Top Ten Tuesday: Weird and Wonderful Words

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

The topic this week is: Favorite Words (This isn’t so much bookish, but I thought it would be fun to share words we love! These could be words that are fun to say, sound funny, mean something great, or make you smile when you read/hear them.)

I’m using Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll as my source of fun words – more than ten. The illustrations are all from my old paperback copy of the book.

I think his poem Jabberwocky in Through the Looking Glass is just perfect for my TTT post this week, full of weird and wonderful words.

illustration by John Tenniel

This was a great favourite of mine as a child and I still love the poem, Jabberwocky which begins:

Twas brillig and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogroves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jujub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch.

I had no idea what the words meant but I loved the sound of them and learned them off by heart. Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice that ‘brillig’ means ‘4 o’clock’, ‘slithy’ means ‘lithe and slimy’ and ‘toves’ are something like badgers  and lizards and corkscrews, to ‘gyre and gimble’ means to go round and round like a gyroscope and make holes like a gimlet and the ‘wabe’ is a grass-plot around a sundial – as shown in this illustration also  by John Tenniel:

In The Hunting of the Snark the Jujub bird is described in much greater depth than in Jabberwocky. It is found in a narrow, dark, depressing and isolated valley. Its voice when heard is described as a scream, shrill and high, like a pencil squeaking on a slate, and significantly it scares those who hear it. Frumious Carroll claimed, means a combination of fuming and furious and a bandersnatch is also described in Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, as a creature with a long neck and snapping jaws, and both works describe it as ferocious and extraordinarily fast. 

ABC Wednesday J is for …

… the Jabberwock

From Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, illustration by John Tenniel.

This was a great favourite of mine as a child and I still love the poem, Jabberwocky which begins:

Twas brillig and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogroves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jujub bird, and shun

The frumious Bandersnatch.

I had no idea what the words meant but I loved the sound of them and learned them off by heart. Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice that ‘brillig’ means ‘4 o’clock’, ‘slithy’ means ‘lithe and slimy’ and ‘toves’ are something like badgers  and lizards and corkscrews, to ‘gyre and gimble’ means to go round and round like a gyroscope and make holes like a gimlet and the ‘wabe’ is a grass-plot around a sundial – as shown in this illustration also  by John Tenniel:

An ABC Wednesday post.