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As Halloween quickly approaches, Frankenstorm is sneaking up on the East Coast. Forecasters are calling the hurricane headed for New York, New Jersey, and as far inland as Ohio, “Frankenstorm” because (like the monster in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus) this storm is stitched together from three different weather systems, Hurricane Sandy from the Caribbean, a western early winter storm, and a cold influx of Arctic wind from the north.

In German, the name Frankenstein translates to “stronghold of freemen,”  most likely referring to various castles and battlements around the country that also carry the name. Mary Shelley however, believed the name came to her in a vivid dream. But now, in the case of “Frankenstorm,” the application of the “Franken-” prefix might not be on point. In Shelley’s novel, Dr. Victor Frankenstein never names his creation. Instead he disowns the monster by refusing to name it, referring to it as “demon,” “thing,” “wretched devil,” and a long list of awful aliases.

Fear not meteorologists: you are not alone in the inaccurate ‘Franken-’ ascription! With terms like ‘Frankenbike’ (a bicycle pieced together from scavenged parts), ‘Frankenfood‘ (slang for genetically modified crops), ‘Frankenbite,’ (a sound bite that’s been synthesized from many disparate quotations), or even Tim Burton’s film Frankenweenie about a dog brought back to life with electricity, the public loves to ‘Frankenize’ words. But whether or not Mary Shelley is turning in her grave, the fictional Dr. Frankenstein is definitely turning in his. Regardless of accuracy, the media has chosen to ignore the good doctor’s wishes and now Frankenstein’s monster bears his family name in popular culture, sewing the prefix onto the vernacular like the creature’s salvaged limbs.

So grab a copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and a mug of hot cocoa. Let’s weather this Frankenstorm with the source.

What words would you like to Frankenize? Tell us here.

135 Comments

  1. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 24, 2013 - 7:38 am

    I never heard anyone add “franken-” onto a word before.

    My friend Alex named his Webkinz tree frog “Froggenstein.”

    Reply
  2. Nobody in particular -  December 13, 2012 - 7:13 pm

    I find it amazing how much the book differs to the movie. In the book, Frankenstein’s monster is intelligent, yet in the movie, he is stupid.

    Reply
  3. Mogs -  November 29, 2012 - 8:14 pm

    Frankennoise a noise made by made noises put together.

    I❤making up words

    Reply
  4. Ronda -  November 7, 2012 - 5:22 am

    They weren’t horror writers, they (Lord Byron, Percy Shelly and his wife Mary Wollenscraft) were Romantic poets and socially conscious writers. They enjoyed Gothic literature and had this writing contest to help while away the time.

    Reply
  5. svenjamin -  November 2, 2012 - 2:36 pm

    Or, perhaps since the discussion refers to the prefix ‘franken’ I should have said, “Franken, Al”.

    Reply
  6. yoyp -  November 1, 2012 - 3:11 pm

    frankenstin is for real!!!!!!!~!~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  7. yoyp -  November 1, 2012 - 3:09 pm

    super storm “sandy”is long gone,but damages are still seen throuout the coastnof new york.

    Reply
  8. Sherpa -  November 1, 2012 - 1:23 pm

    Franken-zam… Any test that combines areas of study. ACT, SAT, LSAT,
    MCAT etc….

    Franken-nerd… Anyone, including myself, who has read all the posts and added to them :)

    Reply
  9. SJH -  November 1, 2012 - 10:05 am

    Interesting. :)

    Reply
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