Printable Version
Pronunciation: wahm-bêl Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To randomly and nauseatingly move in the stomach, causing it to rumble and gurgle. 2. To dodder, totter, shake, move unsteadily. 3. To twist and turn, wriggle about.

Notes: The fact that I could not find a synonym for the first sense of this word proves its necessity in the English vocabulary. This verb may be used as a noun in all three senses above. It comes with an adjective, wambly, and a noun, wambliness. The pronunciation of this word was probably influenced by wobble.

In Play: In the sense nearest the original one, we might hear someone say, "Every time June McBride sees Phil Anders, her stomach begins to wamble." The second sense usually refers to elderly people or drunks; however, it might just as well refer to a healthy, sober actress: "Marilyn Monroe was an actress who knew how to wamble in the sexiest way."

Word History: In Middle English today's word was wamlen "to feel nausea, stagger", from a Scandinavian source probably akin to Danish vammel "nauseous, nauseating". Vammel was created from a Germanic version of PIE wem-/wom- "to vomit" that also produced Swedish vämja "to feel sick" and Modern German wimmeln "swarm, seethe". Outside the Germanic languages we find Latin vomere "to discharge, vomit", which underlies vomitorium. Greek emein "to vomit" lies at the base of emetikos "causing vomiting", borrowed by English as emetic. Lithuanian vemti "to vomit" and Latvian vemt "to vomit" are Baltic reproductions of the same PIE word. (Now let's thank Susan Maynard for finding and sharing with us today's Good Word, which is crucial to the English language.)

Dr. Goodword,

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