Tuesday, March 10, 2015


    Hell of a nasty winter up here in the woods this year. Dooley the dog, who is growing older, has gravitated from sleeping in the corner of the cabin on his Indian blanket to sleeping with me in the bed. He has become quite the snuggler. It has not gone unappreciated even though he has been only one small dog on many three dog nights.

    I am getting older, too. Aside from the creaking and grunting, I just don’t have the mental acuity  I used to have. Over breakfast this morning I said the word “snuggle” out loud and laughed. It was the “uggle” that struck me funny. I wondered what an “uggle” might be. Was it Latin or Greek, some middle English derivative of an act of uggling? There was, after all, juggle, smuggle, muggle and struggle…it must mean something, right? I am embarrassed to admit that I actually researched the etymology of “uggle”.
   My google search returned UGG Boots and Ugglebarnby, a Parish in North Yorkshire England. Ugglebarnby or Uglubarthr’s Bi, as it was originally known, has a meaning that is, if anything, more enticing than the music of the word. The ‘bi’ was simply a Viking word for a farm and Uglubarthr was the Viking owner of this farm.
    Looking deeper, Uglubarthr means literally ‘Owl Beard’ giving us Owl Beard’s Farm. This led to the Eagle Owl, well-known in Scandinavia, which  sometimes has a discoloration of tufted feathers at the chin looking like a beard. Fascinating, I thought, but I still had no idea how the “Sn” of snuggle was enhanced by the “uggle”.

“Did you google that?” Dooley asked.

“Yes”, I replied.

“Are you also going to look up “oogle” from google?”

After a long thoughtful pause, I answered with a simple, “Oh.”

   So, Dooley taught me a “gle” simply transformed a noun into a verb in some cases and there was no meaning to the "uggle" I had pointlessly extracted. Sigh.   
  Not a wasted morning, though. I learned that sometimes a journey begun with a false step can still lead to enlightenment. Long live the Eagle Owl.


Gorges Smythe said...

Deep thoughts. ;-)

Angela said...

Glad to see you and Dooley are back to blogging! It was a pretty bad winter this year in my neck of the woods also. I am so glad that spring is finally here!