Heffalump

Heffalump

ˈhɛfəlʌmp

Noun

  • A child’s term for an elephant.

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Example Sentences

“Don’t forget Clara’s stuffed heffalump — she can’t sleep without it.”

“I’ve called elephants ‘heffalumps’ since my dad read ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ to me when I was a kid.”

“Let’s go to the zoo and see your favorite heffalumps this weekend.”

Word Origin

British English, 1920s

Why this word?

The word “heffalump,” meaning “elephant,” was coined by British author A.A. Milne in the Winnie-the-Pooh books. The first appearance of the charming term was in the original 1926 “Winnie-the-Pooh,” with the fifth chapter titled, “In Which Piglet Meets a Heffalump.” While the illustrations by E.H. Shepard clearly depict what adult readers would know to be an elephant, Pooh and Piglet only meet the Heffalump in their imaginations. The word “heffalump” thus became a childlike synonym for the giant animal, and a metaphorical term for an imaginary creature. Heffalumps became more popularized in Disney’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” depictions, beginning with a song called “Heffalumps and Woozles” in a 1968 animated featurette.

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