It’s just mind ‘bogling’, really.

I spotted some click-bait the other day promising ‘mind bogling’ content.

Not so much a pier as a pi!
‘Where’s the rest of the pier? It’s been bogled!’

I think they meant ‘boggling’, and I have to say that if they ARE going to troll for views, they could at least proof their own typing.

But then I decided it might be intentional, which got me wondering about what ‘bogling’ might possibly mean. It looks like Brit public school slang of the kind the RAF were so good at appropriating. Probably more verb than noun or adjective. You know: ‘I say, Carstairs, remember the time we were bogling around on the Wankie game reserve when I saw this bally tiger?’, or ‘Bigglesworth! I think Jerry’s just dropped in for a quick bogle.’

Bogle seemed such a good word of itself that eventually I decided to try my luck with the OED. You never know. And there it was. Not too surprising. English has over one million individual real words in it, including walrus and calypigian.† And bogle. This, it turns out, is a noun of sixteenth century origin, meaning variously a phantom or goblin; or – in Scotland – a scarecrow.

Of course, that wasn’t what the writers of the click-bait meant with their typo, but in any event I declined to click on it. I didn’t want to be bogled.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016

 † Walrus, allegedly, was one of the definitions penned by J R R Tolkien when he took up work for the OED as his first ‘day job’. Calypigian, on the other hand, isn’t. It dates to the late eighteenth century and means ‘well shaped buttocks’. Really. Look it up in the OED if you don’t believe me.

12 thoughts on “It’s just mind ‘bogling’, really.

  1. I agreed to give a friend the dreaded honest criticism of his short story. I was dismayed by the number of typos in it, but there in the first line was a reference to the protagonist’s “waking stick”. And I feel so conflicted because he can’t mean that, but a waking stick is just what a story ought to be written about.

  2. I think I like it better as Raff slang than old Scottish, but that’s just me. Esp. the Bigglesworth bit. As for “calypigian,” doesn’t that refer to the demi-goddess Calypso?

    1. I definitely prefer the RAF slang myself. According to the OED calypigian is of Greek origin, but only linguistically and not a reference to the goddess – but I figure it should be!

  3. As a child, growing up in Scotland we were told the ‘ghostie bogles’ would get us. LOL. Bogle is also quite a common surname in the South west of Scotland.
    Weird what turns up🙂

    1. Certainly is! I didn’t know that. As a kid, I remember stories about ‘bogies’, meaning ghosts or goblins, which I suspect were linguistically of the same origin.

  4. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the article writers. Maybe they really do intend to bogle our minds. Perhaps they are a nefarious cult of satanic worshippers whose world domination plan involves using click-bait to draw people to their website, where a series of coded images will reduce our brains to mush and thus prepare us to be consumed by the Dark One’s goblin hordes.

    Or maybe they just can’t spell.

Comments are closed.