Printable Version
Pronunciation: gahng-guz-êl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: Gongoozle means to ogle, to rubber-neck, gawk at, to go goo-goo eyed over, to simply stare intensely at something like a gobemouche.

Notes: This funny word has been around since the turn of the last century, but gained currency in the 1970s among Britain's canal travelers. Gongoozlers are those who gongoozle, of course, and their occupation is known up and down the canals as gongoozling.

In Play: I see no reason for quarantining this dandy expression to British canal-watchers. Do bring it up from time to time as friends drop by unexpectedly: "Don't just stand around gongoozling; grab a paintbrush and join in the fun!" And why not call the gongoozlers at football games what they are? Spectator has much too staid a ring about it. But then if you are away at college, you know that guys gongoozling gals and vice versa is a sporting event itself (and forget the phrase scoping out).

Word History: The origin of this word is uncertain, but it may have originated in Lincolnshire, England, as a combination of gawn "to stare vacantly or curiously" + gooze "to stare aimlessly, gape". It is conceivably related to the word goozle "throat" or "uvula", that little punching bag hanging from the top of the back of your throat. It is visible when the mouth is agape, as it is during very serious gongoozling. Goozle originated in Scotland meaning "throat" and might have influenced the originator of today's Good Word. The similarity of this funny word to ogle, goo-goo eyes, and goggles is probably not a prelapsian one, either.

Dr. Goodword,

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