Following is a quote from the novel, "Requiem, Changing Times" by R J Parker (emphasis mine):

"I had that rash on my face from that fish Mom got - that was the last meal that came out of that restaurant - on my face. I was going to tell Mom and you told me it was nothing to worry about and before I went to school you told me I had 'hymnodies' on my face. You said if I told Mom it would only make mom angry if she had to stay home from work to take care of me. So, I went to school telling everybody that I have hymnodies on my face."

What does "hymnodies" refer to in this context?

Dictionary provides the following meanings:

  1. hymn singing
  2. hymn writing
  3. the hymns of a time, place, or church

From the sound of it, the word appears to refer to some kind of a skin disease. What exactly does it mean?

  • In the story 'you' misused the word "hymnodies". It has the meanings you suggested, and in context it means what you suggested. I can't think of a similar-sounding word. 'You' may have confused the word "hymnodies" with another word, or 'you' may have just used a word that sounded good.
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 7:04
  • Perhaps 'you' (the person addressed in the quotation) meant hives? Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 9:27
  • The child had something like hives, as Kate Bunting suggested, for which antihistamines might well be prescribed. Someone - punningly or mistakenly - calls these 'antihymnodies'. Clearly such things would get rid of 'hymnodies'. Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


This is an author, writing in the voice of a child. Notice the use of "mom" and the repetitious use of "that". This is not how an adult speaks.

Children make mistakes with words. Here someone used the wrong word for "hives". It might be a childish mistake, or it might be a cruel joke. However, the use of the word here is unrelated to its dictionary meaning. It is being used wrong on purpose.

It might sound plausible to a child that a rash is called "hymnodies" because it sounds a bit like real medical language.

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