I found the phrase “My sincerest contrafibularities, Tim” given to one of the comments to my question about the word, 'Cromulent' in EL&U site.

As I was totally unfamiliar with the word, ‘contrafibularities’ (as well as 'Cromulent'), I checked Cambridge, Oxford, and Merriam-Webster online dictionary. None of them registers ‘Contrafibularities.’ GoogleNgram doesn’t carry this word either.

However, I was able to find the definition of this word as ‘A form of congratulations as used by Edmund Blackadder to mock Doctor Samuel Johnson, author of the dictionary’ in www.urbandictionary.com, and its origin;

Blackadder: "Allow me to be the first to offer Dr. Johnson my most sincere contrafibularities! I am anaspeptic ... Contrafibularities: Obviously from contra, against, + fibula, the smaller of the two bones in the lower leg. Means 'pulling one's leg,' in www.reviewers-choice.com.

I don’t understand why combination of prefix ‘contra’ and ‘fibula’ come to form the meaning of ‘Congratulations.’

But as it looks like the salute giver used this word quite casually (I think) to congratulate a comment poster, the word (contrafibularities) wouldn’t be any unusual word.

However, I would like to make sure of popularity and usability of this word. The word may be taken for granted as casually among native English speakers even among cab-drivers and burger-shop waitresses (I use these jobs just for the purpose of reffering to an average person).

But, if I speak this word in conversation with or use in writing to native speakers, am I ridiculed or jeered by them as being awkward?

  • 7
    Quoth Blackadder, addressing Yoichi: “I am anaspeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous that my contrafibulations have caused you such pericombobulation.” In other words, he’s indeed pulling your leg. See here.
    – tchrist
    Aug 24, 2012 at 23:38
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    I would say this word may safely be avoided. Do not bother to add it to your vocabulary at all, and certainly not your workaday vocabulary.
    – Robusto
    Aug 24, 2012 at 23:56
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    I'm a great fan of Blackadder, and was glad to see Rowan Atkinson still on form at the Olympic opening ceremony, but realistically I think this one is Too Localised. Whatever - have +1 for publicising one of our current greats, @Yoichi! I must also admit that even though I'm as familiar with contrafibularities as I am with supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, I never realised what reviewers-choice.com says is "obvious" - from contra, against, + fibula, the smaller of the two bones in the lower leg. Means 'pulling one's leg,' Aug 25, 2012 at 0:48
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    @Yoichi Oishi: I think cruritractive and buccalingual are a different kind of "non-word" than contrafibularities and cromulent. The second two are actually known to quite a lot of culturally-aware people - who sometimes repeat them partly or purely to advertise their cultural credentials. Personally, I thoroughly approve of this, providing I know the words too - it helps remind us how much common culture we share. Aug 25, 2012 at 1:51
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    @YoichiOishi My abject apologies if I seemed to mock you; I intended quite the opposite. Observing your very polished use of the language, and your Reputation, which are both at odds with your modesty, I wondered if perhaps you were perhaps writing seriously but somewhat tongue-in-cheek and pulling our legs; so I manufactured those two silly Latinate neologisms to express my admiration and appreciation of your wit. Aug 25, 2012 at 1:58

2 Answers 2


The reason you haven’t found it in a dictionary is that it doesn’t exist, as a word.
As a popular culture reference, it relates to the episode of 'Blackadder' where the title character decides that the best way to annoy a man who claims to have recorded every word in the language is to use words that he can’t have recorded, because Blackadder has made them up.

(I would have thought that something that can only be found in urbandictionary is immediately suspect to the point of incredibility, but perhaps I’m unduly cynical.)

  • "a man"?? Dr. Samuel Johnson ffs!
    – Jez
    Mar 29, 2014 at 20:16

This word will only be known to some fans of the BBC television program Blackadder. Other people will give you blank looks.

  • 4
    Here is the skit on YouTube, the word is spoken at 1:22
    – Cameron
    Aug 24, 2012 at 22:39
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    It's a joke word. As ΜετάEd said, very few native speakers will know the word. First time I've read it. Don't use it in normal conversation.
    – user21497
    Aug 24, 2012 at 22:39

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