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A scrumdiddlyumptious salute: 6 Roald Dahl words added to Oxford English Dictionary


In a Dec. 10,1968 file photo, writer Roald Dahl and his wife actress Patricia Neal arrive for the premiere of "The Subject Was Roses," in New York. To mark the September 2016 centennial of Dahl's birth, tributes will range from a "Traveling Trivia Tour" to a re-release of the 1971 film "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," starring Gene Wilder. (AP File Photo)

Happy 100th birthday, Roald Dahl. And may it be a scrumdiddlyumptious one.

Yes, we said scrumdiddlyumptious, which is officially an English word now, because the Oxford English Dictionary says so. And no human bean in his right mind would dare argue with the self-proclaimed “definitive record of the English language.”

And yes, we also wrote "human bean" because that, too, is a word now, according to the OED, which also added Dahlesque, golden ticket, witching hour and Oompa Loompa to its latest edition on Sept. 12. 

The dictionary also revised its definitions for some Dahl terms it already included: frightsome, gremlin, scrumptious and splendiferous.

These words and thousands of others were brought to millions of impressionable minds by Dahl, who was known for coining words and bending others in books that included "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "James and the Giant Peach," "Matilda," and "The BFG." 

The beloved children’s author died in 1990 at the age of 74 and would have turned 100 on Sept. 13.

“The inclusion in OED of a number of words coined by or associated with Roald Dahl reflects both his influence as an author and his vivid and distinctive style,” Michael Proffitt, chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, told The Independent.

“For many children Roald Dahl’s work is not only one of their first experiences of reading, but also their earliest exposure to the creative power of language,” Proffitt said.

Dahl “invented words based on old words, rhymes, malapropisms, and spoonerisms (swapping the first letters of words around, such as “catasterous disastrophe” from "The BFG.” language reporter Marta Cooper wrote in Quartz.

Here are the words that have been added to the dictionary, along with Cooper’s definitions:

Dahlesque - The characteristics of Dahl’s work— in the OED’s words, “eccentric plots, villainous or loathsome adult characters, and gruesome or black humour.”

Golden ticket -A ticket hidden in chocolate bars that granted access to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Human bean - A mispronunciation of “human being,” uttered by the giant in "The BFG."

Oompa Loompa - The factory workers who played music and danced in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Scrumdiddlyumptious -Extremely scrumptious; excellent, splendid, delicious.

Witching hour - In Dahl’s words in "The BFG;" “A special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world to themselves.”

Last May, the Oxford University Press published a Roald Dahl Dictionary that contained 8,000 words Dahl invented or made popular. That's a splendiferous legacy, for sure.

But the folks at Oxford aren’t the only Dahl fans out there. After actor Gene Wilder’s death in August, many people began paying their respects to the original Willy Wonka in creative—and tasty-looking ways.

An Australian burger bar dreamed up a whimsical creation dubbed ““Beauregard Burger,” after the character that swells up like blueberry in the movie. The sandwich featured a rainbow milk bun filled with a beef patty, “popping” cheese (cheddar cheese topped with real popping candy) tomato soup jelly, blueberry onion jam, fried potatoes and something the chain dubbed Wonka sauce.