This week’s word is jargogle and you won’t find it in your dictionary as it’s an obsolete English word, but I think it needs to make a comeback.

A jargogle of yarn

I came across jargogle in a fun article by Heather Carreiro about obsolete English words. Jargogle qualifies easily for Wordfoolery as it’s fun to say aloud. Jargogle is a verb meaning to jumble or confuse and it dates to the 1690s.

Do we have other words for the same concept? Yes, we do, but honestly are any of them as much fun as jargogle? I also can’t help thinking that jargogle must relate to the confusion which falls upon a thinker after “having a few jars” – i.e. drinking a few pints of beer. I mean we use beer-googles to describe how beautiful people appear when viewed through the bottom of an empty beer glass, so why not jargogle in the same vein?

The West Berkshire Brewery used to produce a Jargogle Stout but nobody has recorded if it jargogled the drinkers.

The origin of jargogle is lost in time, or possibly lost in the pub, although some sources suggest a connection to the word jargon. Jargon itself comes to English from Old French and relates to chattering, idle talk, gibberish, and thieves’ Latin. The idea of a special cant for the society of thieves is intriguing, but I’m putting that one aside for another day in case it jargogles my mind.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

3 thoughts on “Jargogle

  1. Rick Ellrod

    “Thieves’ cant” turns up in a number of Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances . . . and I believe it was also used as a device in Dungeons & Dragons. 🙂

    1. wordfoolery Post author

      A version of it is used in the Locke Lamora books too, but there it’s mainly hand signals.

  2. Pingback: Gadzookery | The Wordfoolery Blog

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