Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Galumph

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is galumph. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Galumph means “to move with a clumsy heavy tread.”

// After long days at his landscaping job, their teenage son galumphs into the house and flings himself onto the couch, sighing heavily.

GALUMPH in Context

“One moment he’d be pitter-pattering…; the next he’d be whirling and galumphing about the stage.” — Jeffrey Gantz, The Boston Globe, 8 Feb. 2022

Did You Know?

Bump, thump, thud. There’s no doubt about it—when someone or something galumphs onto the scene, ears take notice. Galumphfirst lumbered onto the English scene in 1872 when Lewis Carroll used the word to describe the actions of the vanquisher of the Jabberwock in Through the Looking Glass: “He left it dead, and with its head / He went galumphing back.” Carroll likely constructed the word by splicing gallop and triumphant (galumphdid in its earliest uses convey a sense of exultant bounding). Other 19th-century writers must have liked the sound of galumph, because they began plying it in their own prose, and it has been clumping around our language ever since.

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