There’s a Word for That: Brobdingnagian

alex atkins bookshelf wordsIf you are a fan of Jonathan Swift you will recognize this mouthful of a word and its meaning. The word brobdingnagian (pronounced “brab ding na GEE an”) means enormous or incredibly huge. The word was coined by Jonathan Swift in his famous novel Gulliver’s Travel, published in 1726, meant as a satire of travel tales and human nature. In the novel, Lemuel Gulliver sets off on a voyage on the sailing ship Adventure. On his second voyage he encounters Brogdingnag, a land that is populated by human giants, known as Brogdingnagians, who stand about 72 feet tall. Naturally, in a land of giants everything is, well… gigantic.

In an earlier voyage, Gulliver lands on the island of Lilliput, where the inhabitants, the Lilliputians, are tiny, standing  less than 6 inches tall. So the antonym of brobdingnagian is lilliputian, meaning very small or trivial. The word is pronounced “lile PYOO shen.”

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