Tag Archives: Words the Australians Gave Us

Maybe it’s time to Oozle


This week’s word is oozle, with thanks to the O series of “Qi” on BBC.

Ozzle appeared on a list of unusual O words on the programme I watched recently and although they didn’t discuss it, it struck me as one worth future investigation. Turns out that oozle is a rare word used in Australia and New Zealand so it wasn’t surprising that it was a new one for me as I’ve yet to journey that far.

According to the OED, oozle means to move slowly or lazily and dates to the late 1800s. It is compounded from ooze and the suffix -le. Ooze itself is an older word which entered English in the late 1300s as a verb and noun, all related to slow moving sap, mud, or slime from a selection of Saxon, Norse, and Germanic root words.

The slow turtle was inspired by the sloth to oozle a little more this week

As a result the idea of something, or somebody oozling is that they are moving as slowly as sap slipping from a cut in the bark of a tree, or mud slowly settling. One creature which has mastered the art of being slow is the sloth, native creature to Central and South America and an inspiration to me and my family as we slouch with books and leftover Easter chocolate at the moment. I may not oozle quite as slowly as a sloth, but I’m working on it. Slowly.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and oozley wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

Beware Here Be Phubbers


This week’s word is with thanks to friend of the blog, Sheena McDonald, who shared this one – phubbing. I usually find old words for this blog but this is a recent word and desperately needed which explains why it has reached the dictionaries already.

Phubbing (pronunciation here, the ph is like an f) is defined as “The act of ignoring someone you are with and giving your attention to your mobile phone instead”. This is now so common that a verb was certainly needed.

Phubbing was created as a word in May 2012 thanks to a campaign by the Macquarie Dictionary of Australian English to find a term for this habit. They invited lexicographers, authors, and poets to coin a word for the behaviour. Phubbing was suggested y Adrian Mills and David Astle of the McCann advertising agency who were working on the campaign to promote the dictionary.

The word phubbing is, as you might guess, a compound of phone and snubbing. Wordfoolery is against the habit, but loves the word.

Until next time happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,

Grace (@Wordfoolery)

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