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The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary | © OUP Oxford
The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary | © OUP Oxford
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Welcome To The Gobblefunk Language Of Roald Dahl

Picture of Ellie Griffiths
Updated: 3 June 2016
Marking what would have been the 100th birthday of the world’s number one storyteller, Roald Dahl, the Oxford University Press is set to publish the Roald Dahl Dictionary. This dictionary will feature almost 8,000 words – from aardvark to zozimus – some real and some invented, all of which will have adults and children alike excited to learn more about this lickswishy language.

Roald Dahl is the sole creator of some of the most wondercrump words in the English language. Explaining all 391 words from his Gobblefunk language (the language spoken by the BFG), the world-leading language experts Oxford University Press, have spent the past five years creating a dictionary unlike any other to mark the centenary of the birth of Dahl. Whether you need to read the words upside down or backwards – like Esio Trot actually spells ‘tortoise’ backwards – there are plenty of new words to discover and learn. After all, when else are you ever going to find a book with the words snozzberry, snozzcumber and snozzwanger all on one page!

The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary
The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary | © OUP Oxford

All words throughout this dictionary have been researched, analysed and explained by the acclaimed lexicographer Dr Susan Rennie, and are accompanied by illustrations by the one and only Sir Quentin Blake. Furthermore, this book also shines a spotlight on the middle and upper class language learnt by Dahl in the 1940s, with words such as ruddy, breeches and lavatory that today can be considered as rather odd terms.

Managing Director of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, and Roald Dahl’s grandson, Luke Kelly stated:

‘Roald Dahl’s inventive, playful use of language is a key element to his writing, so it is wonderful to have this dictionary compiled with such expertise, passion, and wit. There could be no more fitting way to pay tribute to Roald Dahl in the year of celebrations for his centenary. I hope it serves as a swashboggling source of inspiration for a whole new generation of storytellers.’

Frobscottle, Roald Dahl Dictionary
Frobscottle, Roald Dahl Dictionary | Courtesy of Oxford University Press

In honour of the Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary release, Culture Trip London take a look at some of the greatest words from the Gobblefunk language.

Babblement – When you are having a friendly conversation or chat with someone.

Bellypopper – What the BFG calls a helicopter.

Biffsquiggled – If you feel biffsquiggled, this simply means that you are confused or puzzled.

Frumptious – If something is marvellous or wonderful.

Lickswishy – Next time you eat something delicious, tell the cook it has a lickswishy taste / flavour.

Rommytot – Talking nonsense.

Trogglehumper – Like a nightmare or a terrible dream.

Whoopsy whiffling – When something is whoopsy whiffling, it’s great.

Whizzpopper, Roald Dahl Dictionary
Whizzpopper, Roald Dahl Dictionary | Courtesy of Oxford University Press

The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary will be published on 2 June 2016.