Dictionary for Dahl's squishous words

Swashboggling and frobscottle are among thousands of Roald Dahl’s words to be compiled in a dictionary celebrating the centenary of the writer’s birth.

Almost 8,000 real words – and invented ones – are included in the dictionary, which has taken five years to compile.

Dahl famously invented words to stop his readers getting so bored they closed their books and watched TV.

Gumplewink, grobbled and sleep squiggler were unused but found in his archive during research for the book.

With his love of wordplay, Dahl would scribbled his words on yellow pages from the American legal pads he used to write in, swapping letters around and adopting spoonerisms and malapropisms.

The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary, which features Dahl’s long-time illustrator Sir Quentin Blake, was compiled by lexicographer Dr Susan Rennie.

Some of his other words include:

  • lickswishy
  • phizz-whizzing
  • wondercrump
  • snozzberry, snozzcumber and snozzwanger
  • zozimus
  • scrumdiddlyumptious
  • zoop
  • flubboxed
  • strodelling
  • ghost gloamer
  • gobblefunk
  • bopmuggered
  • gunzleswiped
  • fluckgungled

Dr Rennie said Dahl built his new words on familiar sounds, adding: “He didn’t always explain what his words meant, but children can work them out because they often sound like a word they know, and he loved using onomatopoeia.

“For example, you know that something lickswishy and delumptious is good to eat, whereas something uckyslush or rotsome is not definitely not!

“He also used sounds that children love to say, like squishous and squizzle, or fizzlecrump and fizzwiggler, which makes his stories so much fun to read, whatever age you are,” she added.

Some of the words in the dictionary reflect exclamations or phrases that may appear somewhat arcane today, such as ruddy, blithering, breeches and lavatory, which would have been familiar to the educated middle and upper classes of the 1940s.

Dahl also slipped biographical details into his stories, such as Matilda’s parrot called Chopper, which was the name of his own Jack Russell dog.

‘Swashboggling’

Matilda actually means “mighty in battle” and was often used as as a name for the tanks used in North Africa during World War Two, where Dahl was an RAF pilot.

Luke Kelly, managing director of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, and Roald Dahl’s grandson, said: “Roald Dahl’s inventive, playful use of language is a key element to his writing, so it is wonderful to have this dictionary compiled with such expertise, passion, and wit.

“I hope it serves as a swashboggling source of inspiration for a whole new generation of storytellers.”

Dahl’s first children’s story, James and the Giant Peach, was published in 1961 and was a hit. Every subsequent book became a bestseller, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox and the BFG.

His books are available in 58 languages and more than 200 million have sold worldwide, with many adapted for stage and screen.

His next story to hit cinemas will be Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG, starring Mark Rylance, which is set for release in July.

The dictionary is published on 2 June.

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Depp's wife accuses him of assault

A US judge has ordered actor Johnny Depp to stay away from estranged wife, actress Amber Heard, after alleged assault.

Ms Heard said in court on Friday that Mr Depp threw her mobile phone at her during a fight on Saturday.

The judge also said Mr Depp should not try to contact Ms Heard.

On Monday, she filed for divorce from Mr Depp citing irreconcilable differences and has applied for a restraining order.

Ms Heard brought a photograph of herself with a bruised cheek and eye to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

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Ariana Grande scores first UK number one

Pop star Ariana Grande has topped the UK album chart for the first time with her third record, Dangerous Woman.

The album, which marks a more mature direction for the former child star, outsold its nearest rival, Views by Drake, by just 600 copies.

But Drake kept a firm grip on the singles chart, where One Dance spent a seventh week at the top.

It’s the longest run at number one since Leona Lewis’s Bleeding Love in 2007.

Top five singles
1) Drake One Dance
2) Justin Timberlake Can’t Stop The Feeling
3) Calvin Harris ft Rihanna This Is What You Came For
4) Sia ft Sean Paul Cheap Thrills
5) Galantis No Money

The song achieved a “combined chart sale” of 92,500 – a figure that combines paid-for sales with streams.

According to the Official Chart Company, One Dance was the most-streamed song of the week, achieving 6.68 million plays.

The rest of the singles chart was relatively static – with Justin Timberlake, Calvin Harris and Sia non-movers at two, three and four respectively.

Take That scored their 27th top 40 hit, thanks to a guest spot on Sigma’s Cry, which was new at number 21; while Craig David’s One More Time was brand new at 30.

