Monday 22 October 2018

Merriam-Webster adds Simpsons word ’embiggens’ to its dictionary, but omits ‘cromulent’

I don’t know why, it’s a perfectly cromulent word.

A stock image of a red dictionary with notes
A stock image of a red dictionary with notes

By Max McLean, Press Association

One of 850 new words added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “embiggen” is the latest Simpsons reference to make it as an official entry.

In 2001, Homer’s expression – “d’oh” – made it into the updated online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, and now it has a partner.

The word was used in an episode titled Lisa The Iconoclast from season seven of the cartoon, aired originally in 1996, but has been used more recently by comic book character Ms Marvel.

And while there are suggestions the word may have been used before The Simpsons first did it, Merriam-Webster cites 1996 as the first known use.

In the Simpsons episode in question, the children are watching a video about Springfield’s founder, Jebediah Springfield, who proclaims: “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.”

Teacher Edna Krabappel then remarks: “Embiggens? I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield.”

To which colleague Miss Hoover replies: “I don’t know why, it’s a perfectly cromulent word.”

Many Twitter users agreed it was a good, nay, cromulent, entry.

But while “cromulent” was used by some to praise the dictionary, others wondered why it had been left out.

They might be pleased to know that “cromulent” does appear in the online version of the Oxford dictionary, defined as “acceptable or adequate”.

Press Association

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