Words Invented by Disney

Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse in 1928. The iconic mouse with red shorts and oversized yellow shoes, voiced by Disney himself, first appeared in a privately screened animation short called Plane Crazy on May 15, 1928 then leaped to the big screen in his first release titled Steamboat Willie (November 1928). The success of the Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts, movies, television shows, comics and merchandise created an empire that was fully realized in Disney’s dream — the creation of Disneyland, publicized as “the happiest place on earth.”

But Disney gave the world more than just a menagerie of memorable cartoon characters, he also enriched the English language with a few Disneyesque words.

Bambi: 1. the cartoon character, a white-tailed deer with large eyes. Related words: Bambi eyes (large eyes), Bambi factor, and Bambi syndrome (these last two refer to human’s tendency to view animals through the lens of anthropomorphisms or sentimentality).

Disneyesque: resembling or characteristic of Disney characters or Disneyland.

Disneyfy: created by Disney, or changed in a way characteristic of Disney. Related word: Disneyfied (to simplify, romanticize, or simplify something)

Mickey Mouse: 1. the cartoon character who is the official mascot of The Walt Disney Company; 2. a thing or person that lacks authenticity, seriousness, size, or value.

Pixie Dust: imaginary magical substance sprinkled by pixies (supernatural beings that look like flying elves)

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: a completely made-up word that means something that is exceptionally good or wonderful. In the film, the word is defined as “something to say when you have nothing to say.” The word was actually coined by two songwriters, Gloria Parker and Barney Young, in 1951; however the later song, written by Robert and Richard Sherman for Disney’s Mary Poppins (1964) popularized the word. The word is often erroneously listed as the longest word in English.

Read related posts: What is the longest word in English?
Words invented by Dickens

For further reading: Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler, Vintage (2007)

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