Yesterday, my family and I went hiking at Seneca Rocks. On our way there, we passed a sign that said Watch for West Virginia Wild Life. “I’ve already seen it,” I said. “I saw that groundhog galumphing along.”

Later last night, my husband was finishing up the first draft of An Hour Unspent (Shadows Over England, Book 3) and started laughing. I looked over at him from the pages of The Sign of The Four (Sherlock Holmes–I’m finally reading some!) and asked what was funny. “Galumph,” he said. “You just had an elephant galumphing in here. That’s twice in a day. It needs to be your word of the week.”

And so, here we are!

If you consult Merriam-Webster on the meaning of galumph, it reports “to move with a clumsy or heavy tread.” Which is certainly how I was using it. But did you know that it originally meant something far different?

Lewis Caroll coined the word in 1872, in “The Jabberwocky.” In his version, the word is a combination of gallop and triumph, describing how the vanquisher of the dread Jabberwocky returned home. His contemporary writers apparently quite liked the word and immediately began borrowing it…but in a different way. Etymologists assume that the shift in meaning from “triumphant” to “clumsy or heavy” is simply a reflection of the way the word sounds. Say it a few times. Galumph conjures up an image, doesn’t it? And it isn’t one of triumph. 😉

Here’s hoping there’s minimal galumphing through your day in the new sense, but plenty of it in its original! Have a great week, everyone!

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