Definition of Terms, Please!

Oct 6, 1998
OK, I've been trying to get the meaning of these two terms from context, but I guess I'm just dense in this area.

Mr. Mattis, could you please give me a working definition of "vorpal" as applied to blades and accessories? I have seen you, Fred Perrin and others use it, but I cannot "grok" (there's another relatively obscure term for you) the meaning. I'm familiar with the "vorpal sword" from Carroll's "Jabberwocky", but it's no clearer... Help?!?!

Second, what does ELU stand for?

Thanks to all who respond!

Curious in Tulsa

"Age and treachery will
always overcome
youth and exuberance."

ELU = end line user (that's us)

As far as I know, the word vorpal was coined by Carrol. Like many of the adjectives in Jabberwocky, it seems to be a combination more common ones that might be used to describe a blade like voracious and mortal perhaps. Great wordsmithing, no?

Frank and Steve -

Thanks for the input. I like to stay up on the "lingo" whenever I can. I was hoping that a more precise definition of "vorpal" had evolved recently. I've always liked the word. "Jabberwocky" has always been a favorite - I've been able to recite it since I was about 10. Mom and Dad thought I'd gone nuts...

"Age and treachery will
always overcome
youth and exuberance."

Don't know about you others, but I'm still not too clear on "vorpal".
Any other definitions.
Can you use it in a sentence. Bear in mind, I'm a little dense. It took me 4 hours to figure out "IMHO".
I'm with ya on that one Doc. IMHO was a puzzel for me too, in fact, there's a couple others that I'm still working on. That's why alot of the time I spell everything out, because I know what it feels like, but that's just me.

And "Grok" is from Stranger in a Strange Land. All hail Robert Heinlein


The deed is everything, the glory nothing.
Lewis Carrol had a number of neologisms in 'Jaberwocky.' (neo= new, logos=knowledge) A neologism, therefore is a word made up by a person. Which may enter the common parlance, as 'ELU', 'website', and countless other computer terms.

Carrol was ahead of his time, however, and his neologisms have persisted.

My definition of a 'vorpal' blade? One I would very, very much like to have, one I would very, very much NOT like to see an opponent have. Walt
BTW, GROK being a relatively obscure term? Goodness sake, I hope not.

Robert Heinlein and his wife once spent the better part of a week, doing calculations, in long hand, checking each other's calculations, on long sheets of butcher paper, to determine the exact figures of an orbital insertion.

To be used in ONE SENTENCE of a science fiction short story.

Decades later, he was asked why he hadn't used a computer. He replied, 'Well, it was 1947!' To perhaps the best known Annapolis grad. Robert A. Heinlein.

I'm still lost on IMHO and IMO. I feel stupid but what do they stand for?

Norwegian Misfit

"For the word of GOD is quick and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword...." Hebrews 4:12

IMO: "In My Opinion"
IMHO: "In My Humble Opinion" or "In My Honest Opinion" depending on who you ask

Clay Fleischer

"10,000 Lemmings Can't Be Wrong!"
IMO = in my opinion
IMHO = in my humble opinion

a few others that are in fairly common use...

FYI = for your information
FWIW = for what it's worth
LOL = laughing out loud
ROTFL = rolling on the floor laughing
NP = no problem
BTW = by the way

Shoot -- I just whipped out my handy copy of *The Annotated Alice* remembering Carrol defined most of the words he coined in "Jabberwocky" in a periodical he wrote, illustrated, and hand-lettered for his brothers and sisters -- but he didn't define vorpal. Here's Gardner's footnote for vorpal:

"Alexander L. Taylor, in his book on Carroll, *The White Knight," shows how to get 'vorpal' by taking letters alternately from 'verbal' and 'gospel,' but there is no evidence that Carroll resorted to such involved techniques in coining his words. In fact Carroll wrote to a child-friend: 'I am afraid I can't explain "vorpal blade" for you -- nor yet "tulgey wood."'"

There is much else of interest in *The Annotated Alice,* including translations of "Jabberwocky" into French and German -- still nonsense, but nonsense that sounds like French or German instead of sounding like English, but that's all on vorpal -- sorry.

I can't resist giving you at least one of his definitions, but it's hard to pick just one....

"BOROGOVE an extinct kind of parrot. They had no wings, beaks turned up, and made their nests under sundials: lived on veal."

-Cougar Allen :{)
My Prsonal Favorite...YMMV....Your Milage may vary..



"No, it's a Vaquero Grande in my pocket, but I am happy to see you!"
MegaFolderians Unite!!
Dremel Junkies Unite!
Dyslexics Untie!

Not to sound like too much of a dork, I believe Vorpal was introduced to some fantasy/RPG genres, specifically in use with "Vorpal Swords", which behead in one strike.

And, in a recent search for the meaning of Vorpal (you're not alone), I found out that the Evil Nasty Creature from Monty Python and the Holy Grail has apparently been dubbed the Vorpal Bunny, which seems remarkably appropriate.

=- Craig