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Here's the part of the poem "Missing" by A.A.Milne:

He must be somewhere.

I'll ask Aunt Rose:

Have you seen a mouse with a woffelly nose?

He's just got out…

Hasn't anybody seen my mouse?

What does the word woffelly mean here?

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    Not sure it has to mean anything, poems have entirely different rules, this seems like something very much in the line of Lewis Carrol, who admitted plenty of words in his works didn't have any special meaning (being chosen because the word fit whatever sound scheme was being sought, though he didn't outright admit the last). Mar 19, 2022 at 6:20

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This is not a real word. At least it's not in any dictionary I checked. Either Milne made it up, or he used a word which his real son Christopher made up. The closest real word I can find is 'whiffle', which is a noun ('a soft sound, like that of breathing or a gentle wind') and a verb ('make a soft sound, like that of breathing or a gentle wind'). I can't find the adjective 'whiffly', but it would make sense. A child mishearing or playing with language could easily change 'whiffly' to 'whoffly'. (In general 'o' sounds louder and deeper than 'i' - think of ping pong or ding dong.)

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    As the mouse in question is a real one, not a toy, my guess is that it refers to the twitching of the mouse's nose as it sniffs the air. Mar 19, 2022 at 8:22
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    @Sydney I managed to find this: definder.net/woffely. It says that woffelly is when you are sad. I don't know. But I guess your version about whiffle sounds more like true. Mar 19, 2022 at 16:18
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    @JConstantine: Thanks. That website takes its definitions from the Urban Dictionary, which is a website which anyone can contribute to. I would accept it as helpful about many things, but wouldn't accept it as definitive about anything. There are other definitions which don't fit so well.
    – Sydney
    Mar 20, 2022 at 10:02
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Children often make up words. This poem is supposed to be spoken by a child and the word is a nonsense word, such as a child might invent. The word might make an allusion to "waft" but it isn't a regular or normal construction.

AA Milne used lots of child-like language in his books. Most famously "Winnie-the-Pooh" (a very odd name for a bear, if you think about it)

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    (Winnie from Winnipeg - and the name of a bear at the zoo, Pooh from the name given by Christopher Milne to a swan [if the swan doesn't come when you call its name, you can pretend you were just saying pooh at it], and so Winnie-the-Pooh, because you know what therrr means, don't you.)
    – James K
    Mar 19, 2022 at 18:12
  • because you know what therrr means, don't you.? - What does therrr mean? Mar 20, 2022 at 0:39
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    That is a quote from Winnie-the-Pooh, in which Christopher Robin is explaining the name:>> When I first heard his name, I said, just as you are going to say, "But I thought he was a boy?" // "So did I," said Christopher Robin. // "Then you can't call him Winnie?" // "I don't." // "But you said——" // "He's Winnie-ther-Pooh. Don't you know what 'ther' means?" // "Ah, yes, now I do," I said quickly; and I hope you do too, because it is all the explanation you are going to get.
    – James K
    Mar 20, 2022 at 7:37

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