Words & Stuff

S: Tom Said (Reader Comments and Addenda)

(11 November 1997)

Jim had sent me some more of his Swifties that I forgot to include in the column:

Danny Fahs provides the most plausible explanation I've heard yet of the "Tom Swifty" name:

While the Tom Swift books do not contain puns of this sort, if you read them you will find that only rarely does anyone simply "say" something. Instead, they say things angrily, dejectedly, with enthusiasm, and so forth. Certain wags began parodying this overuse of adverbs, and thus the "Tom Swifty" was born.

And of course he adds a few of his own:

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Jed Hartman <logophilia@kith.org>