Monday, August 7, 2017

Word of the Week - Galumph

Yesterday, my family and I went hiking at Seneca Rocks. On our way there, we passed a sign that said Watch for West Virginia Wild Life. "I've already seen it," I said. "I saw that groundhog galumphing along."

Later last night, my husband was finishing up the first draft of An Hour Unspent (Shadows Over England, Book 3) and started laughing. I looked over at him from the pages of The Sign of The Four (Sherlock Holmes--I'm finally reading some!) and asked what was funny. "Galumph," he said. "You just had an elephant galumphing in here. That's twice in a day. It needs to be your word of the week."

And so, here we are!

If you consult Merriam-Webster on the meaning of galumph, it reports "to move with a clumsy or heavy tread." Which is certainly how I was using it. But did you know that it originally meant something far different?

Lewis Caroll coined the word in 1872, in "The Jabberwocky." In his version, the word is a combination of gallop and triumph, describing how the vanquisher of the dread Jabberwocky returned home. His contemporary writers apparently quite liked the word and immediately began borrowing it...but in a different way. Etymologists assume that the shift in meaning from "triumphant" to "clumsy or heavy" is simply a reflection of the way the word sounds. Say it a few times. Galumph conjures up an image, doesn't it? And it isn't one of triumph. ;-)

Here's hoping there's minimal galumphing through your day in the new sense, but plenty of it in its original! Have a great week, everyone!


  1. It's interesting how people have changed the meaning of the word over the years. I think the latest definition fits the word itself better, though.

  2. Interesting word for this week! I have seen and heard it, but very often. I wonder why?

  3. I have a feeling that I will be saying "galumph" a lot today. Sometimes words just get stuck in my thoughts. :-)

  4. Hey! You just told us the title of book #3! I liked this information and the set-up for the word of the week! You have a good week also!

    1. LOL. I've mentioned the title of #3 quite a few times on the blog. ;-) No cover yet, but the title is set!