10 Words That “The Simpsons” Invented
When I was little, I didn’t need a watch. I mean, I eventually bought one (what 7-year old can resist a Scooby Doo wristwatch that sings the show’s theme song at the press of a button?) but I didn’t really need it because I measured my days in Simpsons episodes. A 2-hour car ride was always “4 Simpsons episodes” and an 8-hour school day was “one season of The Simpsons.” It was a quirky quality, one which foreshadowed my interest in television and my disinterest in clowns with raspy voices. Aside from claiming the spot as the longest-running animated sitcom on television, The Simpsons has also left a deep impact on American popular culture through its collection of fictional vocabulary words. For example:
1) Tomacco (n.): a hybrid of tomato and tobacco
I’ve witnessed a handful of disturbing things in my life. And yet, one memory that always comes back to me is that of the “tomacco” Simpsons episode, in which Bart and Homer engineer a line of tomatoes containing a tobacco center. I don’t believe the creators of the series set out to make this episode emotionally scarring, but the crazed looks on the faces of the tomacco users still send shivers down my spine. While tomacco may have been a fictional product back in the 1990s, scientists (read: obsession Simpsons fans) have since created a real-life tomacco plant. I can only hope that an army of dolphins is not next on our scientists’ agenda.
2) Craptacular (adj.): spectacularly crappy
For years, we ignored the potential that “crap” had as an adjective. That is, until Bart Simpson came along and introduced this term to Springfield. Think of all the other words that could benefit from the addition of “-tacular” to the end? Like momtacular, someone who is incredibly mom-like. Or bedtacular, a mattress so comfortable, it transcends the realm of regular furniture.
3) Poindextrose (n.): chemical responsible for intelligence in nerds and dorks
The verdict is in: glasses do not indicate or produce intelligence, no matter how many pairs you wear. Why anyone ever associated high IQs with two little pieces of glass propped up on a person’s nose is beyond me. The argument that intelligence runs in the blood is a bit less absurd, though I don’t know if I can accept the “poindextrose” explanation that The Simpsons provides, as much as I appreciate the clever portmanteau.
4) Frogurt (n.): frozen yogurt
Frogurt sounds like the first logical term a marketing director for frozen yogurt would envision. It’s clever, it’s fun, and it rolls off the tongue much better than fro-yo, which brings to mind images of poofy hair and yo-yos.
5) Spankological (adj.): the practice of spanking a child around the clock
Ned Flanders did not have the best childhood. In a flashback sequence, Homer’s neighbor revealed his parents’ way of correcting his past mischievous behavior: by having periodic spanking sessions called “spankologicals.” The punishment transformed Flanders from a “bad seed” into a religious fanatic with a penchant for mumbling creepy phrases under his breath.
6) Diddly (n.): a meaningless filler word
Speaking of Flanders, this list would be incomplete without one of his favorite gibberish phrases: diddly. Similar to “um” in our world, “diddly” is used to fill empty silences to allow time to think. Imagine how much more entertaining class presentations would be if every “um” or “like” were replaced with “diddly” or some other nonsensical term? “Shailene Woodley diddly diddly does not consider herself a diddly diddly feminist, according to diddly reports.”
7) Glayvin (n.): an exclamation of emotion
Next to the nameless professor from Powerpuff Girls, Professor Frink from The Simpsons is everyone’s favorite animated scientist. Granted, there aren’t many animated scientists to idolize, but that doesn’t make the previous statement any less true. When he wasn’t throwing dangerous chemicals together, Frink was contributing to our stockpile of exclamations with this all-purpose term. When “Wow!” won’t do, “Holy mother of glayvin!” is there to help.
8) Embiggen (v.): to increase in size
Originally used in a speech by Springfield’s founder, embiggen has become so popular, it has been found in science journals in the real world, proving that The Simpsons has the power to influence academia as we know it. (Should we be concerned? After all, this is a show that constantly features the protagonist choking his child.)
9) Cromulent (adj.): fine, acceptable
Though cromulent may seem like a simple synonym for “acceptable” at first glance, in reality, the word plays on its own definition. It was originally used by Ms. Higgins to describe the aforementioned “embiggen,” which she claims was “a perfectly cromulent word.” The catch is that cromulent is an unacceptable word in itself due to the fact that, you know, it’s not real.
10) D’oh (n.): one-word expression of anger or grief, usually following a mistake
What kind of a list would this be if I didn’t include Homer’s favorite catchphrase? D’oh has been around since the beginning of time and, though I don’t know why Matt Groening thought we needed a more aggressive synonym for “oops,” I love it nonetheless.
What are your favorite Simpsons words?
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