This week the world marked 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl. He has been one of my favourite authors since I was very young, and I would highly recommend his autobiographies if you haven’t yet read them.
This week’s interesting word is one that is famously associated with Dahl. And it has relevance for me because it is my birthday soon and my sister always treats me to an afternoon tea that can only be described as scrumdiddlyumptious.
Scrumdiddlyumptious means ‘delicious’ or ‘extremely tasty’. It can also be used to describe an attractive person.
I had always assumed that scrumdiddlyumptious was coined by Dahl, but it actually originated as US slang in the 1940s. It is a humorous alteration of scrumptious (of which there were many but not all made it into widespread usage). The OED has the first recorded usage as in 1942, but this is the usage most Roald Dahl fans will be familiar with:
“Every human bean is diddly and different. Some is scrumdiddlyumptious and some is uckyslush.”
– Roald Dahl, The BFG, 1982
Roald Dahl was a magnificent human bean, and his books helped to shape who I am today. I will always delight in reading his stories, and I know I am not alone in that.