Crikey reader Michael had an interesting postscript to offer to yesterday’s story about the Holden blimp invasion at the weekend’s AFL Grand Final.  Here’s his photo of the Holdenburg casting its shadow across the hallowed turf.   

 For those readers of a certain age and musical tastes, writes Michael, “it was an irresistible image. It wasn’t crop circles, but other circles on a field…”

 Speaking of musical inflations, it’s hard to go past Homer Simpson’s ode to the Duff blimp (sung a la Georgie Girl): “Hey there, blimpy boy, flying through the sky so fancy free…” But lest you think it’s only pop culture that concerns itself with the phenomenon, literary heavyweight JRR Tolkien weighed in with this explanation of blimp etymology in 1926:  

It is perhaps more in accordance with their looks, history, and the way in which words are built out of the suggestions of others in the mind, if we guess that blimp was the progeny of blister lump, and that the vowel i not u was chosen because of its diminutive significance–typical of war-humour.

Even so, the Second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary has a couple of other possibilities, including a bit of onomatopoeia – “blimp” is the sound an air ship would make when rebounding after an officer had flicked it to check for pressure.

Peter Fray

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