Is humongous a word?

A STAFF REPORT FROM THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD

Dear Straight Dope:

What is the deal with the word "humoungous" (or however it is spelled)? In searching my trusty Funk & Wagnall's for the correct spelling, I was taken aback at the lack of an entry. Further investigation, including 5 more dictionaries, a Random House thesaurus, and my computer spell checker, offered no respite. It seems humoungous, as big a word as it is, may not be a word after all. If recent memory serves me well, the expression "duh" was added to Webster's tome last year. Why the humoungous absence?

Lileth replies:

Well, Dove, it took me about 5 seconds to find the word “humongous” in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. It does help if you spell it correctly. Still, your spelling is not so far off that you couldn’t have found the word somewhere in the “H” section.

hu*mon*gous also hu*mun*gous (adjective)

[perhaps alteration of huge + monstrous]

First appeared circa 1967

Extremely large: HUGE

Now, go look up “duh.”

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

STAFF REPORTS ARE WRITTEN BY THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD, CECIL'S ONLINE AUXILIARY. THOUGH THE SDSAB DOES ITS BEST, THESE COLUMNS ARE EDITED BY ED ZOTTI, NOT CECIL, SO ACCURACYWISE YOU'D BETTER KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED.

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