All Words > Amphigory

illustration Amphigory



Part of speech: noun

Origin: French, 18th century


Nonsense verse that appears at first hearing to have meaning, but which reveals itself to be meaningless under scrutiny.

Examples of Amphigory in a sentence

"Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky” is an amphigory that sounds like regular English, until one examines its nonsense words in detail."

"I was struggling to understand my poetry assignment, until a friend told me it was an amphigory and couldn’t be understood."

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illustration Amphigory

About Amphigory

“Amphigory” comes from the French “amphigouri,” which is based on the prefix “amphi-,” from the Greek “ἀμϕι” meaning “both sides.” The basis for “-gory” is unknown, but may be connected with the Greek “ηγορία,” meaning “speech.”

Did you Know?

A well-known amphigory is found in the closing credits of 1980s sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati.” Musician Jim Ellis wrote music for a song to play over the end credits, but didn’t yet have words prepared, so in an early demo he sang gibberish over the hard-rock backing track and was surprised to discover it sounded effective. At a time when critics complained rock vocals were becoming unintelligible, the meaningless syllables belted over the closing credits of “WKRP” were a joke of their own.

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