Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- adj. Miserable and flimsy: a blend-word.
This word was coined by Lewis Carroll in 1855. In 1880, ‘mimsy’ also came to mean, in British English, prim; careful; affected; feeble, weak, lightweight. ‘Mim’ is a much older word meaning ‘primly silent,’ either imitative of the pursing up of the mouth, or coming from the Scottish Gaelic ‘min,’ delicate, meek.
“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; / All mimsy were the borogoves, / And the mome raths outgrabe.”
“Last year, he even collaborated on an operetta like – as Tucker would have put it – a mimsy, bleating public schoolboy who lives with cats and an Aga.”
“Like the author himself, Pam’s fond of pilfering the imaginations of other writers ('mimsy borogoves' is her appellation for her eyes, a phrase that comes courtesy of Lewis Carroll).”