Embiggen your vocabulary: 10 coinages from ‘The Simpsons’

Try dropping one of these terms—such as ‘dumbening’ or ‘word hole’—into your next writing project.


I spend most of my workday correcting other people’s writing. It can be tiresome, so sometimes it’s fun to take a break and play with words.

This week, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite terms coined from “The Simpsons.” You won’t find them in the dictionary, but try slipping them into conversation and see what happens.

(Special thanks to the Simpsons Wiki for the definitions and examples.)

Embiggen and cromulent (two great words, one episode)

• Embiggen means to make something better.
• Cromulent means valid or acceptable.

These two words were used in the episode “Lisa the Iconoclast,” in which Springfield celebrates its bicentennial. Fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Krabappel hears the town motto, “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man,” and comments that she had never heard of the word “embiggens.” Another teacher quickly replies, “I don’t know why; it’s a perfectly cromulent word.”

Craptacular

• One of the most popular words from “The Simpsons,” craptacular combines crap and spectacular.

In the episode “Miracle on Evergreen Terrace,” Bart describes Homer’s Christmas lights as “craptacular.”

Redorkulated

• Redorkulated means to become a dork again.

With the help of a hypnotist, nerdy Professor Fink becomes a smooth ladies’ man. The effect is short lived, and when it wears off, Professor Fink comments that he has been “redorkulated.” The episode was “The Blunder Years.”

Yoink

• Yoink is a verbal expression used when removing an object from its rightful owner or rightful place.

In “Duffless,” Homer says, “Yoink,” when he takes a stash of cash from Marge, cash that he had saved by not drinking beer for a month. He subsequently takes the cash to Moe’s bar.

Dumbening

• Dumbening is the process of becoming dumber.

In the episode “Lisa the Simpson,” Lisa writes in her diary: “Dear log, can it be true? Does every Simpson go through a process of dumbening? Hey, that’s not how you spell ‘dumbening.’ Wait a minute … ‘dumbening’ isn’t even a word!”

Shinning

• To have “the shinning” is to have the ability to read another’s thoughts and communicate telepathically. Notice the double n—it’s not shining, as in the movie, but shinning, as in the front part of your leg below the knee.

In “Treehouse of Horror V,” Groundskeeper Willie told Bart: “Boy, you read my thoughts! You’ve got the shinning.”

Car hole

• Car hole is another term for garage.

In the episode “The Springfield Connection,” Moe criticizes Homer for using the overly formal term “garage.” Homer asks Moe what he calls the garage. Moe replies, “A car hole.”

Word hole

• Word hole is another term for mouth.

Chief Wiggum tells Sideshow Bob to “shut your word hole” in the episode “Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming.”

D’oh

• “The Simpsons” glossary would be incomplete without the ubiquitous “D’oh!” It is officially defined as an “annoyed grunt” uttered by Homer.

For more coinages from “The Simpsons,” visit:

• Simpsons Wiki
• Homerisms
• The Simpsons Dictionary

Any favorites from “The Simpsons” you’d like to share?

Laura Hale Brockway is the author of the writing/editing/random thoughts blog, impertinentremarks.com.

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