Get Wordy: Brobdingnagian

December 8, 2009·

GET WORDY, y’all. This is a new segment of my blog (hooray for new segments!). Since I was an English major in college and I taught high school English for two years, I love vocabulary. In school, I looked forward to making a gazillion vocab flashcards. Honestly, I LOVE words. So, I’ve decided to call this segment GET WORDY where I feature a word of the day/week/month/year that I am currently using, want to start using, or have made up. Yes, I like to make up words, too. I’m an improviser, making stuff up is what I do.

Today’s Word: Brobdingnagian

THIS is a brobdingnagian cow. For reals.
THIS is a brobdingnagian cow. For reals.

Main Entry: Brob·ding·nag·ian
Pronunciation: \ˌbräb-diŋ-ˈna-gē-ən, -dig-ˈna-\ [brah-b-din-nag-ian] Function: adjective
Etymology: Brobdingnag, imaginary land of giants in Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift
Date: 1728
1 : marked by tremendous size
— Brobdingnagian noun

This is such a fun word. I wish it were easier to say or else I would use it all the time. As you can see in the etymology of the word, it actually came from the mythical land of Brobdingnag – or the land of giants in Gulliver’s Travels. Wikipedia actually sums it up better than I can:

Brobdingnag is a fictional land in Jonathan Swift‘s satirical novel Gulliver’s Travels occupied by giants. Lemuel Gulliver visits the land after the ship on which he is travelling is blown off course and he is separated from a party exploring the unknown land. More plot details can be found under A Voyage to Brobdingnag. The adjective Brobdingnagian has come to describe anything of colossal size.

Say it with me: BRAH-B-DIG-NAG-IAN. Brobdingnagian. Say THAT three times fast. Although it may be a tough word to say, it’s definition is fairly simple. It can be used to describe ANYTHING that is large, enormous, humungous, or of colossal size.

I remember reading Gulliver’s Travels in high school and the word brobdingnag being probably the only thing I enjoyed and/or learned from that book. (I went back and read Swift’s tale when I was older and appreciated the story a lot more, but for some reason was NOT a fan when I was in high school). And there was a span of time in which I tried to use the word brobdingnagian in a sentence a lot and people judged me. Well, that time is no more. I want to bring it back and bring it in to every day vocabulary and writing. WHO’S WITH ME?

I mean, for example, let’s use it in a sentence:

  • One day, I hope to have a brobdingnagian bank account. [AM I RIGHT?!]
  • That brobdingnagian building sure looks poorly constructed.
  • I remember before I lost all that weight, I was brobdingnagian.
  • The size of this Chipotle burrito is brobdingnagian. YUM!

See how versatile of a word it is?

Can YOU come up with a creative sentence to use the word brobdingnagian in? Try me!

Word. Literally.

photo credit: the current affairs