Printable Version
Pronunciation: sah-gi Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Soaked with moisture, soft from wetness, sodden, mushy: a soggy dishcloth. 2. Dull, lifeless, lacking all spirit: a soggy speech. 3. Humid, sultry: a soggy night.

Notes: Today's word is common enough, but it is one of those words we use daily that has meanings beyond the one we usually use. It comes with an adverb, soggily, and a noun, sogginess.

In Play: Soggy ground after a heavy rain is common enough, but we may also say things like: "Mortimer enjoyed evenings by the lake even when they were a bit soggy." Or even: "Gladys Friday's plan revealed evidence of considerable soggy thinking."

Word History: In Middle English today's word was soggan, either borrowed from Norwegian dialect soggast "to become soaked" or from English dialectal sog "to become soaked". It is clearly related to soak, which was soken in Middle English. Soken came from PIE seuê- "liquid" that, with a different suffix, went into the making of English soup, sup, and sop. The difference between [k] and [g] is just a matter of voicing (vibrating the vocal cords). Potential Middle English soky "soaky" is likely to have changed to soggy, since English tends to voice consonants between vowels. This tendency can be heard in the identical pronunciation of writer and rider, rooter and ruder. Latin preserved the [k] sound in its succus "juice", which went into the making of succulentus "juicy", which English borrowed as succulent. (Today's Good Word comes from the never soggy vocabulary of Rob Towart.)

Dr. Goodword,

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