Words at Play : Top 10 Words from Trademarks

#4: Pablum

The term pablum means "something insipid, simplistic, or bland" – which is unfortunate, because its namesake was a brilliant invention.

In 1930, a trio of Canadian pediatricians created a cereal called Pablum (a name based on the Latin word pabulum, meaning "food" or "fodder") to help prevent rickets in infants. Packed with vitamins and minerals, their cereal was precooked to be easily digestible by young bodies. The product was a lifesaver and a hit.

Because of the cereal's lack of flavor, however, the word pablum developed its metaphoric meaning – a sense that dates at least as far back as 1948.

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April 18, 2015
wimple Hear it
to veil, ripple, or meander
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