I have harvested a lovable new word

…from Jonathan Swift.

I’d never read Gulliver’s Travels until recently, when I was sent a nice old copy (1940, and let me brag I translated the date from Roman numerals, so maybe it’s 1840, but I don’t think so).

I’m reading it slowly, primarily because I’m not finding it as engaging as I imagined I would. Until I got to Chapter V: The Capture of the Fleet, in which Gulliver, working on behalf of his teeny captors in Lilliput, offers to wade out into the sea to engage with an enemy armada.

Before thus wading, though, he wisely consults experienced Lilliputian seamen “upon the depths of the channel, which they had often plumbed…” Good idea; you don’t want to wade into a body of water without some idea of whether you might drown before you reach the enemy armada.

Which is when Gulliver learns how deep the channel is at high tide, which is when I grabbed at the Lilliputian word for depth measurement: “glumgluffs.”

Seventy glumgluffs are about six feet. Ergo, one glumgluff is slightly under 10 inches.

That’s the word. GLUMGLUFF. Adorable, no?

Maybe one glumgluff will prove as inspiring of riotous laughter as did and does Floaty McFloatface.


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