Word of the Week: July 24, 2023

Word of the Week: a bookish meme hosted here on Mondays in which we share a word that we find entertaining, enlightening, edifying, or just plain fun to say! Share your own word on your blog, then help me grow the meme and come share it here on mine!

This week’s selection is a word I’d never heard before I went searching for entertaining words. But it’s one I can see being very useful!

I have boys. One is a young adult, one is a teenager. Saturday mornings. I can see it now.

“Boys! Quit hurkle-durkling if you want to get to the donut shop before all the good donuts are gone!”

Writer and language blogger Haggard Hawks had this to say about “hurkle-durkle”:

“Like a lot of the words that crop up on HH, hurkle-durkle is an old dialect term—in this case, one from eighteenth century southern Scotland. One of its earliest records comes from John Jamieson’s Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language (1808):

To HURKLE-DURKLE, v. n. To lie in bed, or to lounge after it is time to get up or go to work. (Fife.)

“Jamieson points to durck or durch—an old Germanic word for the hold of a ship—as the word’s probable origin, perhaps seeing some kind of etymological connection between someone lurking in bed and someone lurking in the dim, grimy bottom of a ship. He should really try changing his sheets more often.

“But in reduplicative words like these, it’s often the case that the first part of the word is the original root, to which a second part has been added as a little more than a rhyming, humorous, playful tag. So okey-dokey comes from okay. Hoity-toity comes from hoit (an old verb meaning to act affectedly or, according to the OED, “to romp inelegantly”). Hurkle-durkle, then, likely comes from the old Scots verb hurkle, or hurkill, meaning ‘to draw the limbs together close to the body’. From there, it’s easy to see where the image of someone cosily curled up in bed, reluctant to get up, might develop.”

Isn’t this a fun word? Have you ever heard it? Might you find a use for it? Leave a comment, and link your own word up in the linky below. Then share the meme to help it grow!

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