One of 850 new words added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “embiggen” is the latest Simpsons reference to make it as an official entry.
In 2001, Homer’s expression – “d’oh” – made it into the updated online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, and now it has a partner.
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.March 5, 2018
The word was used in an episode titled Lisa The Iconoclast from season seven of the cartoon, aired originally in 1996, but has been used more recently by comic book character Ms Marvel.
VOCABULARY: EMBIGGEN! 👊🏽— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) March 5, 2018
And while there are suggestions the word may have been used before The Simpsons first did it, Merriam-Webster cites 1996 as the first known use.
In the Simpsons episode in question, the children are watching a video about Springfield’s founder, Jebediah Springfield, who proclaims: “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.”
“A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.” pic.twitter.com/7IGFDDBXXc— SimpsonsQOTD (@SimpsonsQOTD) March 6, 2018
Teacher Edna Krabappel then remarks: “Embiggens? I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield.”
To which colleague Miss Hoover replies: “I don’t know why, it’s a perfectly cromulent word.”
Many Twitter users agreed it was a good, nay, cromulent, entry.
It's a perfectly cromulent word.— Mike Wheeler (@TheMikeWheeler) March 5, 2018
It's perfectly cromulent!— Ashley MacLennan (@90feetfromhome) March 5, 2018
But while “cromulent” was used by some to praise the dictionary, others wondered why it had been left out.
But cromulent is still #NotInTheDictionary— Brian Smith (@AmbientRelish) March 5, 2018
Where's "cromulent," then?— Janice M. Eisen 📚 (@janice_e) March 5, 2018
Embiggen, but no cromulent?— oschene (@oschene) March 5, 2018
They might be pleased to know that “cromulent” does appear in the online version of the Oxford dictionary, defined as “acceptable or adequate”.