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Left-handed toons from 8/13/2010, "Jasper got a dog", starts like this:

And ends like this:

Luckily for all of us, language doesn't work that way, except to some extent in NPR word puzzles.

[h/t to Anders Horn]



  1. Robot Therapist said,

    September 29, 2014 @ 4:43 am

    There used to be a lot of jokes aimed at non-discriminatory language, based on replacing the string "man" with "person": for example replacing "manager" with "personager",

    [(myl) Somewhat less fake is the whole "clbuttic" thing.]

  2. Ralph Hickok said,

    September 29, 2014 @ 5:04 am

    Victor Borge did a wonderful routine called "Inflationary Language" in which numbers appearing in words were increased by one so that "tennis" become "elevennis," for example.

  3. GeorgeW said,

    September 29, 2014 @ 7:00 am

    These particular behe-Xs don't work in English very well. Too many syllables?

    I can imagine a 'behedog,'behecat,'behebug,' etc.

  4. D.O. said,

    September 29, 2014 @ 9:22 am

    How about that type of languages (agglutinating?) that smack (parts of) different words together making them the constituent parts of a new word?

  5. FM said,

    September 29, 2014 @ 10:11 am

    Before I read this post I thought the title was a slightly misspelled Turkish plural.

  6. Jerry Friedman said,

    September 29, 2014 @ 11:12 am

    Robot Therapist: Then you had to replace "person" with "perchild".

  7. STW said,

    September 29, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

    It does seem to explain German fairly well.

  8. mae said,

    September 29, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

    You had to replace "manometer" with "personometer."

  9. Sili said,

    September 29, 2014 @ 2:11 pm

    And then to be less negative that would have to be "persoyesmeter".

    Which is too eurocentric landing us instead with "persoyesyard".

  10. Ken said,

    September 29, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

    @Robot Therapist, @Ralph Hickok: Stan Freberg had a skit where a censor was working with a performer to make"Old Man River" inoffensive. It's on line, search for "Elderly Person River." They gave up when they got to "get a little drunk and you land in jail."

  11. BZ said,

    September 30, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

    Are these supposed to be progressively younger? I first thought it was referring to progressively smaller size, but a moth is hardly larger than a caterpillar. I gas "behemoth" primed me for something large and then gradually admitting that it wasn't as big afterwards. Took forever to even consider any other interpretation.

  12. Chris C. said,

    September 30, 2014 @ 9:44 pm

    I bet it's even smaller than that. A behekitninerpilaster.

  13. Karl Narveson said,

    October 1, 2014 @ 9:48 am

    Chris C.:

    A behekitninerpipenultimater

  14. MN said,

    October 1, 2014 @ 10:01 am

    A behekitninerpipenultifilia?

  15. Rodger C said,

    October 1, 2014 @ 10:13 am

    @BZ: I wouldn't assume the cartoonist was familiar enough with insects (besides flies and cockroaches) to clearly picture the size of a caterpillar.

  16. Chris C. said,

    October 1, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

    Perhaps we're not too sure how big or small it is. A maybehekitninerpipenultifilia.

  17. a George said,

    October 1, 2014 @ 5:09 pm

    — ahem! Where is the female angle? Surely there must be room for a "beshe-thing-a-ma-jig"

  18. Emily said,

    October 1, 2014 @ 11:00 pm

    SpecGram's "Encyclopedia of Mytholingual Creatures, Places, and Things" includes this entry:

    Woperdaughterticore: A monster of the Malaysian and Indonesian forests, with the body of a red lioness, a tail tipped with a ball of spikes, and the face of an etymologically-challenged proponent of politically correct extremism.

    Maybe we should adopt "Woperdaughterticore" or "behekitninerpillar" as the term for monstrous chimerical words like these, a la "eggcorn" and "mondegreen."

  19. Chas Belov said,

    October 2, 2014 @ 2:30 am

    @Robot Therapist: In place of "mailman" I like "postal person" because it maintains the alliteration.

  20. Colin Fine said,

    October 5, 2014 @ 5:31 pm

    Chas Belov: in BrE, the traditional word is 'postman', so 'postperson' is natural. When we don't say 'postie'.

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