• googly •
Pronunciation: gug-lee • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective
Meaning: 1. Wide-open or protruding (eyes), agog, as in awe of something or swooning over someone. 2. Rolling, slowly spinning (eyes). 3. Quirky, eccentric, odd.
Notes: Today's Good Word has nothing to do with Google or the verb referring to a web search, to google. Rather, it refers to anything unusual about normal eyes: either protruding eyes, eye agog, or rolling eyes. 1919 saw the launch of the longest running comic strip in the history of comic strips, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, that inspired the song by Billy Rose, "Barney Google with the Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes" (1923). To make goo-goo-eyes or googly eyes at someone means "to be completely entranced by them".
In Play: This word is generally associated with eyes: "The Muppets are puppets with googly eyes the size of ping-pong balls." In the sense not referring to the eyes, you might hear something like this: "Morton acted a bit googly for a week after receiving the news that he was to become a father."
Word History: This word was originally a mispronunciation of goggle(-eyed) , which has existed since the 14th century. Googly has only been around since the turn of the 20th century; the first instance was recorded in 1901. Goggle is certainly related to agog. which is probably from Welsh gogi "to shake" or Scots Gaelic gog "a nodding or tossing of the head". One, now probably archaic, meaning of goggle was "shake the head". However, nothing further suggests itself on the origin of today's word. (Iain Smallwood's Good Word suggestions, like today's, often leave our readers a bit googly.)