Blimp

This is the full read-only archive of the "Ask the Wordwizard" section of the original Wordwizard site. The responses to the questions originate from Jonathon Green, the compiler of the Cassell Dictionary of Slang and numerous other dictionaries.
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Blimp

Post by Archived Topic » Fri Feb 12, 1999 12:00 am

Please tell me the origin of the word "Blimp"
Submitted by Kevin Bugert (Tacoma - U.S.A.)
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Blimp

Post by Jonathon Green » Sun Feb 14, 1999 8:00 am

No-one is quite sure; the prevalling opinion is that it was invented by either th e aviator Horace Shortt (Illustrated London News 1918: Nobody in the R.N.A.S. ever called them anything but ‘Blimps’, an onomatopœic name invented by that genius for apposite nomenclature, the late Horace Shortt) or one Lieut. A.D. Cunningham (as suggested in the journal Aeroplane, Oct. 5 1951). It is suppoedly an elision of 'blister' and 'limp, a theory advanced, somewhat surprisingly, by none of ther than J.R.R. Tolkien.
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