"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Sunday, 3 May 2009


Potamophilous is an obsolete nonce word.

Obsolete means it is no longer used and a nonce word is one which was invented and used only once of a few times, never being intended to stick in the language. That's a real shame because I think it is a lovely word. It means river-loving.

It appeared in 1827 in the sentence "Rowed..in his public State barge, on the bosom of the Thames, in all the majesty and magnificence of a Fluviatile and Potamophilous Lord Mayor."

Let's have the word back into use please, after all, Hippopotamuses are potamophilous!


  1. I, too, am potamophilous! Thanks for bringing potamophilousness to the public view! He he he.

  2. I love it, although doubt how much I can get it in conversation!

  3. I will have no problem bringing it into conversation provided, and that is a big provide, that I can remember it. After all for someone who uses pleonastic on every available occasion potamophilous aught to be a doddle.