The Amusing Words That Kids Make Up

Children can be very innovative at times, especially with the words they make up.

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Do your kids make words up? Sometimes, they’ve simply misheard or can’t pronounce a regular word, like saying “manana” instead of “banana”, or (in the case of my eldest) calling Grandma Susie “Grandma Oozy”. Othertimes, our children will make up a word if they don’t know the real word to use. 

We asked the Kidadl Facebook group for their own made-up words. In many cases, the family adopts the invented word as their own, and will use it for ever more.

We’d be ‘funcited’ to see your own additions to this list, so please consider this article a ‘bounceline’, that’ll propel you into leaving your own examples on our Facebook conversation (which you can view on your phone or ‘Haribo’ [see below]).


Armbow: Elbow (suggested by both Rachel and Becky)
Arna: Aunty (suggested by Rochelle, “My eldest couldn't say auntie so named my sister arna. Now that's what we all call her.”)
Arnie: Aunty (suggested by Jo, for the same reason as Rochelle)

Bounceline: Trampoline (suggested by Moushumi)
Bouncerine: Trampoline (suggested by Pam)
Bumba: Cucumber (suggested by Katie)
Buscetti: Spaghetti (suggested by Askin, “My daughter says buscetti for spaghetti and we all do as well now.”)
Coca: Chocolate (suggested by Tarryn)
Commotional: Emotional (suggested by Abbie “My 5yo described my over tired, over emotional, tearful 7yo as ‘commotional’”.)
Cuma Cuma: Cucumber (suggested by Leanne)
Czkwkwkszzkw: Strawberries (suggested by Matt, “My 2yo has always struggled with this word (his favourite fruit), and now just gives out a string of random consonants whenever he wants them.”)
Day-dohs: Lids (suggested by Matt. “My 2-year-old would fiercely insist that lids should be called day-dohs and we have a great video of her arguing the point. We think she encountered the brightly coloured lids of play-doh tubs at nursery, and got a bit confused.”)
Dins: Lids (suggested by Tarryn)
Elbow Lane: Hard shoulder of a motorway (suggested by Jo)
Fluffum: Blossom (suggested by Moushumi)
Flutterby: Butterfly (a common one, suggested by Andrea)
Funcited: Excited (Laura’s 4-year-old)
Gaga: Mama (suggested by Kirsty, “My oldest son was 10 months old when he named my mom Gaga. She’s now Gaga to everyone! And he’s almost 12!”)
Gagunga Ball: Basketball (suggested by Tarryn)
Gallerila: Galleria (suggested by Leanne)
Grandman: Granddad (suggested by Asha, “my 6yo calls his grandad “grandman” as for some reason he couldn’t say it properly. It’s now stuck and we often go to visit “grandma and grandman””)
Haribo: iPad (suggested by Hoda “because he used to watch haribo adverts on it when he was a toddler. My husband went on a business trip recently and asked where the haribo was to download some shows”)
Hostabul: Hospital (suggested by Leanne)
Huggle: Cuddle (suggested by Laura)
Lally: Giraffe (suggested by Leanne “My daughter loves giraffes and from a very young age called her giraffe toy “Lally” so now we call all giraffes Lally!”)
Lip Glop: Vaseline (suggested by Tarryn)
Mananas: Bananas (suggested by Matt)
Massimalgrass: Green Beans (suggested by Michelle)
Matunk: Belt (suggested by Michelle, “that’s the sound that Fireman Sam’s belt made when he put it on”)
Monkey Dong: Donkey Kong (suggested by Stephen)
Nushey: Wedgy (suggested by Jackie, “My daughter kept complaining of a ‘nushey’ when she was a toddler. It took us ages to work out she meant wedgy!!! Now we all say nushey instead of wedgy and we forget that other people don’t know what we’re talking about. The only problem we had was when we introduced our daughter to a little girl called Anushka, but obviously her friends called her Nushey which my daughter found hilarious.”) 
Pasgetti: Spaghetti (suggested by Hoda)
Pastaroni: Tortellini with pesto (suggested by Kate)
Pindles and Needles: Pins and needles (suggested by Ariella)
Pizerka: Berserk (suggested by Maudie)
Potato Nuggets: Potato Waffles (suggested by Kate)
Prinkley: A crinkled object (suggested by Rochelle, “My youngest refers to things that are crinkley - like your fingers after a long bath or the slightly harder bits of her blanket - as prinkley, so now we all say that.”)
Sat-map: Sat Nav (suggested by Paula)
Shilk Shake: Milkshake (suggested by Matt)
Snarsh: Mustache (suggested by Polly)
Waffle Doggy: Chocolate Spread (suggested by Natalie. Waffle Doggy is a children’s show about a talking dog, for those not familiar. “We all sound like idiots saying it but it's a habit now. My son is now 3 and recently said 'it's not called waffle doggy, mummy' and I felt sad he was growing up… then he said 'it's waffle doggy spread!'”)
Wale-ish: Welsh (suggested by Paula, “Ireland has the Irish, England the English, Scotland the Scottish, so makes sense. I now find difficult to say Welsh - has for me in trouble.”
Wood Licences: Wood Lice (suggested by Jo)

And saving the best till last…

Wossiecan: Mini-ride outside shops (now a family tradition, suggested by Kaleigh, “my daughter, who’s 17 now, used to call them wossiecan, my sister uses it with her boys and I use it with my other 3 children.”)

See also

What words have your kids taught YOU?
What children say, and what they really mean
What parents say, and what they really mean
When do babies say “mamma” and “dadda”?



Written By

Matt Brown

Although originally from the Midlands, and trained as a biochemist, Matt has somehow found himself writing about London for a living. He's a former editor and long-time contributor to and has written several books about the capital. He's also the father of two preschoolers.

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