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OED Adds Six ‘Dahlesque’ Words for Centenary

By September 13, 2016Authors, Culture, Language, News

The whole world has gone crazy for the biggest Roald Dahl Day ever, as we celebrate one hundred years since the author’s birth. Dahl was a steam train of imagination, so much so in fact that there’s an entire dictionary of Dahl’s words and phrases, and now to celebrate the centenary of the author’s birth, the Oxford English Dictionary is adding six new words to the mainstream language too.

The dictionary already contains a few words coined by Dahl, including splendiferous, but now six more words will join them, and here they are.


An apt addition, and I’m only surprised it isn’t already a word! Dahlesque implies that something has the characteristics of Dahl’s work, typical characterised by eccentric plots, villainous adult characters, and gruesome black humour.

Golden Ticket

Dahl certainly wasn’t the first person to put these two words together, but he did make it famous in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. A Golden Ticket is one that grants the holder an exclusive prize, experience or opportunity.

Human Bean

Credit where credit is due, Human Bean was first used in British satirical magazine, Punch in 1842, but it’s the repetition of it by the BFG that made it famous, and it’s now in the OED too!

Oompa Loompa

The Oompa Loompas are Willy Wonka’s workers in his chocolate factory, represented as orange, dungaree wearing characters in the 1971 movie. Thanks to fake tan, this word has certainly entered usage in recent years, and the OED has that as one of the definitions.


Originally coined in the American Thesaurus of Slang in 1942, Dahl made this famous following the release of the BFG and it describes something that is so delicious, it’s scrumdiddlyumptious.

Witching Hour

Yes, we can hear you all shouting ‘It was Shakespeare’s Hamlet!’ but Shakespeare used ‘witching time’ in the original text. However Dahl used witching hour to describe that special moment of night when every child and every grown up is asleep, and all the dark things came out to enjoy the world to themselves.

We can think of no better way of commemorating the author’s contribution to the language, his creativity and imagination knew no bounds, and we’re fairly sure people will still be celebrating his work, one hundred years from n

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