‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ is probably Edward Lear’s (1812-1888) most famous poem loved by kids as well as adults: in 2014 it was voted the nation’s favourite childhood poem.
Edward Lear wrote it in 1868 for Janet Symonds, 3-year-old daughter of the poet and literary critic John Addington Symonds.
The word ‘runcible’ that has eventually made its way into the Oxford English Dictionary as a nonsense word was coined by the author. Its meaning remains a mystery. It doesn’t help that Edward Lear himself used it to describe such different things as his hat, a wall and even his cat
Lear didn’t help matters: as well as applying the word to a spoon, he went on to use ‘runcible’ to describe his hat, a wall, and even his cat Foss.