A WORD MEANS JUST WHAT I CHOOSE IT TO MEAN by HUMPTY DUMPTY

Photo: Wikipedia

‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute, Humpty Dumpty began again. ‘They’ve a temper, some of them — particularly verbs: they’re the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!’

‘Would you tell me please,’ said Alice, ‘what that means?’

‘Now you talk like a reasonable child,’ said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. ‘I meant by “impenetrability” that we’ve had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you’d mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don’t mean to stop here all the rest of your life.’

‘That’s a great deal to make one word mean,’ Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

Today, Humpty Dumpty is ruling the world.


From “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll



Categories: Literature, Marilyn Armstrong, Quotation, Words, Writing

Tags: , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. I am ashamed to admit that I have not read Through the Looking Glass, despite the fact that Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite books.

    Like

  2. “Impenetrability.”??
    Sadly, Humpty hadn’t had his fall yet.
    But it’s coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing. I had forgotten this completely.

    Like

  4. I love this post. I remember this part of the book when I was a little girl, but it means so much more now.

    Like

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