In his most recent monologue on The Late Show, the comedian host Stephen Colbert, gently mocked a New York Times reporter's style of writing (watch the excerpt on YouTube)

“500 words” she whispered, her silken robe sliding to the floor as the morning sun hit her bedude form.

I think that's how the word "bedude" is supposed to be spelled, if word it is. I looked and searched online and found nothing. It's my guess that Colbert misspoke, and I would normally shrug it off; however, seconds later he repeated the term bedude [?], quite emphatically I may add. Saying

Even (This is getting sexy, this is kinda getting sexy. I like “bedude”). Even people at the White House don't know what to do, there is no war room…

Mr Colbert is an educated man, a fine wit and appears to be extremely well-read, on more than one occasion he has cited poetry and literary passages by heart, so maybe I am wrong and maybe bedude is a "word".

I have checked online but unearthed nothing of value. So, bedude could be an inside joke, a malapropism, a spoonerism for denude, it could be that I have misspelt it, or it might be none of the above.

  • @choster Ohhhhhh... that makes sense. Please post an answer, so I can accept it! – Mari-Lou A Mar 14 '19 at 14:26
  • While bedewed is certainly right here, it feels like "bedude" could be used to make fun of the recent lexical popularity of "bespoke." – TaliesinMerlin Mar 14 '19 at 16:57
  • @choster I hope they're analogous droplets because if she's got literal dew on her she's cold - dead cold. Maybe she's too delicate to sweat. – Chris H Mar 14 '19 at 19:15
  • Choster may well be working or sleeping and deserves any rep from an answer. That would be enough to stop me taking their guys and turning it into an answer – Chris H Mar 14 '19 at 19:18
  • @ChrisH I replied almost instantaneously, and checked an hour or two later to see if he was online, he was. Choster, for whatever reason, didn't feel like posting it as an answer. That's fine, I'm glad that Jason Bassford did, maybe a mention about the pronunciation and its spelling would have been nice, but I'm not complaining. Upvoted and accepted. – Mari-Lou A Mar 15 '19 at 2:21

As per a comment under the question, bedude is not a word. However, bedewed is.

From bedew:


: to wet with or as if with dew

We can assume that's the word he's pronouncing—and presumably he's describing the sun shining off of water droplets on her body. (Although, oddly, the YouTube closed-captioning used specifically ignores that single word—even when it's spoken a second time.)

  • Anything about the pronunciation? Is "dude" and "dewed" pronounced the same in the US because in BrEng I detect a slight difference, the former sounds /duːd/ while the latter sounds /djuːd/. – Mari-Lou A Mar 15 '19 at 10:34
  • Those are pronounced the same in the US in my experience. – Davo Mar 15 '19 at 12:10
  • According to Merriam-Webster, dude is pronounced düd also ˈdyüd, while dewed is also ˈdyü. (So, it's just the addition of a d to the present verb.) I wouldn't think there is normally a difference. – Jason Bassford Mar 15 '19 at 13:58

He may have said or meant "benuded", as in "made nude".

  • You can hear Colbert speaking in the YouTube link I posted. He definitely did not say "benuded" – Mari-Lou A Mar 14 '19 at 18:22
  • Then it would probably be, as Choster said, bedewed. – PvtBuddie Mar 14 '19 at 18:51
  • i listened ... could not tell what word he enunciated. Someone could ask him. – lbf Mar 14 '19 at 21:52

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