Theodore Geisel, under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, wrote 44 children’s books that are as loved by young readers as they are by adults. Delight filled the Dictionary.com office when we learned an unpublished Seuss manuscript has turned up, containing a hitherto unknown “Seussism.”
Some of his playful language creations, or neologisms, have become ubiquitous, such as “biggered,” the word meaning “enlarged” in “The Lorax.” Another classic is “every-which-where,” the word for the direction in which a particular yawn spreads in “Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book.”
Eleventeen is a number in Seuss-world. Beeping, yapping, yipping, and bipping are the noises made by the Whos, the microscopic inhabitants of Who-ville. And what’s the name of the creature on the sofa in “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket”? It’s a bofa, of course!
Seuss’ unfinished manuscript “All Sorts of Sports,” which recently sold at an auction for $34,004, contains a fine addition to the Seuss lexicon: blumf.
“All Sorts of Sports” is about an athlete named Pete who tries a hundred different sports. It’s during one of Pete’s rambles about athletics that we find the new word:
“What am I going to do today. Well, that’s a simple matter. Oh, that’s easy. We could play. There are so many sports games to play. We could swim. I could play baseball … golf … or catch. Or I could play a tennis match. There are so many sports, let’s see. … I could bowl, jump hurdles, or water ski. I could blumf. Or blumf blumf blumf blumf blumf. Or blumf. Or blumf blumf blumf blumf blumf.”
There’s speculation that the word “blumf” was simply a placeholder. But it could have also been a word for a new sport. Perhaps a combination of bowling, umpiring, and football?
Tell us what you think “blumpf” means, as well as your favorite Seussian words!