Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

If Thy Fibula Offend Thee…

Posted by Neal on June 17, 2006

A couple of years after Doug got over his Pokémon phase, Adam has now gotten into them. All the Pokémon videos that we checked out from the library or video store back then, we are checking out again now. Even Doug’s interest in Pokémon has been rekindled, and right at this moment, he and Adam are in the family room watching one of the videos we checked out yesterday. Pikachu was in bad shape in this episode, and Ash, Misty, and Brock had to rush him to a hospital. The doctor assessed Pikachu and said,

We’ll have to give it an electric charge. Wheel that defibulator over here!

I was reminded of when one of Adam’s therapists about a year ago mentioned that there’d been a portable defibulator someplace where she volunteered.

“There’s a machine that will remove your fibula?” I’d asked. She looked at me like I was crazy, but heck, she was the one who’d made a statement that presupposed the existence of a fibula-remover. Wow, who knew? The creepy possibilities started going through my mind. Were there detibiators, too? Defemorators and dehumerators? Descapulators and declaviculators? Or scariest of all, decraniators? It was like a Ray Bradbury story I’d read years ago.

Or maybe I was all wrong the purpose of a defibulator. Instead, it could be a device used for reversing infibulations. That would be a much more useful invention, come to think of it.

Of course, the machine that the doctor in the Pokémon episode and Adam’s therapist meant is known to most people as a defibrillator. For some possible phonological and analogy-based explanations of why defibrillator would be pronounced as defibulator, read this post from Bob Kennedy at Phonoloblog.


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