Printable Version
Pronunciation: -jet Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, Verb

Meaning: 1. [Noun] (Dialectal) A leather bag, such as a purse, moneybag, or tool bag. 2. [Noun] A statement of income and expenses or the money itself set aside for an undertaking, such as a household budget, state budget, or national budget. 3. [Verb] To plan carefully all the details of an undertaking.

Notes: Today's Good Word works as well as a verb as the noun whence the verb was derived. We can speak of the entertainment budget of a household or the money budgeted for entertainment. The adjective for this word is budgetary, as the budgetary discipline most of us find so difficult to adhere to.

In Play: This Good Word today refers basically to a financial plan: "The boss won't budge on his opposition to adding free lunches to the budget for next year." As a verb, however, it refers to any kind of planning: "Hans needs to budget his time better so that he has more time to devote to his job even if he has to spend less time on the golf course."

Word History: In Middle English this word was bouget "wallet", freshly borrowed from Old French bougette "little bag", the diminutive of bouge "a leather bag". Old French inherited this word from its mother, Latin, where a leather bag was a bulga. Etymologists think Latin picked this word up from one of its Celtic neighbors. It ultimately goes back to Proto-Indo-European bhelgh-/bholgh- "to swell, bulge". In fact, bulge itself came from the same root. This word came to Old English as belgas, which was belowes by Middle English, and is bellows today. A shortened form of the Old English word became beli in Middle English and today refers to that large pouch too many of us carry wherever we go—the belly. (Now it is time to budget a little space to thank Tobias Poensgen, a Lexiterian in the Alpha Agora, for suggesting today's surprisingly Good Word there.)

Dr. Goodword,

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