Printable Version
Pronunciation: grah-gee Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Inebriated, drunk, tipsy. 2. Dazed, dizzy, shaky, woozy.

Notes: Today's is a rich adjective with a large nest of relatives: a comparative (groggier) and superlative (groggiest) degree, an adverb (groggily), and a noun (grogginess). The word's sense comes from grog, an old sea-goer's drink made by mixing rum with water to make the rum last longer—if not the crew itself. You don't want to drink yourself a grog blossom, the permanent rosaceous (red, pimply) nose caused by excessive imbibery. In Australia and New Zealand grog refers to beer or other cheap alcoholic beverages.

In Play: There are many ways to become groggy without the assistance of alcohol: "I haven't been this groggy since I got trapped in the revolving door of a hotel." For this reason, the word has become a synonym of such words as dizzy and woozy: "Walking into a door would make anyone groggy, but are you sure you weren't a bit off keel before you took that door on?"

Word History: Admiral Edward Vernon (1684-1757) is the father of grog. The word comes to us from his nickname, Old Grog, derived from the fact that he frequently wore a grogram coat. Grogram was a coarse material blended of silk, mohair and wool, sometimes stiffened with gum. This word, in its turn, is a corruption of the French gros grain "large, coarse grain", still used in the clothing industry, as in grosgrain silk. Gros devolved from Latin grossus "thick". Grain came from Latin granum "seed, kernel", which traces its ancestry to the same root that produced English kernel and corn. (Our ungroggiest gratitude is owed Grant Hutchinson for putting us on the trail of today's dizzyingly Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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