style), and I help authors of most anything look and sound as smart as they are.
Check out my full profile for more, and thanks for reading!