Gull

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Dr. Goodword
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Gull

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun May 17, 2020 6:08 pm

• gull •


Pronunciation: gêl • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: To cheat, deceive, or trick; to sucker.

Notes: We occasionally come across a derivative of a word that has outlived the word it is derived from. Today's word, to gull, is another about to be left behind by several of its derivations, gullible and gulley (See Word History). We like to save words like this from the dustbin of history. So, let's resolve to use it this year to replace its boring synonyms like those above in the Meaning.

In Play: Gulling calls into question the honesty of the guller: "Polly Graf gulled me into agreeing to pay for dinner before she told me that she had invited 20 people." Gulling is never a pretty business: "Les Cheatham somehow gulled his parents into bailing him out of jail for a fourth time."

Word History: Today's word, gull, began as a noun referring to what we swallow with, a throat or gullet, then moved on to become a verb meaning "to swallow". The noun came to mean a person who "swallows" (believes) everything they hear, then this sense became a verb meaning "to convince someone to "swallow" (believe) something". The same root appears in gullet and gulley, a long trench that water streams through very much like it goes down a gullet. The original root also emerged in Russian gorlo "throat" and German Kehle "throat".
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Gene Engene
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Location: Washington State

Re: Gull

Postby Gene Engene » Mon May 18, 2020 12:22 pm

Is there any evidence as to how this became attached to a creature, the seagull? Though, it does appear that they are willing to attempt to snap up, and swallow almost anything.

bnjtokyo
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Re: Gull

Postby bnjtokyo » Mon May 18, 2020 8:15 pm

The Etymonline Dictionary for "Gull 1, 2 and V" is
gull (n.1)
shore bird, early 15c. (in a cook book), probably from Brythonic Celtic; compare Welsh gwylan "gull," Cornish guilan, Breton goelann; all from Old Celtic *voilenno-. Replaced Old English mæw (see mew (n.1)).
gull (n.2)
cant term for "dupe, sucker, credulous person," 1590s, of uncertain origin. Perhaps from verb meaning "to dupe, cheat" (see gull (v.)). Or it is perhaps from (or influenced by) the bird name (see gull (n.1)); in either case with a sense of "someone who will swallow anything thrown at him." Another possibility is Middle English gull, goll "newly hatched bird" (late 14c.), which is perhaps from Old Norse golr "yellow," from the hue of its down.
gull (v.)
"to dupe, cheat, mislead by deception," 1540s, earlier "to swallow" (1520s), ultimately from gull "throat, gullet" (early 15c.); see gullet. Related: Gulled; gulling.

Re-arranging the citations in chronological order we see
"newly hatched bird" (late 14c.)
"throat, gullet" (early 15c.)
shore bird, early 15c. (in a cook book)
[Which reminds me of something I read in Capt. William Bligh's log book covering his voyage to Timor in the Bounty's launch after the mutiny]
"to swallow" (1520s)
"to dupe, cheat, mislead by deception," 1540s
"dupe, sucker, credulous person," 1590s

Gene Engene
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Re: Gull

Postby Gene Engene » Tue May 19, 2020 1:35 pm

Aha -
"Or it is perhaps from (or influenced by) the bird name (see gull (n.1)); in either case with a sense of "someone who will swallow anything thrown at him."

A logical (likely?) connection at that. Thank you.


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