Way back in 2001, Homer Simpson’s most popular catchphrase – Doh! – successfully transcended beyond the status of pop culture catchphrase and entered the pantheon of legitimate English word. This momentous occasion was the direct result of the Oxford English Dictionary deciding to include the word in their 2001 edition.
However, doh is just one of many Simpsons neologisms (fake words) that have entered into both American and British mainstream vocabulary. Looking back over the years, one could argue that a number of these fake words also deserve the prestige of sitting alongside “doh” as a proper term in the American lexicon. And if any of those eggheads at Oxford are reading this article, I would like to suggest the following ten words for inclusion in their next dictionary edition.
Photo credit: Cindy Funk, Flickr
Yoink: An exclamation that, when uttered in conjunction with taking an object, immediately transfers ownership from the original owner to the person using the word regardless of previous property rights. (urbandictionary.com)
Yoink is a word that makes stealing even more fun. While this phrase first appeared in a 1960s episode of The Flinstones, The Simpsons did much to bring it into popular use. In the town of Springfield, the phrase is first uttered by Homer in a fourth season episode as he snatches a wad of cash out of Marge’s hands. The word has also been used by Snake while purse-snatching, Mr. Burns while swiping a $1,000 bill from Bart and an anonymous person stealing Lenny’s diamond tooth.
Diddly: a filled pause, a non-word which a speaker uses to take up time or space in a sentence, and which are sometimes used for emphasis (http://www.exampleproblems.com/wiki/index.php/List_of_neologisms_on_The_Simpsons)
If “uh” and “um” have a home in the dictionary, then so too does Ned’s favorite non-word. Whether used to add alliteration, replace a swear word or simply as nonsense, few words are as versatile and effective as diddly. One of my favorite diddly quotes: “Son of a diddly!”
Glayvin: a nonsensical word used to describe any emotion from surprise to joy to sadness (urbandictionary.com)
Great glayvin in a bag, is this a good word. Glayvin is yet another catchphrase that has earned a considerable amount of steam in the real world. Professor Frink’s most popular utterance is a catch-all term that can be used in almost as many scenarios as “diddly.” The term likely originates form Jerry Lewis’ legendary catchphrase “froyndleyven.” Frink’s character traits are clearly inspired by Lewis.
Meh: Indifference; to be used when one simply does not care. (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=meh)
I’d wager a guess and say that “meh” is used in common conversation way more often than “doh.” The word was first muttered in tandem by both Bart and Lisa when Homer asks if they want to go to Blockoland – a Legoland rip-off amusement park. Meh has reached such popularity, that self-described “minor celebrity” John Hodgman has publicly denounced its use. I, on the other hand, find great merit in the word – and apparently so too does the Collins English Dictionary. This British publication added “meh” to their dictionary in 2008 (so stop dragging your heels, America).
Kwyjibo: A big, dumb, balding North American ape with no chin and a short temper.
In an early episode, Bart lays down all his tiles in a game of Scrabble to spell “kwyjibo.” The definition above comes straight from Bart’s mouth (with addendum from Marge), and is a thinly veiled description of Homer. Granted, I suppose the validity of the word suffers a bit from the fact that kwyjibos as a species don’t actually exist, which is why I implore nature biologists everywhere to force “kwyjibo” into popular acceptance by bestowing the name upon the next long-lost ape species we discover.
5 Car Hole
Car Hole: a covered place to park your car; synonym for garage
If you want to refer to your garage without sounding like a snobby Frenchman, then this is the perfect word for you. Moe Szyslak coins this phrase during a game of poker after ridiculing Homer for his fancy-shmancy usage of the word “garage.” The fact that Homer immediately discards his previous nomenclature by using the phrase “car hole” in the very next scene should be testament to the supreme accessibility and usefulness of this perfectly simple and descriptive term.
Frogurt: a portmanteau for “frozen yogurt”
Looking back, I’m surprised that The Simpsons were the first to use this term, as it seems like such a natural way to shorten “frozen yogurt” – a term I think we all can agree is way too long and clunky. The delicious word made its debut in a Treehouse of Horror episode in which Homer visits an evil gift shop. Apparently the Frogurt is cursed (that’s bad), but it also comes with a free topping (that’s good).
Craptacular: of exceptionally poor quality; spectacularly crappy
Along with frogurt, craptacular is one of the more accessible portmanteaus crafted by the writers of the Simpsons. Bart uses the word to describe Homer’s Christmas lights display during a Christmas episode. Certainly, there are plenty of instances in the real world where the term “crappy” just isn’t strong enough to effectively portray the sheer terribleness of a particular person, place or thing. For those instances, craptacular is here to help.
Unpossible: not possible; synonym of impossible
“Me fail English? That’s unpossible!” When Ralph Wiggum blurted out this silly little phrase in the sixth season of the Simpsons, it instantly became one of the most quoted lines of the series. Taken out of context, the term is generally meant ironically, which some may argue gives it less credibility. However, if you think the word is one that would only be used genuinely by uneducated morons, let me just point out that “unpossible” has been used by none other than William Shakespeare. The word appears in his play, Richard II.
Embiggen: To make bigger or grow in size; a perfectly cromulent word
This graceful word can be attributed to town founder Jebediah Springfield. As the town motto goes, “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.” The word is used repeatedly throughout the 7th season episode in which all of Springfield comes down with a major case of Jebeditis (another excellent candidate for this list) during the town’s bicentennial celebration. Adding credibility to the word is the fact that it has appeared in numerous scientific publications since the episode aired.
Simpsons fans can’t think of “embiggen” without thinking of the other fake word used to describe it: cromulent. Clearly, this word should be included on this list as well – if it weren’t for the fact that the Webster’s American dictionary added it to their “New Millenium” edition a few years ago. The official definition: fine, acceptable.
The above words are probably the most credible options for inclusion in the American dictionary. Some bonus words that almost made the cut are listed below. See if you remember them.
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