A Runcible Spoon

Edward Lear made up the word ‘runcible’ for the poem The Owl and the Pussycat – “They dined on mince, and slices of quince/ which they ate with a runcible spoon.”  For years I wondered what a runcible spoon was, exactly, and what made it so appropriate for mince and quince.  I’ve found sources that describe it as a spoon with tines (‘tine’ comes from Middle English for ‘point’) – a sort of ‘spork’ I guess (‘spork’ being one of those portmanteau words, and first defined in the early 20th century) – but a runcible spoon simply doesn’t exist – it merely scans beautifully within the line.  Runcible was evidently Lear’s favourite nonsense word, and he used it elsewhere in different contexts.  Isn’t it lovely to have a word all one’s own? 

Advertisements

About hickson1

Art historian, professor, Italian Renaissance and Baroque specialist
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s