Printable Version
Pronunciation: gêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: To cheat, deceive, or trick; to sucker.

Notes: We occasionally come across a derivative of a word that has outlived the word it is derived from. Today's word, to gull, is another about to be left behind by several of its derivations, gullible and gulley (See Word History). We like to save words like this from the dustbin of history. So, let's resolve to use it this year to replace its boring synonyms like those above in the Meaning.

In Play: Gulling calls into question the honesty of the guller: "Polly Graf gulled me into agreeing to pay for dinner before she told me that she had invited 20 people." Gulling is never a pretty business: "Les Cheatham somehow gulled his parents into bailing him out of jail for a fourth time."

Word History: Today's word, gull, began as a noun referring to what we swallow with, a throat or gullet, then moved on to become a verb meaning "to swallow". The noun came to mean a person who "swallows" (believes) everything they hear, then this sense became a verb meaning "to convince someone to "swallow" (believe) something". The same root appears in gullet and gulley, a long trench that water streams through very much like it goes down a gullet. The original root also emerged in Russian gorlo "throat" and German Kehle "throat".

Dr. Goodword,

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