US singer-songwriter Gnash was the highest climber with his heartbroken, but lyrically explicit, ballad I Hate U, I Love U.

And Canadian singer Shawn Mendes, who found fame on social media, saw his signature song Stitches rack up its 40th week on the countdown.

Top five albums
1) Ariana Grande Dangerous Woman
2) Drake Views
3) Richard Ashcroft These People
4) Beyonce Lemonade
5) Bob Dylan Fallen Angels

In the album chart, Bob Dylan saw his 37th studio album, Fallen Angels, become his 37th top 10 hit, entering at number five.

Much like his last record, Shadows in the Night, every song on Fallen Angels (with the exception of Skylark) was once recorded by Frank Sinatra.

Fellow septugenarian Eric Clapton also scored a new entry at six with the cover-heavy I Still Do, despite lukewarm reviews in the music press.

However, he was spared the critical drubbing meted out to Richard Ashcroft, whose new album These People was called “the epitome of staid mediocrity” by Clash Magazine.

Nonetheless, the former Verve star entered the charts at three.

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500 words winners announced by Chris Evans

Stories by children about the perils of reality TV judging, dementia and a bloodthirsty pig are among the winners of this year’s 500 Words.

Now in its sixth year, the BBC Radio 2 contest challenges under-13s to write a story about any fictional topic.

Winners were announced on Chris Evans’ breakfast show from the Globe Theatre, with Julie Walters and Tom Hiddleston among the celebrity narrators.

This year had a record 123,436 entries, up from 2015’s 120,436.

The Duchess of Cornwall, who is an honorary judge this year, presented the winners’ prizes in the London theatre.

All Saints, One Republic and Foxes also performed along with the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Community Gospel Choir during the show, which was presented from Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London.

10-13 years category

Gold: Ned Marshall (12) – e-COURTROOM.com

Silver: Clara Cowan (10) – The Sands of Time

Bronze: Ben Bailey (10) – The Great Cookie Quest

5-9 years category

Gold: Evie Fowler (9) – Poor Pig’s Revenge

Silver: Katie Denyer (9) – The Grannies who Flew to the Moon

Bronze: Fergus Gathorne-Hardy (8) – The Smoking Pipe

The other celebrity readers were Warwick Davis, Andy Serkis, Nick Jonas and Raleigh Ritchie.

All Saints, One Republic and Foxes also performed along with the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Community Gospel Choir during the show.

Writer and actor Charlie Higson said of Poor Pig’s Revenge: “What I love about this story is that it really shows how much kids love blood and guts and all things gory, nasty and yucky.

“What starts out looking like it’s going to be a nice little goody-goody story about vegetarianism soon turns into a hilarious horror story as the pig turns the tables on the butcher.”

Author Francesca Simon added that e-courtroom was “brilliantly original”, and said: “I loved the way Ned used the 500 Words format to write a tense story while commenting on our modern craze for voting and judging.”

As part of the competition, organisers found that the Children’s Word of the year was refugee, after it appeared in hundreds of stories submitted.

‘Rich descriptions’

It found the usage of the word refugee had more than tripled since last year, while Star Wars, Shakespeare, Tim Peake and social media were some of the other most common themes.

Stories featuring the word refugee were most frequently about the plight of children the same age as the writers leaving home and undertaking difficult journeys.

Vineeta Gupta, head of children’s dictionaries at Oxford University Press, said: “The children writing in this year’s competition have demonstrated a sophisticated use of language in their storytelling.

“They have used rich descriptions to convey emotion and have produced powerful stories that resonate with the reader.”

The OUP said spelling had consistently improved over the past five years, but added some of the most commonly misspelled words included soldiers and minute.

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Lewis takes up Scherzinger's Cats role

Singer Leona Lewis is to replace Nicole Scherzinger in the forthccoming Broadway revival of Cats.

Scherzinger pulled out of the show earlier in May, a week before rehearsals began, a move that left producer Andrew Lloyd Webber “furious”.

Lewis tweeted that she was “thrilled” to be playing Grizabella in the show, which is due to open in July.

Lord Lloyd-Webber also took to Twitter, writing that he was “very excited” to welcome Lewis to the cast.

Scherzinger made her West End debut in the role of Grizabella in 2014, winning praise for her performance of Memory – the show’s most famous song.

She went on to perform the song at 2015’s Olivier Awards.

