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Monday, September 24, 2012

For All You Mullygrubbers!

mullygrub (verb)
mullygrubs (moody noun)
mullygrubber (person to avoid)

The word mullygrubs came up on NPR recently and befuddled many people — both reporters and listeners. This is one of the best one-word descriptions alive (barely); it is attached to those moody, lackadaisical, gloomy, annoying people who just collywobble around, bringing negative energy to everyone.

If that isn’t enough to keep you away (or to keep you from becoming one), know that collywobble is a verb meaning to “belly-ache” (derived from “collic” and “stomach ache”). Got it?

Where the term mullygrub comes from is equally interesting (to us word geeks). An Aussie reports that a mullygrub is a cricket noun, referring to a bowled ball that “just rolls along the ground, keeping the batsman from scoring more than one run”, and therefore turning the defeated bowler into a collywobbler who resorts to any method to win with no consideration of long-term results. (Sounds as if it should be part of U.S. political grammar.)

Wait! There’s more! The word mully is a variant of muley, which refers to cattle with no horns. And how do hornless cattle behave without a means of defense? They get the mullygrubs, which turns them into very blah animals — thus mullygrubbers — blue, sad, down in the dumps.

Don’t be a mullygrubber! Forget the collywobbles and get out there and throw a party, ride a roller coaster, ask an attractive person out to dine, run naked through the stre... no, better skip that last one!

1 comment:

The Grammar Anarchist said...

This is NOT written by the Grammar Anarchist, but I wish it was. The author is Joanne Nakaya. Get a load of her writing blog!