dreaded wheat


Senior Member
'Now that I couldn't play the game (Quija board) with her anymore, I was happy to ally myself with my brother. We'd tag-team tease her:

"Hey, Ossie, what do baby ghosts eat for breakfast? Dreaded wheat!"
"What do you call a ghost's mother? Trans-parent!"
from Swamplandia (a novel)​

Is there such a thing as 'dreaded wheat'?
What does 'dreaded' mean when used to modify wheat?

Or does 'dreaded wheat' literally mean 'wheat that causes fear in people'?

Please help. Thanks!
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    This is a pun—and in my humble and juvenile opinion, a good one. The play on words involves a very well-known breakfast cereal called "Shredded Wheat." The word "dreaded" here retains its usual meaning (q.v.) but its "dreadedness" might cause only disgust, not fear.


    Senior Member
    It's a "play on words", a joke. The speaker is combining 2 words... shredded and dreaded so instead of saying shredded wheat (which is a breakfast cereal), it becomes "dreaded wheat". Dreaded wheat is not real, but I suppose if the wheat had been poisoned it could be called dreaded wheat.
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