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Nov 18, 2019
This week’s theme
Words to describe people

This week’s words
gongoozler
hail-fellow
connoisseur
gangrel
vulgarian

gongoozler
Gongoozlers at Foxton Locks, UK
Photo: Stephen Dawson / Wikimedia

Previous week’s theme
Misc. words
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Nietzsche once said, “At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.”

What words describe you or people you know or people in the news? To describe unique beings we need unique words. In this week’s A.Word.A.Day we feature five words to describe people.

gongoozler

PRONUNCIATION:
(gon-GOOZ-luhr)

MEANING:
noun: An idle spectator.

ETYMOLOGY:
Of uncertain origin, perhaps from Lincolnshire dialect gawn and gooz, both of which mean to stare. Earliest documented use: 1904.

NOTES:
Rubberneckers gawk at highway accidents, trainspotters spot trains, and gongoozlers goozle gons. Well, no, language doesn’t work like that. Originally, a gongoozler was a person who liked to hang out around canals watching passing boats. Over time, the word has evolved to refer to anyone who likes to stare at some activity. See also, kibitzer.

USAGE:
“To get rid of a gongoozler, stare at him through binoculars.”
Terry Darlington; Narrow Dog To Carcassonne; Bantam; 2005.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Physicists are made of atoms. A physicist is the atom's way of knowing about atoms. -George Wald, scientist and Nobel laureate (18 Nov 1906-1997)

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