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Open Dictionary word of the week: shoogle

shoogle (verb)

a Scots word meaning to shake

Just shoogle it about a bit and it’ll come loose.

(Submitted from the United Kingdom)

There were a lot of new words added to the Open Dictionary over the last week. Here’s a list:

completist, nominative determinism, Libor, net neutrality, GLT, telephone number salary, run out of road, Higgs boson, lowball, green on blue, lowballing – and looking at this list, if you’re in the UK and semi-conscious at minimum, there’s definitely a summarized news-story of the last week in there. A free dictionary in the post to anyone who’ll tell it …

As for me, I’m just going to go for shoogle. Because there’s something about Scots that draws me in. I mean, say it out loud: shoogle. You can’t help but say it in a swishy whisper and smile a bit. Give something a shoogle. So much better than giving it a little shake.  We ran a campaign two years ago now that travelled the world looking at how English is spoken in different countries. And Scottish-English month was one of my favourites. (By Scottish-English I mean to say the type of English that is spoken in Scotland when the Scots speak English, I don’t mean to imply that Scots is a type of English … I was lectured on this point by a Scotsman … at least I think that’s what he said, all I heard was music.)

Anyway, I think English could do with a whole lot more Scots in it. Though, another thing (generalization) I learned during Scottish-English month was that it’s the Edinburgh accent that brings the music and the ‘Weegie’ accent that brings the humour. But I won’t insist on that because I don’t know, that was one blogger’s patter. Also, Vikki Reilly wrote a blog post which mentioned shoogle during that month and I liked her description of it:

Shoogle, in Scots, shake, in Standard English. And yet, shoogle is a more specific kind of shake: it’s the gentle shake you give your presents under the tree, or of a key in a difficult lock. It’s a less violent action, although it definitely doesn’t cut it as a rock ’n roll number … shoogle yer tail feather, anyone?

If you do pop over to the Open Dictionary recent entries, you’ll see that another Scots word came up last week: jamp – past tense for jump. See, I think that’s good too.

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Laine Redpath Cole

1 Comment

  • My Scottish friend and I had babies at the same time and we used the word ‘shoogle’ to describe the picking up, cuddling and gentle jiggling of our babies to stop them crying. If one of the babies started to crumple her face, one of us would say to the other ‘here, you give the bairn a shoogle while I get the feed ready’. This post brought back happy memories, thanks Laine!

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