Context and definition 
Carroll published Through the Looking-Glass in 1871. Near the beginning, Alice discovers and reads "Jabberwocky". The word "vorpal" appears twice in the poem, which describes a young boy's quest to slay a monster called the Jabberwock:
- He took his vorpal sword in hand:
- One, two! One, two! And through and through
- The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
- He left it dead, and with its head
- He went galumphing back.
As with much of the rest of the poem's vocabulary, the reader is left to guess at the meaning of "vorpal" from the context. It is commonly assumed to mean "deadly" or "sharp", but could also be referring to the material of which the sword is composed. Some readers have imagined other properties the word could describe. Alexander L. Taylor points out in his Carroll biography The White Knight that "vorpal" can be formed by taking letters alternately from "verbal" and "gospel".
Carroll himself once wrote, "I am afraid I can't explain 'vorpal blade' for you—nor yet 'tulgey wood.'"
Popular culture 
In the game Dungeons & Dragons, a Vorpal Sword is defined as a sword with the magical effect that it tends to cut off opponents' heads. This makes sense in that the poem's plot results in the hero carrying away the head of the Jabberwock.
In the 1987 seminal RPG, Dungeon Master, the Vorpal Sword was a black-bladed, kris-like weapon.
In the 1989 Macintosh RPG TaskMaker, the Vorpal blade is one of many obtainable weapons.
In the novel Mirror, Graham Masterton explains that "vorpal" means "Victory Over Ruin, Pestilence And Lust".
In the game Dynasty Warriors, the element that causes instant death is known as "vorpal".
In the computer game League of Legends, Vorpal Blade is an ability of the champion Shen, and Vorpal Spikes is an ability of the champion Cho'Gath.
The Vorpal Sword appears in the graphic novel series Fables in which the sword has the mythical property of cutting through any known object
In Baldur's Gate 2 computer game, the Vorpal Sword is composed of the shaft and blade taken from Githianki, grants a good chance to kill an enemy with one hit (called Vorpal hit).
In Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East, the Pit Lord's ability Vorpal Sword means at least one creature of the opposing stack must die during an attack.
In the original PlayStation game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the Vorpal Blade is a single handed sword dropped by the Archer that "Slices cleanly through enemies". Its appearance mimics the "dicing" ability of the much more powerful Crissaegrim sword.
In the Game Boy Advance RPG game Golden Sun, a sword called Elven Rapier can be found inside Bilibin Cave. The unleash effect of this weapon is called Vorpal Slash, dealing more damage than the normal attack.
In the game Munchkin (expansion 3 "Clerical Erors") the Vorpal Blade is a treasure card. This 1-handed weapon gives +3 and an extra +10 against anything that starts with the letter "J" ("don't ask what vorpal means either")
In the roguelike Nethack, the Vorpal Blade is an artifact weapon that can be found by the player, giving the wielder a 5% chance of beheading any monster with a head. The chance increases to 100% against Jabberwocks, as per the original poem.
Vorpal Dagger is a weapon in World of Warcraft.
In the video game Pikmin 2, one of the treasure the player can collect is the Vorpal Platter which is just a can lid.
In the Super Famicom game Tales of Phantasia, the Vorpal is a Blade used to forge the sacred Eternal Sword. Also, in this game it has ice properties.
Vorpal swords appear as weapons in Glasshouse, a 2006 science fiction novel.
In the song "Barael's Blade" by the metal band The Sword, the titular weapon is described as being "honed...to vorpal sharpness."
In the RedPower 2 modification for the video game Minecraft, there is an enchantment that players can achieve named "Vorpal". It increases chances for enemies dropping their heads as loot for the player to place into the world.
In the online game Adventure Quest, when using the Vorpal Sword (after being upgraded at a guardian tower), a message sometimes appears saying, '"Snicker-SNACK!'
It was Alice's weapon for slaying the Jabberwocky in the movie Alice in Wonderland.
In the 2006 Doctor Who novel "The Nightmare of Black Island", Rose and the Doctor refer to Jabberwocky's nonsense words.
See also 
- Gardner, Martin, ed. (1971) . The Annotated Alice. New York: The World Publishing Company. pp. 195–196.