Podcast gobbledygook

Printable Version
Pronunciation: gah-bêl-dee-guk Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: (Slang) Pretentious bureaucratic jargon; the language of red tape, bureaucratese, legalese.

Notes: Gobbledygook is a loner; it has no adjective or verb, not even a plural. Of course, it is not standard or formal English, so only use it humorously in (very) informal conversations. Never sign a legal document containing this word or what it refers to.

In Play: Gobble-gobble-gobbledy-gook!The creator of this word originally intended it as a more descriptive terms for bureaucratese: "I can't read all that gobbledygook on the tax returns; I sent the IRS what I could afford and left it up to them to fill out the forms." However, it is the stock in trade of any con artist who tries to pretext you: "The guy fed me some gobbledygook about a banking investigation that required a check for $2000 from me, so I threw him out."

Word History: Texas cattleman Samuel Maverick (1803-1870) not only gave English its word maverick, he also gave us his grandson, Maury Maverick. Maury served two terms in the US House of Representatives (1935-1939), where he had difficulty communicating with his congressional colleagues. He said it was because they spoke gobbledygook. When asked what that was, he responded that the word was based on the sound turkeys (the winged kind) made back home in Texas. They are ". . . Always gobbledy-gobbling and strutting with ludicrous pomposity." At the end of this gobble, according to Representative Maverick, there is a sort of gook.

Dr. Goodword,

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