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GRUELING

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GRUELING

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:47 pm

• grueling •

Pronunciation: gru-ê-ling • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Extraordinarily demanding and exhausting, 'punishing'.

Notes: Today's word seems to be an isolate, a lexical orphan without any relatives. However, it is an old participle of the verb gruel "to punish" (see Word History). If you live in the UK or other English-speaking region that uses British spelling rules, you will probably want to double the L in this word: gruelling. One L is sufficient in the US.

In Play: This common adjective refers to an exhaustion that is like punishment: "Constance Noring had a grueling day at the office: the boss kept looking over her shoulder all day." It is a good vocabulary item for those who consider any type of work punishment: "I lead a grueling life: clean up my room, clear the table, take out the garbage—one grueling task after another!" Sounds like a teenager, doesn't it?

Word History: Today's Good Word started out as a noun referring to a thin, runny oatmeal served to the ailing and infirm. It was also served in prisons to criminals and from this association it gathered a metaphorical sense of "punishment". Throughout the 19th century, "get your gruel" meant to get your just deserts (not desserts). By 1891 the noun gruel was being used alone as a verb meaning "to punish". Gruel was borrowed in 1199 from the French word with the same spelling. French borrowed it from an Old Germanic word grut "coarse meal, malt", a derivative of an even older word meaning "grain". From grain to punishment is a long semantic trail for a word to traverse.
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Re: GRUELING

Postby gailr » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:47 am

If you live in the UK or other English-speaking region that uses British spelling rules, you will probably want to double the L in this word: gruelling. One L is sufficient in the US.

Please sir, may I have more L's?
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Postby Perry » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:23 am

Have the criminal system reforms of the last century managed to eliminate gruel and unusual punishment?
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Postby Bailey » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:30 am

Is it related to grue

I hadn't realized this was even a word until I used it in an online word game; and it was accepted!

mark anyone-eating-oatmeal-knows-gruesome Bailey

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Postby bnjtokyo » Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:36 pm

"grue" is also a color term for the portion of the color wheel including both green and blue and is used describe in English the denotation of the relevant color term in languages that do not have separate color terms for green and blue. Specifically, "grue" indicates the denotation of the Japanese word "aoi." In many languages that have only five primary color terms, one of those terms denotes "grue."
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