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Dudgeon

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Dudgeon

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:01 pm

• dudgeon •


Pronunciation: 'dê-jên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: No, today's word has nothing to do with subterranean jails, but rather the mood of someone leaving one: a feeling of angry resentment, indignant or simply ill humor. At one time it also referred to the wood of the boxwood tree, a material favored for the handles of knives and daggers because of its curly grain and unlikelihood to splinter, hence dudgeon-daggers.

Notes: Because this word has fallen into some disuse, it has not developed a family. In fact, it is used today only in the phrase in . . . dudgeon, as in deep dudgeon, in high dudgeon, in great dudgeon. It may also be used as a verb itself: "You haven't been dudgeoning around your boss again, have you?"

In Play: Dudgeons are most often associated with unhappy departures that are usually measured in the extreme by the adjective before the word. In Little Women Louisa May Alcott wrote: "Slamming the door in Meg's face, Aunt March drove off in a high dudgeon." However, dudgeons arise in other situations, too: "I hope it will not put you in a dudgeon if I tell you that your purse doesn't match your dress."

Word History: The origin of dudgeon is covered by a rather thick veil of mystery. The best guess is that it was originally endugine. Then by a process known as 'apheresis', the loss of an initial vowel, it became dugine, and from there, dugeon, perhaps influenced by the spelling of dungeon. Endugine may (or may not) have come from Welsh dygen "malice, resentment" with an enhancing prefix en-, added for what reason, no one knows. If so, it would be related to Cornish duehah, duwhan "grief, sorrow". It is historically unrelated to dungeon so far as anyone knows. (I hope this paltry word history does not put George Kovac, who suggested today's rare but still Good Word, in a high dudgeon or, for that matter, even a low one.)
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby MTC » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:57 am

Memo to the Members:

It seems "dudgeon" is almost always "high," almost never "low." But, why? The more we think about it, the less it makes sense. We use words and expressions about everyday experiences more often than we use those about experiences which occur less often. Experiences which give rise to "low dudgeon" are more common than those which give rise to "high dudgeon" for the same reason inflated phone bills and parking tickets are more common than assaults and batteries. (We hope.) Therefore, we would expect to see "low dudgeon" used more often than "high dudgeon." Yet, somehow, we don't.

The reason may be as simple as verbal snobbery. "High dudgeon" sounds more high class than "low dudgeon." Many of us would prefer--without admitting it--to exit a room in "high dudgeon" than in "low dudgeon." However, to quote Henry Higgins, "This Verbal Class Distinction, By Now Should Be Antique."

Besides having the virtue of utility, "low dudgeon" fits neatly into the language. For example, consider the idiom "do a slow burn" (to have a feeling of anger that gradually increases); to increase from "low dudgeon" to "high dudgeon."

In summary, there are many good reasons "low dudgeon" should immediately be put to common use, and no good reasons why it shouldn't. Please take the issue under advisement, and strike a blow for verbal equality the next time you vote.

Yours as ever,

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Last edited by MTC on Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:37 pm, edited 12 times in total.
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby call_copse » Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:23 am

I can only raise a state of indifferent dudgeon as to your quest for advanced dudgeon levels.

Meh, I believe Americans are wont to say.
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:31 pm

Society for the Advancement of Verbal Equality ("SAVE")



Are there bylaws and rules? How about dues?
Weekly/Monthly newsletter> how does one sign up?
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby Slava » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:42 pm

call_copse wrote:Meh, I believe Americans are wont to say.

I don't know if it's strictly American, but it has been through the Good Doctor's operating room: Meh.
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:48 pm

Meh.
I ran across it in an Orson Scott Card novel: "Ender's Game", and
that for the first time in my reading. Or maybe it's just the
first time I ever paid attention to it. The novel is to be
a movie later this year. "meh" sounds very strange to me, even
when reading it. Just not this part of the country, I suppose.
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby gailr » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:02 pm

When one is in high dudgeon, one may well be getting on one's high-horse about it.

Getting on one's low horse in a state of low dudgeon would seem ineffectual, barely attracting the attention -- let alone commiseration -- of passersby.
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby MTC » Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:19 pm

A tepid response to the Memo at best...

I am reminded of the aristocracy's cruel indifference to grievances of the common man immediately before the French Revolution. "Meh, let them eat cake," one famously remarked. Likewise, we ignore the legitimate grievances of verbal rabble like "low dudgeon" at our own peril. Lacking a sympathetic ear, the disenfranchised may take to the streets. "Liberté, égalité, fraternité!" will be their battle cry. Lexical chaos could well result. Those who ride a high horse should take heed.

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Re: Dudgeon

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:06 pm

Sorry fraternity or brotherhood is no longer politically correct. It would have to be humanitéhood!
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:20 pm

I'm sure glad I don't subscribe to
political correctness. Are you doing away
with sororities too?
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby Slava » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:59 pm

I wonder how sisterhood would come out in French. :)
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:53 pm

"Religieuse"
{but I had to look it up: soeur is an odd word}.
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby Slava » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:27 pm

LukeJavan8 wrote:"Religieuse" {but I had to look it up: soeur is an odd word}.

But would this not mean only religious sisters, not simply women?

I'm looking for a gender-specific replacement for fraternity and brotherhood. Fraternité - Sororité?
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:05 pm

When I was at Baylor in the 50's, they had neither, being opposed to Greeks. They did have social clubs, which had all the ills without the national pressure to excel.

Ergo, PC would have us say "clubs."
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Re: Dudgeon

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:12 pm

Slava wrote:
LukeJavan8 wrote:"Religieuse" {but I had to look it up: soeur is an odd word}.

But would this not mean only religious sisters, not simply women?

I'm looking for a gender-specific replacement for fraternity and brotherhood. Fraternité - Sororité?



I see what you are looking for. I don't know for sure, but I
think 'religieuse' is feminine. I do some checking too. And I
wonder if the French are into political correctness, since all
their nouns are either masculine or feminine?
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