Definitions for a ‘Fictionary’

Something culled from my half-century-old file of random clippings and copies, which are now being digitized. I was amazed, in passing, at how many of these actually had found their way to the Internet over time. This one came up with no hits, and hence deserved to be scanned in and shared.

“Daffynitions” like this have been around for a long time, so it’s difficult to know if these are original creations of Mr. Brandreth, or things he remembered, or a combination of both. Whatever the case, it’s a good collection.


Alphabet Soup

Definitions for a ‘Fictionary’

By Gyles Brandreth

Who was it who first defined the word elliptical as “a kiss” (a lip tickle)? I don’t know, but he was some kind of genius. It has to be the greatest daffynition of all time.

Daffynitions are dictionary definitions run haywire and are specially designed to add hidden dimensions to the words they describe.

G. & C. Merriam Co., the nation’s Largest publisher· of dictionaries, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and William A. Lleywellyn, its president, says Merriam will mark its sesquicentennial by “continuing to do what we have always done: develop the most useful English-language dictionaries we know how.”

If Mr. Llewellyn wants to do something really useful to mark his company’s 150th birthday. he’ll take my advice and produce the wry first Merriam-Webster Fictionary it’s a dictionary with a difference: the words are all real. but the definitions are somewhat unex­pected.

To give you (and Mr. Llewellyn) a flavor of what I’ve got in mind here are the daffynitions that I feel definitely deserve a place in the world’s first fictionary:

acorn: an oak in a nutshell
afford: a car some people drive
announce: one-sixteenth of a pound
appear: something you fish off
area code: a sinus condition
arrest: what to take when you’re tired
ashtray: a place where people put ashes when the room doesn’t have a rug
autograph: a chart showing the sales of cars
ax: chopstick
bacteria: the rear of a cafeteria
barber shop: a clip joint
bathing beauty: a girl worth wading for
bee: a hum-bug
beet: a potato with high blood pressure
buccaneer: too much to pay for corn
Camelot: a parking lot for camels
cannibal: one who is fed up with people
chair: headquarters for hindquarters
chicken farm: a large egg plant
conceit: I-strain
crowbar: a bird’s drinking place
denial: where Cleopatra lived
dentist: someone who looks down in the mouth
egomania: a passion for omelets
eraser: what the artist’s wife said when he drew a beautiful girl
extinct: dead skunk
flood: a river that’s too big for its bridges
foul ball: a dance for chickens
gallows: where no noose is good noose
goblet: a small turkey
gossip: letting the chat out of the bag
hogwash: pig’s laundry
home run: a thing you do in a ball game when the ball goes through a window
ice: skid stuff
igloo: an icicle built for two
illegal: a sick bird
incongruous: where the laws are made
information: how air force planes fly
kidney: knee of a baby goat
kindred: a fear of relatives coming
knob: a thing to adore
leopard: a dotted lion
mummy: an Egyptian pressed for time
nail: a long, round object with a flat head which you aim at before you hit your thumb
nursery: a bawl park
operetta: a girl who works for the phone company
ottoman: a car mechanic
out of bounds: a tired kangaroo
paradox: two doctors
paratrooper: an army dropout
parole: a cell-out
pickle: a cucumber in a sour mood
pigeon-toed: half-pigeon, half toad
pink elephant: a beast of bourbon
pretzel: a double-jointed doughnut
printer: a man of letters
propaganda: a socially correct goose
quadruplets: four crying out loud
racetrack: the only place where windows dean people
raisin: a worried grape
rebate: to put another worm on the hook
ringleader: first one in the bathtub
shotgun: a worn-out gun
sleeping bag: a nap sack
snoring: sheet music
southpaw: a daddy from Dixie
tears: glum drops
unabridged: a river you have to swim to cross
undercover agent: spy in bed
vitamin: what you do when someone comes to the house
walkie-talkie: a grounded parrot
washable: to bathe a bull
water cooler: thirst-aid kit
X-ray: belly vision
yellow: what you do when you stub your toe
zoo keeper: a critter-sitter


I add a few others that I happen to remember from somewhere:

rhubarb: bloodshot celery
volcano: a mountain getting its rocks off
booze: Sounds of disapproval.
pun: A weapon of mass distraction.
crustacean: a bakery

The Old Wolf has spoken

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