Scrumdiddlyumptious Is Now Officially a Word


Next time you call a food “scrumdiddlyumptious” — and there should be a next time, even if there has never been a first time — and someone tells you that’s not a real word, you can tell them with assurance that it absolutely is.

Who says? The Oxford English Dictionary, actually. The august linguistic arbiter has seen fit to mark what would have been author Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday by including and/or revising the definitions of a bunch of Dahl-related words — those he coined or popularized in his vast and beloved collection of written works — in its latest quarterly update.

One of those words is “scrumdiddlyumptious,” which the OED defines as “Extremely scrumptious; excellent, splendid; (esp. of food) delicious.” The OED notes that Dahl, though he was not the first to utter it, introduced the adjective to many when he used it in his children’s book The BFG: “Every human bean is diddly and different,” the giant tells Sophie, fans of the book (or recent movie adaptation) will recall. “Some is scrumdiddlyumptious and some is uckyslush.”

Speaking of The BFG, the OED has also opted to add Dahl’s expression “human bean,” which, it notes in a release, “is not a vegetable, although — according to the Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant — it comes in ‘dillions of different flavours.’” The definition of the Dahl-coined phrase, in case you need one: “n. colloq. a humorous alteration or mispronunciation of human being.”

And those who drool at the mention of Dahl’s name, thinking immediately of the candyriffic world he conjured in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, will be happy to know that the OED has given its imprimatur to several delicious expressions used in that book as well: You got your chocolate-bar-related “golden ticket” and your “Oompa Loompa.”

In all, the OED has added six Dahl-related words in its September 2016 update — “witching hour” and “Dahlesque,” in addition to those mentioned above — and has updated the definitions to note his connection to others. For instance, the author gets credit in the fine print for his use of adjectives like frightsome, scrummy, scrumptious and splendiferous (and the related noun splendiferousness).

No OED stamp of approval for snozzcumbers, though … yet.

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