pompatus not in OED

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon May 21 10:35:28 UTC 2007

On Mon, 21 May 2007, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:

> We don't particularly care whether something was coined in a
> pop-culture source, we care whether it's being used.

I was joking when I said the exclusion of _pompatus_ was shocking, but
FWIW Wikipedia notes the following:

Because of its peculiarity and seemingly nonsensical usage, the word
pompatus has become a minor pop trivia icon. DJ Wolfman Jack frequently
referenced the phrase and has a soundclip of him using the line within the
song "Clap for the Wolfman" by The Guess Who. A 1996 movie titled The
Pompatus of Love starring Jon Cryer featured four guys discussing a number
of assorted topics, including attempts to determine the meaning of the
phrase. Humor columnist Dave Barry frequently references the song line as
a source of comedic value, particularly in his 1997 book, Dave Barry's
Book of Bad Songs. The line has also been mentioned in various television
show gags, including The Simpsons and South Park. Pompatus is also used by
Michael Ondaatje in his 2001 book, Anil's Ghost. "She loved the way the
lecturer stated it, offhand, but with the air of a pompatus."

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS
   Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press
Yale Law School                             ISBN 0300107986
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list