Humpty Dumpty

[huhmp-tee duhmp-tee]
noun
  1. an egg-shaped character in a Mother Goose nursery rhyme that fell off a wall and could not be put together again.
  2. (sometimes lowercase) something that has been damaged severely and usually irreparably.

Origin of Humpty Dumpty

rhyming compound based on humpty; see hump, -ed3, -y2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for humpty-dumpty

humpty dumpty

noun mainly British
  1. a short fat person
  2. a person or thing that once overthrown or broken cannot be restored or mended

Word Origin for humpty dumpty

C18: after the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for humpty-dumpty

Humpty-dumpty

from French nursery rhyme hero (the rhyme first attested in English 1810), earlier "a short, clumsy person of either sex" (1785), probably a reduplication of Humpty, a pet form of Humphrey. Originally, humpty-dumpty was a drink (1690s), "ale boiled with brandy," probably from hump and dump, but the connection is obscure and there might not be one.

'It's very provoking,' Humpty Dumpty said, ... 'to be called an egg -- very!' ["Through the Looking-Glass," 1872]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

humpty-dumpty in Culture

“Humpty Dumpty”

A nursery rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.