Roald Dahl: what the world needs now is ‘zozimus’

Roald Dahl: what the world needs now is ‘zozimus’
Posted 7 July 2016 by Sophie Offord

The English language is vast, but there’s always room for more – so take a bow, Roald Dahl, who made up these words you’ll soon be raring to use.

It’s always good to have an excuse to celebrate the incredible Roald Dahl, who has written some of the most loved and lauded children’s books ever: Matilda, The Witches, to name but a few.


Now The BFG is coming out at the cinema this month - and we couldn’t be more excited.


So here are some words that he invented completely, now stored in the Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary. We reckon a few of these should come in handy for everyone…

Nine words we should all be using


A buzzburger is something that doesn't make sense.  'I is brimful of of buzzburgers', the BFG said. 'If you listen to everything I am saying you will be getting earache.'


Cloud-Men were first spotted in James and the Giant Peach. They like to cause bad weather for the world below. Seems like they've been aiming at the UK a lot...


A dogswoggler is a very silly so-and-so, who makes no sense at all. See The BFG: 'You is only interested in guzzling human beans.'  'And you is dotty as a dogswoggler!'


If a giant is fluckgungled, he is in a hopeless situation. It is a very rude word, apparently, which is why giants love to say it. And now you will, too.


Something gropefluncking is difficult to explain, like a long and complicated dream. (Think we've all been there.)


Someone plussy is full of life and energy. It's the opposite of being a Minus and having no impact on the world. Refer to Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator for your next mindful mantra: 'She's a Minus no longer! She's a lovely Plus! She's as plussy as plussy can be!'


A ringbeller is a really splendid dream, the kind that makes you wake up smiling and happy.  Sometimes people ring bells to celebrate a happy occasion like a wedding - so, basically, a ringbeller is something that makes you feel so happy, you could ring some bells.


A squifflerotter is someone really unpleasant and mean. If you read The BFG, it sounds like we all fall into that category: 'Grown-up human beans is not famous for their kindnesses. They are all squifflerotters and grinksludgers.' Guys, let's try real hard not to be squifflerotters, anymore - OK?


Zozimus is the key ingredient of dreams: it's imagination gist, fantasy stuff, magic matter. It's amazing. The Big Friendly Giant whisks zozimus with an egg beater until it forms bubbles just like soapy water. 


Forget that Victoria Sponge - let's try to whip up more zozimus in the world.


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All wonderful words but I don't think 'zozimus' can be credited to Dahl - see


BookTrust reply: Very interesting! The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary credits Dahl with this word, as he was presumably the first to use it with the meaning above. Zozimus in the instance you point out was a nickname or nom de plume - but fascinating to think that Dahl may have been inspired by an18th-century street performer! Thanks for drawing our attention to this.

Caroline J
12 July 2016

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