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The Entry That Wasn't Meant To Be

Wibble is a nonsensical metasyntactic variable* that has become useful in a large range of circumstances. In fact, so far has this word spread (it even appearing in domain names such as www.wibble.net) that it seems necessary for it to have an entry all of its very own.

Whence Wibble?

Many people claim to have originated this word, this Researcher among them. However, once one delves into just when and where 'wibble' has been used, it seems that 'parallel evolution' comes into play. Perhaps it is such an obvious, pleasing word, that it can't help but be invented.

One possible origin is from the 'Roger Irrelevant' strip which appears in 'VIZ*' comic which began in 1979.

'Wibble' was also used in the 'Your Sinclair' magazine that was devoted to the Sinclair computers. It was published between 1984 and 1994 by Dennis Publishing. It appears to be used to describe meaningless text as in "it contained strange wibble written by...".

The 'Blackadder' connection

In Episode (look this up) it formed a series with `wobble', `wubble', and `flob'. (Need to find the actual script to flesh this bit out :-) ( I can't find this quote. Anyone?. I've also found one quote apparently attributed to Blackadder goes Forth: You didn't say WIBBLE!)

A Blackadder Christmas Carol (speaking is Queen Asphyxia XIX)
Asphyxia: Hah hah hah hah hah! Excellent, Commander! You have most
pleasantly wibbled my frusset pouch. Bring forth the gift
with which you honour me.

Yes, but what does it mean?

Sometimes it doesn't mean anything. Sometimes it's merely a placeholder. If you don't know what to say then a 'wibble' placed in the conversation will get you off the hook. As an exclamation when you're stumped a 'wibble!" is quite effective.


Once there was a system in Minnesota called the MECC Timeshare System (MTS), an educational time sharing system, which is now no more. Importantly, however, this system originated the word 'humma', which is a filler word used when you feel it's important to say something, but have nothing to say. This word migrated to early Unix systems and can now occasionally be seen on IRC
and similar 'chat' systems.

It appears, at least in the UK, that 'wibble' is becoming an equivalent statement to 'humma'. That explains that, now doesn't it?

The importance of 'wibble' to the World Wide Web

One of the great mysteries of the Internet is exactly how do you pronounce the 'www' that begins so many addresses on the World Wide Web.

One obvious suggestion is of course 'double-yew double-yew double-yew', but this is burdensome. Another, more reasonable suggestion is 'wibble'. Thus 'www.bbc.co.uk' would be pronounced 'wibble dot bee bee see dot see oh dot you kay'.


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