MEANING: adjective: Absurdly fanciful or impractical.

ETYMOLOGY: After Laputa, a floating island in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726). Earliest documented use: 1866.

NOTES: In the book, a resident of the floating island is called a Laputian; however, in the English language we use the word Laputan. Laputians/Laputans are described as people who are scientists and philosophers, lost in the arts of music, mathematics, technology, and astronomy. Practical matters do not concern them much. “Their houses are very ill built, the walls bevil [sloping], without one right angle in any apartment.”

That said, in that work of fiction, Laputans/Laputians discover two moons of the planet Mars, more than 150 years before the actual discovery by the real-life astronomer Asaph Hall. In Swift’s honor, Mars’s moon Deimos has a crater named Swift and the moon Phobos has geographical features named after places in Gulliver’s Travels: Laputa Regio and Lagado Planitia.

Here’s to Laputans and their “impractical” pursuits!

LA PUTIN - First Lady of Russia

LARUTAN - runner-up in the Name-That-Patent-Medicine contest. "Provides peristaltic stimulation," said the promoters, naturally.

LAPUTA - (Don't ask me. This is a family website.)