Following her recent announcement that she would not be taking up the role when the musical transferred to the US, Lord Lloyd-Webber said she was “crazy” for passing up her chance to appear on Broadway.

In an interview with the Economist, he claimed she had left the New York production because “she’s decided to do X Factor”.

Speaking to the BBC at the time, Scherzinger did not mention the ITV talent show and said she had “had every intention of doing Cats on Broadway but the contract was never finalised”.

“I am incredibly blessed to be given so many amazing opportunities, including Cats but unfortunately we weren’t able to make it work this time around,” she added.

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Sian Williams tells of double mastectomy

Former BBC Breakfast presenter Sian Williams has revealed she has had a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The Channel 5 newsreader told Woman and Home magazine that she was diagnosed a week after her 50th birthday in 2014.

The 51-year-old said she had always thought she was healthy as she “did all the right things – I was a green tea drinker, a salmon eater, a runner”.

She said her main fear was not seeing her two youngest children grow up.

‘Bewildered and scared’

“My biggest fear was not being there as a mum – and for some unfathomable reason, I couldn’t stop thinking that I want to be here for my daughter Evie to watch her get married,” the mother-of-four said.

“My aunt died of breast cancer, and I’d lost my mum to liver and bowel cancer – and I gradually began to realise how bewildered and scared I was.”

She also told the magazine that nobody apart from her children’s teacher knew she had undergone a double mastectomy.

It has not been revealed when she underwent the operation but Williams said she was “horrible” to her husband Paul Woolwich at the time because she was intent on “being strong”.

“Paul is an extraordinary man,” she said.

“I have learnt I need to let him know if I need support or an outstretched hand to help me up.”


Why have a mastectomy?

  • The aim of a mastectomy operation is to remove all cancerous tissue from one or both breasts. It is used to treat breast cancer in women or men.
  • There are several different types of mastectomy, depending on the areas that are removed. A standard mastectomy is when all the breast tissue and most of the skin covering is removed.
  • A mastectomy is recommended when the tumour is large in proportion to the breast, the cancer is present in more than one area or pre-cancerous cells have affected most of the breast.
  • They are sometimes carried out on healthy breasts to reduce the risk of breast cancer developing if a woman has a very high risk of developing breast cancer, possibly because she has a family history of breast cancer and carries a mutated version of the BRCA1, BRCA2 or TP53 gene.
  • According to the most recent statistic on the NHS Choices website, just under 23,200 mastectomies were carried out in England in 2012/13.
  • All women aged 50 to 70 and registered with a GP are automatically invited for breast cancer screening every three years.

Source: NHS Choices


Williams presented BBC Breakfast from 2001 to 2012, having first joined the BBC as a trainee and reported on the Hillsborough disaster for BBC Radio Merseyside.

She continues to make occasional programmes for BBC radio and television.

Her revelation comes as BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire completes her last major treatment for breast cancer.

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Caitlyn Jenner TV show axed in Africa

A reality show about Caitlyn Jenner becoming a transgender woman will no longer be shown in Africa following complaints from viewers, its South African broadcaster said.

Multichoice said “I am Cait” would be dropped out of respect for customers’ views and Africa’s diverse regulatory environments.

The move came after a request from Nigerian authorities, reports said.

Multichoice’s DSTV service broadcasts to the whole continent.

Trans woman: “I left Nigeria to save my life”

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Caitlyn Jenner was a gold medal-winning Olympic athlete as Bruce Jenner before announcing her decision to become a woman in April 2015.

Some parents in Nigeria had said they did not want their children to watch Ms Jenner’s show, Nigerian media reported.

It is the second time the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has asked pan-African broadcasters to stop showing transgender-related material, South African media said.

Last October, the NBC asked Multichoice to stop broadcasting “I am Jazz”, a show about a transgender woman, Channel 24 reported.

Critics say the decisions risk setting a precedent where a single country can effectively decide what TV viewers across the whole continent can watch.

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Ticket sites 'must fight touts'

Companies like Ticketmaster should take more action to prevent touts “harvesting” concert tickets, a government review has recommended.

It says the current measures are inadequate, and suggests buyers should be forced to give proof of ID.

The report also challenges re-sale sites to observe the law, by displaying the original face value of any tickets they list for sale.

A recent survey by Which? found the rules were consistently being breached.

