Entries for scrumdiddlyumptious, human bean, golden ticket, oompa loompa, the “witching hour,” and Dahlesque have each been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, the OED said yesterday, making permanent a few of beloved author Roald Dahl’s contributions to the English language.
The words will be familiar to anyone who’s read The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or other classic works from Dahl’s oeuvre. Each will now be added to the OED, or, in the case of “golden ticket,” a new sub-entry in an existing entry. (The first documented golden ticket was given to the 18th-century English painter William Hogarth, in exchange for perpetual admission to the Vauxhall Gardens.)
The words were added in honor of Dahl’s centenary, as the author was born on this day 100 years ago.
For the uninitiated, some of the entries are reasonably self-explanatory—scrumdiddlyumptious indeed means delicious, and a golden ticket is indeed a special and rare prize—while others might need more explaining. The OED defines the witching hour as:
“Usually with the. Midnight, with reference to the belief that witches are active and magic takes place at that time. More generally: the time, esp. the dead of night, when bad or sinister things are believed to be most likely to happen.”
Human bean, meanwhile, is what the BFG calls human beings; oompas loompas are Willy Wonka’s little factory workers, and Dahlesque is, as the OED defines it:
“Resembling or characteristic of the works of Roald Dahl. Dahl’s writing, particularly his children’s fiction, is typically characterized by eccentric plots, villainous or loathsome adult characters, and gruesome or black humor.”
All true, and now, thanks to the OED, definitional.