Printable Version
Pronunciation: in-gêr-jê-tayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To gobble or gulp down food, to gorge oneself, to greedily devour, raven, snarf. 2. To pull or suck under violently, as by a rip tide.

Notes: We often hear regurgitate, which should mean "gurgitate again" or "gurgitate back", but we never use the verb gurgitate "to swallow". This is a shame, since English possesses today's Good Word, too, derived from the same ostensible underlying verb. Today's word comes with a noun, ingurgitation, and an adjective, ingurgitative.

In Play: We hear or read this word most often in the first sense above: "Chick Pease ingurgitated the whole plate of sausages by himself without so much as a burp." This word has been used in the past in the second meaning above: "The whirlpool ingurgitated Hal's dog like it was famished." We can expand it figuratively to: "Hal didn't simply live life, he ingurgitated it with gusto." Unfortunately, his dog won't be able to.

Word History: Gurgitate still lurks in the shadows of English vocabulary. The OED has an example from 1963. Ingurgitate and regurgitate came out of the 16th century, well before gurgitate arose. All these words come from an equally rare Latin word gurgitare "to engulf", though it comes from a Proto-Indo-European word gwer- meaning "devour; throat". It shows up in Sanskrit as gilati "gulps", Armenian ker "food, feed", and Lithuanian geriu "I drink". Latin also had at least two more words from the same PIE root: gurgulare "to gurgle" and gargarizare "to gargle". English captured the best part of these verbs for its gurgle and gargle. (Let's now thank Eric Berntson, a great ingurgitator of words, for his suggestion that we discuss today's rare Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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