These Words All Have Neoflects Coming Off Them


Did you know that, like aglets for the end of a shoelace or tittle for the dot atop an i, there’s a whole delightful host of terms for the visual cues used in comic strips?

Invented chiefly by cartoonist Mort Walker in a half-joking illustrated mini-dictionary called The Lexicon of Comicana, they include plewds (the big drops of sweat that spring off the foreheads of anxious characters), spurls (the woozy spirals above a characters who’s had too much to drink), and nittles (any star-shaped symbol that subs in for real letters when a character cusses).

Read John Brownlee’s piece at Fast Company for more on vocab morsels and the importance of visual symbology.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →