Sunday, November 22, 2009

Say What?

Last night one of my roommates interrupted my story of the race to ask what the word gump meant. I gave her my "are you really that dumb" look that I probably use too often (and probably should work on not giving anymore), and explained what it meant.

Then I saw Canofjam's comment, pondering on the same word. I generally give her more credit on those kinds of things, so I started to wonder. Maybe this word isn't as well-known as I thought it was.

I checked The Internet.



I googled "gump." Lots of Forrest Gump references and Return to Oz references, and even one for Weird Al.

I googled "gump definition." All I got was about dunces and oafs. Even the slang dictionary only gave that definition.


I started writing this post up, shaking my head and wondering what other fake words my family has taught me, what other family folklores there are that I think are universal but really don't make sense to anyone else.

I tried The Internet once more. I googled "gump toilet."

Ah Hah! Southern California company that rents out portable toilets. Andy Gump Toilets. The world starts to make sense again, why my friends wouldn't know the word that is a solid, if not integral, part of my language.

For all you non-Southern Californians out there, a gump is a portable toilet. I guess Port-a-Potty is a less regional name for it that people might know.

So now you know.

Now I have to go see about the clothespin on your mother-in-law's tongue.


Anonymous said...

Ah, enlightenment...

Becky Blunt said...


Becky Blunt said...

"Gump" is an abbreviated form of "Andy Gump," which is a brand name portable commode. In Yosemite Park they had gumps on stilts, which you have to climb a ladder to enter. The tops are cone-shaped. These features are so that the facilities will be useful to skiers in the winter. The cone-roof sloughs off snow, and the stilts elevate the commode so it won't be buried in high snow accumulations. DQ called them "rocket gumps" because of their appearance.
The very idea that your family would teach you fake words!