While it is not illegal to re-sell tickets, it is thought that some of the selling patterns are only possible because of software known as “bots”, which automatically sweep up huge numbers of tickets the moment they go on sale. Touts then resell them at a profit on secondary market websites.

Tickets to see Radiohead in the UK this week are being advertised for as much as £6,000 – nearly 100 times face value – but that pales in comparison to Adele.

In February, it emerged that tickets for her UK tour were being advertised for £25,000 each.

The singer called out the touts during one of her recent London shows, calling them “terrible people”.

“I hope no one paid that much,” she said. “If you did, I’ll pay you back.”

However, secondary sites say these highly-priced tickets rarely sell.

Sir Elton John has also branded secondary ticket sites “disgraceful” and urged fans not to pay over the odds, telling the BBC: “I’d rather have empty seats.”

An anti-touting petition launched by the unlikely combination of Mumford and Sons and Little Mix three weeks ago has already attracted 42,000 signatures.

The government review was authored by Professor Michael Waterson, economics professor at Warwick University.

He dismissed calls for an outright ban on the secondary ticketing market, arguing it would simply drive the sector underground.

He added that around 30% of tickets on resale sites were sold below face value, thus “offering a useful service to consumers”.

However, he called for professional traders to be clearly identified, to differentiate them from fans selling tickets they no longer needed.

“Identification of traders as against consumer sellers would afford consumers additional protections,” he said.

The review also looked at whether consumers were being sufficiently protected by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Under the law, buyers must be told the original face value of any tickets being resold and, where appropriate, the seat numbers and any other restrictions – for example age limits.

But a Which? survey of the four main ticketing sites – Viagogo, Seatwave, Stubhub and Getmein! – found “numerous examples” of the rules being breached.

Professor Waterson agreed that the sites needed to be monitored more closely, perhaps by Trading Standards, and penalties imposed when they broke the rules.

‘No’ to price capping

During the consultation, some called for touting to be made a criminal offence for rock concerts, stage plays and musicals – as is already the case for some sporting events.

Others wanted the government to prevent tickets being resold at a profit, capping the price at 10% above the original face value.

However, the idea was vetoed by Professor Michael Waterson, economics professor at Warwick University, who authored the government review.

He said a cap would be “difficult to police” and argued it would “legitimise” touting through legislation.

“This would not alleviate the concerns of an event organiser who opposes secondary ticketing sales on moral grounds,” he said.

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Barbara Windsor story set for BBC drama

Dame Barbara Windsor has said she is “honoured and excited” that her life story is to be turned into a one-off TV film.

The 90-minute special, called Babs, will be shown on BBC One next year ahead of her 80th birthday.

It will be written by former EastEnders lead writer Tony Jordan.

Dame Barbara described Jordan as “undoubtedly the only person I felt knew me well enough to tell my story”.

Set in the 1990s, it will show the EastEnders and Carry On star preparing to perform in the theatre and looking back on the people and events that shaped her career.

The actress exited EastEnders last week when her character Peggy Mitchell, who had cancer, was seen taking an overdose of pills.

Dame Barbara said she that although a drama of her life had been discussed before, it wasn’t until she was approached by Jordan two years ago that she “knew it was the right time”.

“Tony knows the real me and what makes me tick and I was particularly taken by the way he wants to tell my tale which is not in the way people will expect it to be.

“Tony certainly has captured the moments of my life that have made me who I am today. I am honoured and excited that Tony and the BBC have commissioned this.”

Jordan said: “There’s a reason that, as a nation, we’ve all taken Barbara to our hearts, I think it is because she’s always been one of us, never forgetting where she came from.

“That unbelievably rare combination of someone in the business with the highest level of professionalism, but without any of the airs and graces to go with it.

“She’s a national treasure and one of the most remarkable women I’ve met. I only hope this film will do her justice.”

‘Misadventures’

Also commissioned for BBC One is an adaptation of David Nicholls’ bestseller Us, about a marriage on the rocks.

Adapted by Nick Payne, it tells the story of Douglas and Connie Petersen on a grand tour of Europe with their extended family.

Nicholls said: “I couldn’t be happier that Us has found a home with the BBC. Nick Payne has written a wonderful script that’s both funny and touching, and I can’t wait to see Douglas’ misadventures come to life.”

BBC One has also confirmed a second series of Peter Bowker’s The A Word, about a family with an autistic son, while BBC Two has commissioned a further two series of Steve Knight’s 1920s Birmingham-based series Peaky Blinders.

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