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Transmogrify

“To change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.”

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transmogrifierI learned the word “transmogrify” from one of the best comic strips of all time, Calvin and Hobbes. The Transmogrifier was an upside-down cardboard box that could transform its tenant into any other creature — a tiger, an elephant, a toad, a pile of worms. (Eventually, Calvin invented the Transmogrifier Gun, for more efficient, on-the-go transformation.) Presumably, it could also change a creature into an inanimate object, per Calvin’s stated wish to turn his nemesis Susie into a bowl of chowder.

Truth be told, I used to think it was a word that Bill Watterson, the cartoonist who created Calvin and Hobbes, made up. How wrong I was; it’s based on the very real word “transmogrify,” which means, “to change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.”

The dog park near my apartment has signage painted on the pavement to indicate the dog-friendly areas — stick-figure people walking their stick-dogs. A few months ago, the dogs all transmogrified overnight, into a whimsical array of creatures:

balloon-dog

The balloon animal dog is my personal favorite; other variants include an origami Corgi, Snoopy, and a cat.

This week, your theme is transmogrify. Transform. Morph. Change. Show us something already transformed, on the cusp of transformation, or that you wish you could transform. Share a photo of your human niece transmogrified into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for Halloween, or take a shot of some street art (aka, a wall that’s been transmogrified into something else). Or create a gallery, with a series of photos showing a metamorphosis in progress.

Have fun!

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  1. Really good to have a really challenging word which is not part of everyday lingo. Love the photo! Made me think how what transforms, may quickly becomes acceptable as part of the culture, so that we no longer see it as grotesque. What is a challenge one minute, becomes an opportunity for acceptance in the next and vis aversa. Thanks for the thought!

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  2. Just one little correction. Calvin and Hobbes was not “one of the best” comic strips of all time. It was THE BEST. 🙂

    Great post, and thank you for teaching me that “transmogrify” is a real word. I, too, thought Watterson made it up.

    Like

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