from Lewis Carroll – Jabberwocky on Rap Genius


“Well then, ‘mimsy’ is ‘flimsy and miserable’ (there’s another portmanteau for you).”

—Humpty-Dumpty, Through the Looking-Glass

In an explanation for his family, Carroll glossed the word as: “MIMSY (whence MIMSERABLE and MISERABLE). Unhappy.”

In The Annotated Alice, Martin Gardner notes:

Mimsy is the first of eight nonsense words in Jabberwocky that are used again in The Hunting of the Snark. It appears in Fit 7, verse 9: ‘And chanted in mimsiest tones.’ In Carroll’s time, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, mimsey (with an e) meant ‘prim, prudish, contemptible.’ Perhaps Carroll had this in mind.”

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