Runcible is one of those absolutely fantastic nonsense words that has been in my life for as long as I can remember. The Owl and The Pussycat by Edward Lear was a poem I could recite easily (and often!) by age 4, since it happened to be one of my favorite books. I was always curious as to just what a runcible spoon was and in my mind it had to be something fancy, yet odd and dainty too, since they used it to dine on mince and slices of quince after their wedding. Edward Lear actually coined the term runcible in 1871 however it wasn’t until 1926 that an actual definition was given to runcible spoon (or spork, as it’s mainly known now) .
The top image is of a runcible spoon, or spork. The bottom image is one of Edward Lear’s illustrations depicting the dolomphious duck’s use of a runcible spoon.
Runcible was one of Lear’s favorite invented words since he used it numerous times in his poetry (mainly as an adjective). I can see why since it’s a wonderful sounding word, looks neat when written, and I think it has a good mouth feel when one says it. Nonsense words have a unique sort of power and runcible is right up there with the best of them!
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