Word of the Day – Brobdingnagian

Today’s word is brobdingnagian. This is such a funny sounding word. This one made me laugh. Listen to this pronunciation voice! I just had to listen over and over!!!!

Originally this word referred to an inhabitant of Brobdingnag, which is the fictional land in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. It has since taken on the meaning of anything gigantic. One synonym is “humongous”.  This reminds me of something that has always cracked me up. One of my favorite “arguments” with my then 3-year-old son was the “humongous” discussion.  It started with him saying something was “mongous” and then I corrected him by saying “HUmongous”.  He then angrily replied, “I’m not mongous, YOU mongous!”.

Me & Dr. Schmahmann

Me & Dr. Schmahmann

Isn’t this entire “huge” thing, relative? I used to own a Labrador Retriever, Cassie.  I thought she was fairly large.   (We had previously owned a fox terrier.) Now I own a Great Dane, Denim.  When I look back at pictures of Cassie, I now comment how “small” she was.   When people look at me, surprised at how big my dog is, I’m also surprised.  I’ve got used to her size.  Just look at the picture of my 5’2”-self and Denim with my over-6-foot neurologist and his little dog.  Neither of us saw the irony when we posed for this picture. I’m sure the dogs didn’t feel the size difference either.  Denim thinks she is a lap-dog and that little dog probably thinks he is a real “bruiser”.  I only realized that I was short when I saw a reflection of a friend and I standing together while waiting for the bus back in high school.   It takes photographs for me to realize that I really am the smallest in the family.

b1aa9ad2eb6fcd64f1969215e3a8272dUnfortunately, I feel much of Ataxia is unbearable because of the comparisons we make.  If nobody else ever ran, I wouldn’t care that I couldn’t chase after them.  If I never looked at a reflection of myself walking, I wouldn’t know that I walked “funny”.  So the phrase I have heard a lot in Ataxia circles, “Dance like no one is watching”, is a great philosophy!


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