ALL ABOUT CHORTLES
Copyright The Quipping Queen 2005.
ALL ABOUT CHORTLES
Or, everything you wanted to know about this 8-letter word!
By Ovid Publius Hadweenzic, a professor of paltry pedantry
with a passionate interest in high-energy brain candy,
low-calorie chit-chat, not to mention flatulent free food for
The other day as I was leafing through an oddly-named if not
rather obscure journal, "Physica D", (devoted to an
astounding array of articles about cellular automata), my mind
began to wander.
In what some of my colleagues prefer to call "a state of
chortle-sin", I realized that there was more to life than
perusing pithy papers that rarely see the light of day.
To be truthful, my mind meandered about as if it had just
escaped from the confines of a sandbox onto a great long beach
as far as the eye could see. With oodles of things to capture my
short attention span, and an urgent need to express myself in
the form of a chortle, chuckle, fleer, giggle, guffaw, heehaw,
howl, laugh, roar, smirk, snicker, snort or titter, I set about
the titillating task of flexing my funnybone and flapping my
Anyway, to make a long-story short, I settled on
"chortle" as it seem to hit the right spot so to speak.
After all, it's a word crafted by one of my favorite authors,
Lewis Carroll. Found in his celebrated work, Through the
Looking-Glass, (written in 1872), the word "chortle" is a
combination of two deliriously-droll, dopamine-inducing
activities better known as "chuckling" and "snorting".
Controlling my giggles enough to Google "chortle", I
found no less than 488,000 web page references to this rarely
used term found in either conversation or in writing.
Since Carroll's coining of this word more than a century ago,
new meanings seem to have emerged for the gleeful yet humble
verb, "to chortle".
Among the many interesting iterations of this very versatile
verb (that also appears to have morphed into a quaint common
noun) are the following:
-- "Goldfish Chortle" - an easy-to-use, free, bannerless
-- "A misplaced chortle" in the form of a new book
entitled, High Tide: News From a Warming World by Mark
-- "An unexpected chortle", ...a "petrosexual's tuppence"
from a University of Warwick bloke, (also known as the blog of a
lonely, car-obsessed perfectionist, and general engineering
-- "Music to chortle by", especially if you like
pianist-parodies by a duo (by the name of Steve Saugey and Lyova
Rosanoff), who adore tinkling the ivories and who knows what
-- "A high-density Christmas Chortle" (said to be low in
sodium and high in cholesterol) according to two twits named
Borgness and Mr. Aardfly who take pride in writing a witty ditty
about a quaint contest, Catholics and croquet mallets.
-- Title of a funny poetry contest winner, "A Chortle on
-- "Chortle", the name of an on-line comedy guide to all
manner of news, reviews and listings of things funny in the U.K.
-- "Chortle", a technology mapping program for
table-based FPGAs (whatever all that wonderful bafflegab and
-- "Chortle", the home of a singularly unusual person
named Simon Singh, an author, journalist, TV producer,
specializing in science and mathematics (and perhaps altered
states of chortle-sin?)
-- "Chortle", the subject of much reflection in 2003 and
2004 by a bemused blogger named "eclectic boogaloo".
-- Reference to a "chortle" by someone called "Static
Zombie" who suggested a laugh-out-loud moment from an episode of
the hugely popular American comedy show, "The Simsons": Homer -
"I'm going to hide you where there's nobody around for miles:
-- "A totally unfunny chortle" is brought to light by the
folks behind the rivetting if not a tad off-the-beaten track
-- The "smirking cynic" shares his experience of a
"chortle", which happens when he reads something called
"Moxie" to give him a new perspective on life, although he
neglects to say whether his mentor has a skewed standpoint on
everything some of the time or just some things all of the time.)
-- "Chortles" are a clan of two colourful giants (2.5 and
3 metres high), according to someone who inhabits a planet
called "Chortle", (note: the author hails from the outback of
-- Expresso stories, aptly entitled, "Snorts n'
Chortles", include interesting biological noises --that
gives new meaning to the term "creative non-fiction"!
-- Apparently "Chortles" orbits a giant star named
Capella (according to cosmic astronomy).
-- Astonishingly enough, a rather ingenious 2001 wood sculpture
named "Chortles", by Cris Bruch, can be seen at the
Elizabeth Leach Gallery (if you'd care to take a gander of
So, by all means, enjoy a "chortle" on me today. If you
prefer something a tad stronger, please partake of a "yuk
yuk", or better yet try a humungous "hoot n' holler".
They're all rather fine ways to give your wishbone a
well-deserved rest and stroke your spunky soul into a state of