gyres and gimbles in the wabe = ?

Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2009 07:01 pm
The words gimble and wabe cannot be found in my dictionaries.

How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect

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Published: October 5, 2009

In addition to assorted bad breaks and pleasant surprises, opportunities and insults, life serves up the occasional pink unicorn. The three-dollar bill; the nun with a beard; the sentence, to borrow from the Lewis Carroll poem, that gyres and gimbles in the wabe.

An experience, in short, that violates all logic and expectation. The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote that such anomalies produced a profound “sensation of the absurd,” and he wasn’t the only one who took them seriously. Freud, in an essay called “The Uncanny,” traced the sensation to a fear of death, of castration or of “something that ought to have remained hidden but has come to light.”
Merry Andrew
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2009 08:25 pm
The words gimble and wabe cannot be found in my dictionaries.

That's because they don't exist. These are nonsense words made up by the late 19th Century writer Lewis Carroll who wrote the children's classics Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Those words are from a nonsense poem called "jabberwocky." The opening lines are:

'Twas brillig and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimple iin the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogroves
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Pure nonsense sounds.
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2009 08:41 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Yet Lewis defined them himself, and their definitions can be found in The Annotated Alice:

Wabe (Noun)(Pronounced - wayb)
The area of grass around a Sundial

Gimble " To make holes as does a gimlet.[5]

Here is a link to wikipedia's explication of the other made-up words in Jabberwocky:

Merry Andrew
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2009 09:12 pm
Thankee, Deb. That's all news to me.
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2009 09:36 pm
@Merry Andrew,
My mind is cluttered with useless information!
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2009 09:48 pm
dlowan wrote:

My mind is cluttered with useless information!

that may be my new sig line
Miss L Toad
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2009 10:47 pm
Freud ... traced the sensation to a fear of ... castration or of “something that ought to have remained hidden but has come to light.”

Thusly Freud succincts his gyre and gimbles in the wabe.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2009 08:02 am
You've once again proven that nonsense could sharpen the intellectual! Smile
0 Replies
Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2009 08:31 am
Further, some of the nonsense words from the poem have become real words. That is, Lewis Carroll invented them, but they are now in dictionaries. The two I'm sure of are "galumphing" and "chortled."

galumph [gəˈlʌmpf -ˈlʌmf]
(intr) Informal to leap or move about clumsily or joyfully
[C19 (coined by Lewis Carroll): probably a blend of gallop + triumph]

Reply Sun 6 Dec, 2009 08:43 am
i've always loved humpty's idea about words

'And only ONE for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'

'I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't"till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean"neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master"that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. 'They've a temper, some of them"particularly verbs, they're the proudest"adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs"however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

'Would you tell me, please,' said Alice 'what that means?'

'Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. 'I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'

'That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

'When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'I always pay it extra.'

'Oh!' said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.

'Ah, you should see 'em come round me of a Saturday night,' Humpty Dumpty went on, wagging his head gravely from side to side: 'for to get their wages, you know.'

(Alice didn't venture to ask what he paid them with; and so you see I can't tell YOU.)

'You seem very clever at explaining words, Sir,' said Alice. 'Would you kindly tell me the meaning of the poem called "Jabberwocky"?'

'Let's hear it,' said Humpty Dumpty. 'I can explain all the poems that were ever invented"and a good many that haven't been invented just yet.'

This sounded very hopeful, so Alice repeated the first verse:

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

'That's enough to begin with,' Humpty Dumpty interrupted: 'there are plenty of hard words there. "BRILLIG" means four o'clock in the afternoon"the time when you begin BROILING things for dinner.'

'That'll do very well,' said Alice: 'and "SLITHY"?'

'Well, "SLITHY" means "lithe and slimy." "Lithe" is the same as "active." You see it's like a portmanteau"there are two meanings packed up into one word.'

'I see it now,' Alice remarked thoughtfully: 'and what are "TOVES"?'

'Well, "TOVES" are something like badgers"they're something like lizards"and they're something like corkscrews.'

'They must be very curious looking creatures.'

'They are that,' said Humpty Dumpty: 'also they make their nests under sun-dials"also they live on cheese.'

'And what's the "GYRE" and to "GIMBLE"?'

'To "GYRE" is to go round and round like a gyroscope. To "GIMBLE" is to make holes like a gimlet.'

'And "THE WABE" is the grass-plot round a sun-dial, I suppose?' said Alice, surprised at her own ingenuity.

'Of course it is. It's called "WABE," you know, because it goes a long way before it, and a long way behind it"'

'And a long way beyond it on each side,' Alice added.

'Exactly so. Well, then, "MIMSY" is "flimsy and miserable" (there's another portmanteau for you). And a "BOROGOVE" is a thin shabby-looking bird with its feathers sticking out all round"something like a live mop.'

'And then "MOME RATHS"?' said Alice. 'I'm afraid I'm giving you a great deal of trouble.'

'Well, a "RATH" is a sort of green pig: but "MOME" I'm not certain about. I think it's short for "from home""meaning that they'd lost their way, you know.'

'And what does "OUTGRABE" mean?'

'Well, "OUTGRABING" is something between bellowing and whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle: however, you'll hear it done, maybe"down in the wood yonder"and when you've once heard it you'll be QUITE content. Who's been repeating all that hard stuff to you?'

'I read it in a book,' said Alice.
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 01:25 am

Well I never knew that.

Thanks, soz.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 02:02 am
Humpty Dumpty has caused trouble around here upon more than one occasion.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 12 Jul, 2022 02:48 am
A gyre is a whirlpool and a gymble is a device to hold an object steady on a ship.
So to gyre and gymble is to whirl and waver.
They are proper words.
0 Replies

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