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.
As children we used a slang word "tump" or "tumped" for upset or turned over, as in "the lamp tumped over and broke". I was surprised that some others not from my area are familiar with its use. Are you aware of the term, and if so of its origins?Post actions:
Submitted by Trish Williams (Mountain view, ca - U.S.A.)
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Tump sounds like a regionalism, and sems as much as anything to be based on onomatopoeia, i.e. being echoic of the thump of the object as it hits the ground. The Eng. Dial. Dict. and thence the OED do have tump, but based in the Welsh twmp, a small hill, a mound, and itself meaning a small hill, a heap, uneven land and, spec. a pile of stored potatoes. It also offers tumpoke or tompoke, which does mean to fall (head over heels). Unfortunately the last volume of the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) has yet to appear, but when it does, I would be very surprised were tump, as you use it, not included.Post actions:
Signature: Jonathon Green
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