So much 'gobblefunk'
Credit: Paramount Pictures

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.

1. Babblement/noun

A conversation

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


2. Crabcruncher/noun

A cliff-dwelling creature

Example: “We will spear the blabbersnitch and trap the crabcruncher and shot the gobblesquat.” –The Witches

3. Frumpet/noun

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

4. Whangdoodle/noun

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


5. Knickle/verb

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

6. Grimesludge/noun

Thick mud

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

7. Mushious/adjective

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

8. Churgle/verb

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

9. Sogmire/noun

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

10. Slugburger/noun

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

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Movie
  • 116 minutes