Movin' On with Nellie: Twitterpated - no that’s not a fake word


I recalled the guy coming into the office as being twitterpated and my friend said, “Did you make that word up?” It took me a while but I found the word in the Oxford dictionary.

Twitterpated is one of the words that just sounds made up and very much like “discombobulated.” What the heck do these words mean, anyway?

Friend Owl in the 1942 film “Bambi” uses the word for the first time ever: “Nearly everyone gets twitterpated in the Spring.”

So in this instance, “twitterpated” suggests a romantic gushing response. More current definitions include “confused” and otherwise not thinking with a certain thing or someone on the mind. We could say the guy in the White House is twitterpated about TWITTER!

Now consider, discombobulated. Dictionary.com says that ”discombobulated” was probably “a fanciful” restatement of discomfort in the early to mid 1800’s. It is a fun word to use instead of the old standards: upset or confused. Discombobulated just sounds like the Queen of Hearts yelled “discombobulate” that one! Or “off with their heads!”

Dr. Seuss, my friend recalled, had a knack for making up words. The writers of Star Trek had fun when they created all the words of the Klingon language. It’s time we all become twitterpated and discombobulated enough to create our own words of the day. Today’s might be “windywindwhir” for a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious windy day. Or maybe our word for tomorrow might be “Satinthewindy” Saturday.   

Sometimes twins have their own language complete with hand signs, gulps, and singing words.  Over the centuries and millennia, our cats have learned to meow for us—a meow that doesn’t speak to other cats, but to their humans. Dogs too have learned to understand up to 250 words from their humans. Friends sometimes finish each others’ thoughts; and then sometimes husbands and wives haven’t a clue what the other is talking about.

Maybe a course in making up words would help those of us who become discombobulated or twitterpated even before we step through the doorway. “Waykyway” to go!

--Nelda Curtiss is a retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her at [email protected]

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