The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary offers readers the chance to peruse all of Roald Dahl‘s incredible language both English and self-made from his canon of children’s books. This quirky, brightly illustrated children’s reference book defines not just English terms but hundreds of “gobblefunk” ones as well – the wacky tongue twisters Dahl made up and strewed throughout his books.
Here are 10 of EW’s favorite original Roald Dahl words from the Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary.
Example: “You is trying to change the subject,” the Giant said sternly. “We is having an interesting babblement about the taste of a human bean.” – The BFG
A cliff-dwelling creature
Example: “We will spear the blabbersnitch and trap the crabcruncher and shot the gobblesquat.” –The Witches
If you call someone a trumpet (not that you would), you mean that they are old and unattractive
Example: Mrs. Twit…suddenly called out at the top of her voice, ‘Here I come, you grizzly, old grunion! You rotten old turnip! You filthy old frumpet!” – The Twits
The whangdoodle is a terrifying creature that lives in Loompaland and preys on Oompa-Loompas. Whangdoodles have enormous appetites and can eat more than ten Oompa-Loompas in a single meal. Some whangdoodles, such as the rare spotted whangdoodle, have patterned hides.
Example: “And go what a terrible country it is! Nothing but thick jungles infested by the most dangerous beasts in the world – hornswogglers and snozzwangers and those terrible wicked whangdoodles.” – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
If a Gnooly knuckles you, it does unspeakably nasty things to you (and you probably won’t survive).
Example: “I don’t want to be a Minus!’ croaked Grandma Georgina. ‘If I ever have to go back to that beastly Minusland again, the Gnoolies will knuckle me!” – Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Example: “By googles,” he said, taking the jar out of the suitcase, “your head is not quite so full of grimesludge after all.” – The BFG
Mushy in texture but quite tasty
Example: It’s luscious, it’s super/it’s mushious, it’s duper/It’s better than rotten old fish..” – The Enormous Crocodile
When you churl, you gurgle with laughter.
Example: The fact that is was none other than Boggis’s chickens they were going to eat made them churgle with laughter every time they thought of it. – Fantastic Mr. Fox
An area of boggy (and very soggy) ground
Example: “in the quality quaggy sogmire,/In the mashy mideous harshland,/At the witchy hour of gloominess,/All the grobes come oozing home.” – Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
A burger made with slugs
Example: “I can mince it all up very fine and you won’t know the difference. Lovely slugburgers. Delicious.” – The Magic Finger