Martin Gardner, The Annotated Alice:
Derived from the verb “swab” or “soak”; the wet side of a hill.
‘The side of hill’ (from its being soaked by the rain).
Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed.:
A factitious word introduced by ‘Lewis Carroll’ (see quot. 18552). 1855 ‘L. CARROLL’ Rectory Umbrella & Mischmasch (1932) 139 The slythy toves Did gyre and gymble in the wabe. Ibid. 140 Wabe, (derived from the verb to swab or soak). ‘The side of a hill’ (from its being soaked by the rain). 1871 — Through Looking-Glass 24 The slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.« Back to Glossary Index