Printable Version
Pronunciation: gah-bêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. (Transitive) To eat very fast, voraciously, as to gobble up her food. 2. (Intransitive) To make the sound of a turkey.

Notes: Gobble, gobble, gobble, degook!Welcome to alphaDictionary's Thanksgiving Sale: two Good Words for the price of one! The turkey, that Thanksgiving staple of carnivores, only accidentally makes a sound resembling the word meaning "to devour", to gobble (up, down). Both words have only native English forms: gobbling refers to either activity and a gobbler is a person who eats too fast or the bird most likely to be gobbled up in the US today.

In Play: We held this word back to the season when gobbler-gobblers gobble (recently) gobbling gobblers: "Don't gobble that gobbler, Junior, it might accelerate your growth." (I suspect that these are more examples than anyone needs, so let's move on to the history of gobble.)

Word History: Gobble is based on Middle English gobben "to drink greedily", from gobbe "lump, mouthful" (gob today). Middle English picked up the word from Old French gobe "mouthful", which also went into the making of goblet. It also turned up in another Good Word, gobemouche. The turkey's gobble took its name, of course, directly from the sound that the turkey makes (onomatopoeia). Gobbledygook is a contribution of Representative Maury Maverick (1895-1954), whose grandfather gave us the word maverick. Rep. Maverick based the word gobbledygook on the behavior of turkeys back in Texas. According to him, they are ". . . always gobbledy-gobbling and strutting with ludicrous pomposity. At the end of this gobble there is a sort of 'gook'."

Dr. Goodword,

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