MAD words

It’s potrzebie. It’s Polish for need, want, desolation, or “the lurch” (what you get left in). How it got into MAD I haven’t the faintest idea. Occasional references were made to a “bouncing potrzebie,” which I always assumed was close kin to Silly Putty.

Halavah is probably halvah, the sesame-based confection a k a Turkish delight.

An axolotl is a kind of salamander, as shown in the illustration to the poem I Wandered Lonely As A Clod.

Moxie, of course, is New England’s traditional “nerve tonic.”

Anybody remember Kleftnobulism? It turned up in the course syllabus of Alfred E. Neuman University, circa 1959 if I’m not mistaken.

Nuclear bombs would go FAGROON!. That was always my favourite.

Ah, the sounds of Don Martin. Nothing like 'em.

Although Al Jaffee was no slouch at representing noises with letters himself.

THUP! THUP! THUP! THUP!: car flattening turtles swarming the road during mating season

ZZZNKZBK SNUGERNT BLITNGGG: one mutha of a loud snore

- PUK - : ring coming off a pull-tab can without opening the tab (the expression on the guy’s face would have broken your heart)

and the absolutely masterful depiction of coins falling down the guts of a vending machine:

Well, as this article states, the MAD parody of Batman Forever was called “Batman Fershlugginer”, with this particular “f-word” spelled the way I remember reading it in numerous issues of the magazine and compilation paperbacks. However, the next sentence gives “knocked around” (I always interpreted it as “doscombobulated” – close enough) as the definition of “furshlugginer”, which is either a typo or the essayist’s preferred version of the word. I guess different spellings prevailed in different areas of Europe, and later among different Jewish families in the USA.

Beware of Doug: Polish contributed a lot of words to Yiddish (as did German), so it’s not surprising that the Jewish members of the “usual gang of idiots” (Gaines, Jaffee, Berg, et alii) were aware of “potrzebie” and popularized it among their Gentile colleagues and the magazine’s readers.