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Mar 1, 2021
This week’s theme
Words coined after Gulliver’s Travels

This week’s words
lilliput
Laputan
struldbrug
yahoo
Brobdingnag

lilliput
Gulliver in the now-defunct theme park Gulliver’s Kingdom in Japan. Mount Fuji is in the background.
Photo: Mandias

Previous week’s theme
Toponyms
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Things are getting better, but travel is still not recommended. We can travel virtually any time though. This week we take you to some mythical places. Sometimes visiting fictional places can be more profitable than real ones, as Gulliver discovered in his travels.

Jonathan Swift’s satire became so popular that many of the terms from his novel, Gulliver’s Travels, have now become part of the English language. This week we feature five of them.

lilliput

PRONUNCIATION:
(LI-li-puht/poot)

MEANING:
adjective: Tiny.
noun: Someone or something very small.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Lilliput, an island nation in Jonathan Swift’s satirical novel Gulliver’s Travels (1726). Earliest documented use: 1867.

NOTES:
In his travels, Gulliver lands in Lilliput where people are only six inches tall. He may appear to be a giant to them, but it’s all relative. Soon he’d visit a land where he himself appears as a lilliput to them. The word is also used in the form: lilliputian.

USAGE:
“It doesn’t go boom like one big nuclear bomb, it goes like a string of snap-crackers unend, little grenades in a lilliput war.”
Joseph Harry Silber; Bum; Lulu; 2012.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
What is the opposite of two? A lonely me, a lonely you. -Richard Wilbur, poet and translator (1 Mar 1921-2017)

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