• truckle •
trêk-êl • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, Verb, intransitive
Meaning: 1. [Noun] A caster, a small wheel, such as is used on a truckle (trundle) bed. 2. [Verb, intransitive] To sleep on a truckle bed, in a subservient position. 3. To be subservient, submissive, or servile, to fawn; to submit out of weakness.
Notes: Today's Good Word sounds very much like a native Germanic term but, as the History will show, it, too, comes from Latin. However, it so fits the native mold that it is treated like a native term: the noun and adjective are formed with the general suffix, -ing (truckling) and someone who truckles is a truckler. Notice two other words that rhyme with truckle also mean "to submit": to knuckle under and buckle to (pressure). Both came later than truckle.
In Play: You may expand the second meaning of today's word to imply subservience: "I always take the high bed and never truckle." This word is intransitive but does allow objects of the prepositions to and under: "There goes Ben Downe, trucking to the office for another day of truckling to his manager." The preposition best fitting the third sense is often before: "I will never truckle before public opinion (for less than $100,000 a year)!"
Word History: How is servility related to a wheel? It isn't obvious but, believe it or not, it is clear! The original word meant "small wheel, caster", which was used to name the truckle bed that rolls on truckles under a larger bed—now sometimes called a trundle bed. Now, the truckle bed rests under the main bed, in what may be taken as a subservient position. This gave truckle the new, broader meaning of the verb. We borrowed the word, trocle "pulley", when we were looting Latin, along with trochlea "system of pulleys", now referring to a bone that looks like a pulley. All these words go back to Greek trokhos which meant "wheel", of course.
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