A hop, a skip and and a hirple

I play a lot of online Scrabble on Facebook (called Lexulous) with my mom and I cheat. I use one of those word generator web sites that help you put your letters together into words most people have never heard of, let alone used in a sentence.

In order to make myself feel better, I always look the word up though (so if Mom questions me I can say, with confidence, “oh, what a childish jape they played on her!”). So imagine my utter delight in discovering the word hirple.

To hirple is to walk with a limp. It also has the distinguishable honor of being one of two words that rhyme with purple (the other being curple ~ you look that one up).

Naturally, I prefer hirple to limp. So does my Mom, who at 90, has just recently started using a walking device ~ we now prefer to go on hirples together, rather than plain old walks.

You won’t find it in every dictionary (although apparently it is in the OED, the grandaddy of all dictionaries). Lest you don’t  believe me, it can be found in the Urban Dictionary and MSN Encarta:



Please add hirple to your daily vocabulary and let’s see if we can get it to rejoin all the English dictionaries out there. I would hate to see such a fantastic word disappear completely from our lexicon.

7 thoughts on “A hop, a skip and and a hirple

  1. All’s fair in love and Lexulous, Eeka. That what the Scrabble Solver and the Dictionary of Difficult Words, etc., are for!

  2. Many thanks to my dear friend Bob who sent me this:

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines HIRPLE as “To move with a gait between walking and crawling, to walk lamely, to drag a limb, to hobble.”

    Earliest found uses: 1571 Aesop Fables: “The hard-back Hurtchen and the hirpland Hair.” and “I saw the Hurcheon and the Hare In Hodlings hirpling heere (sic) and there.” (I tried to follow the Old English spellings!).

    Also the Middle English Dictionary the earlier word used above HIRPLEN (v.) (a) To walk with difficulty, hobble; (b) to be wrinkled.

    (a) c1400 St.Anne(1) (Min-U Z: Iosep 3hode hyrpland be þe strete.

    (b) a1400(a1325) Cursor (Vsp A.3): Þair armes hari, wit hirpild [Göt: harplid] hid, War sette til elbous in þair side.

  3. Well, that pretty well sums it up: hobbling around with wrinkles. I did like the bit from Aesop’s Fables, though. Anybody know what a Hurcheon is?

  4. Good blog! I reallydo love how it is easy on my eyes as well as the details are well written. I am wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post was been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which really should work! Have a nice day!

  5. Within the first several characters, I was about to excitedly invite you to a rousing game of Facebook Scrabble (the orig, rather than Lexulous)… and a few more choice words in, was aghast to find that you cheat. Oh, the HORROR!!

    Just to keep you honest, perhaps the next time you visit Seattle, you’ll have to come by the LoveShack (we have a great view of Lake Washington), get out the rusty Scrabble board (in analog), feed you some wine, and make you do it from memory. Sclerosis be damned: I have a loooong history in the music industry, and I think that makes us even.

    Love, Your Friendly Neighborhood Scrabble Playing Bald Guy

    • Randy ~ I played an analog game with Gail (see my blog post about Bisbee) and she KICKED MY ASS! Lest you forget my friend, I’ve got MS AND 30 years in the music industry!
      I’ll take you up on your offer when in Seattle though, and succumb to the shame of being a cheater.


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