pompatus not in OED

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 21 03:03:35 UTC 2007

It's "puppetu_d_es."

I've seen the movie a number of times and I don't recall that
"pompatus" is ever defined. But don't cite me on that.


On 5/20/07, James Harbeck <jharbeck at sympatico.ca> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       James Harbeck <jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA>
> Subject:      pompatus not in OED
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> I note that the OED does not have "pompatus". Perhaps the lack of an
> actual clear definition might be a reason, though I suspect its
> recency (1970) is also a factor, given that "vorpal" and "slithy"
> (but not "brillig"), equally factitious words (if at least a bit more
> clearly defined and usable), are in. But the OED update has gotten
> into the PR's, so I guess inclusion of "pompatus" is not forthcoming
> in the near future. For what it's worth, it's not in the official
> Scrabble dictionary, either.
> Or perhaps I speak too soon in regard to the lack of a definition. Is
> anyone aware of a clear agreed-on meaning for "pompatus"? There's an
> established etymology -- it was apparently based on Vernon Green's
> word "puppetutes" from his song "The Letter" -- but no persuasive
> reason to accept the intended meaning of that word ("a secret
> paper-doll fantasy figure [thus puppet], who would be my everything
> and bear my children"), which wasn't likely known to Steve Miller. I
> haven't seen the movie _The Pompatus of Love_, so I don't know
> whether the characters in it came to an agreed definition. And Steve
> Miller hasn't been forthcoming on the subject, apparently.
> James Harbeck.
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