Goliath, Godzilla and Gargantua. Today’s wacky word can be used to describe all of those things. Hop on and follow us on our journey to the land of the giants.
Today’s wacky word originates from Brobdingnag, a fictional land in Jonathan Swift’s satirical Gulliver’s Travels where everything is enormous. The adjective brobdingnagian refers to a gigantic person or thing; nowadays, it can be used to describe anything of colossal size. The opposite of brobdingnagian would be Lilliputian, which is also a fictional island whose inhabitants are said to be about one-twelfth the height or ordinary human beings. In all, Swift was given credit for coining eight words in Gulliver’s Travels, including yahoo, houyhnhnm, struldbrug, and laputan.
Gulliver’s Travels wasn’t so much for the readers’ amusement as it was an indictment of politicians, scientists, philosophers and Englishmen in general. He even admitted to wanting to “vex” the world with his satire by offering his readers new insights into the game of politics and into the social follies of humans. But as we all know, the endearing story has now been transformed into a children’s book and Swift’s coarse language, bawdy scenes and satirical tone were bowdlerized.
Here are two examples of brobdingnagian’s use in a sentence:
- It never ceases to amaze me how people with seemingly Brobdingnagian egos are absolutely convinced that their supreme qualities will only become apparent to the rest of the world if they are seen in a so-called luxury car bought with taxpayers’ money. (Wordsmith)
- “When compared to the relatively small red man and his breed of thoats they assume Brobdingnagian proportions that are truly appalling. (The Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs)
Well, that’s the end of our journey to Brobdingnag. If you’ve read the uncensored Gulliver’s Travels, feel free to share with us below which version you like best—the children’s version or the original.
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