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Lewis Caroll
'Twas BRILLIG 1 , and the SLITHY 2 toves 3
Did GYRE 4 and GIMBLE 5 in the WABE 6 ;
All MIMSY 7 were the BOROGOVE s 8 ,
And the MOME 9 RATHS 10 OUTGRABE 11 .
Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the J UBJUB 12 bird, and shun
He took his VORPAL SWORD 15 in hand:
Long time the MANXOME 16 foe he sought-
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And as in UFFISH 17 thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
1 Brillig Four o'clock in the afternoon: the time when you begin broiling t hings for dinner.
2 Slithy Combination of "slimy" and "lithe. The i is long, as in writhe .
3 Tove – A combination of a badger, a lizard , and a corkscrew . They are very curious looking creatures which make their nests
under sundials and eat onl y cheese. Pronounced so as to rhyme with groves . ] Note that "gyre and gimble," i.e. rotate and bore, is in
reference to the toves being partly corkscrew by Humpty Dumpty's definitions.
4 Gyre To go round and round like a gyroscope . However, Carroll also wrote in Mischmasch t hat it meant to scratch like a dog.
The g is pronounced like the /g/ in gold , not like gem
5 Gimble – To make holes as does a gimlet .
6 Wabe – The grass plot around a sundial. It is called a "wabe" because it goes a long wa y be fore it, and a long wa y be hind it, and
a long wa y be yond it on each side.
7 Mimsy Combination of "miserable" and "flimsy".
8 Borogove A thin shabby-looking bird w ith its feathers sticking out all round, "something like a liv e mop " . The initial syllable
of borogove is pronounced as in boring rather than as in burrow .
9 Mome – Possibly short for "from home," meaning that the raths had lost their way.
10 Rath – A sort of green pig.
11 Outgrabe (past tense; present tense outgribe ) – Something between bellowing and whistling , with a kind of sneeze i n the middle
12 Jubjub – A desperate bird that lives in perpetual passion .
13 Frumious – Combination of "fuming" and "furious."
14 Bandersnatch – A swift moving creature with snapping jaws, capable of extending its neck.
15 Vorpal - Se e vorpal sword .
16 Manxome – Fearsome; the word is of unknown origin.
17 Uffish – A state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish
Came whiffling through the TULGEY 18 wood,
And BURBLED 19 as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went SNICKER - SNACK ! 20
He left it dead, and with his head
He went GALUMPHING 21 back.
And has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my BEAMISH 22 boy!
O FRABJOUS 23 day! Calloh! Callay!
He CHORTLED 24 in his joy.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the BOROGOVES ,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
18 Tulgey - Thick, dense, dark.
19 Burbled – Possibly a mixture of " b leat", "m ur mur", and "war ble ". Burble is also a pre-existing word, circa 1303, meaning to
form bubbles as in boiling water.
20 Snicker-snack : An onomatopoeia of unclear meaning, possibly referring to sharpness.
21 Galumphing - Perhaps a blend of "gallop" and "triumphant". Used to describe a way of "trotting" down hill, while keeping
one foot further back than the other. This enables the Galumpher to stop quickly.
22 Beamish - Radiantly beaming, happy, cheerful
23 Frabjous - Probably a blend of fair , fabulous , and joyous
24 Chortled - Combination of chuckle and snort .
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