A Freakonomics Quiz on Redonkulous New Words

New words are constantly being created in the English language. The word “ginormous” made it into the Merriam-Webster dictionary a few years back, in part because it could be traced back to a 1948 dictionary of British military slang.

A word I have been hearing the last year or two is “redonkulous,” (or alternatively “redonkulus”), which the Urban Dictionary defines as “significantly more absurd than ridiculous, to an almost impossible degree.”

What is the origin of the word redonkulous?

Searching on the web, I found discussions that all seem to center around recent mentions on sitcoms or movies.? And it certainly has the feel of a very modern word.

I was surprised, therefore, to stumble onto a version of the word redonkulous in print, spelled slightly differently, nearly 30 years ago.

So as a reward to those blog readers who are both hip and literate, we are offering Freakonomics schwag to the first blog reader who can identify the book where I saw this redonkulus reference.

Addendum: The answer is here.


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  1. Matt Fowles says:

    Redonkulous comes from a series of corruptions of Ridiculous. People noticed the word “dick” hiding in the midst of Ridiculous, and tried inserting other synonyms for penis. Including “riwangulous”, “ricockulous”, and “ridongulous”. Redonkulous just sounds better then “ridongulous”.

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  2. Jim Ospenson says:

    Future Shock, Warren Toffler

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  3. Matt Golden says:

    going out on a limb here and guessing “A Light In the Attic.” Just seems like a Shel Silverstein kind of a word.

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  4. TC says:

    Sounds like something from either Li’l Abner or Pogo. How about “We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us”?

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  5. dnadan says:

    A pogo comic anthology?

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  6. Matt B. says:

    The Bible.

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