Friday, March 8, 2013


Meaning: has two meanings, both of which you could guess from the sound of the word; the first is to be flattering or fawning, and the second, as the OED delicately puts it, is "to display affection, to behave amorously."  The affection doesn't have to be romantic, though; it can be parental or platonic.

Usefulness: 1 (You might not get to do much of the latter, but you'll almost certainly need to do some of the former.)

Logofascination: 1 (Apparently an Antipodean term, the OED suggests a verb form of smudge as an ancestor, probably a variant of smooch, although Cotgrave has the much prettier spelling of smoutch in defining the French baiser: "To kisse, to smoutch, to smacke." Cotgrave obviously preferred his kisses on the hearty side.)

In the wild: I live near the Edinburgh Gardens, which have been a popular smooging spot for some time.  A friend sent me this photo of diary extracts (I'm not sure what year, I'm sorry) which are displayed at the State Library of Victoria. "Worked, evening wrote letter and then went out to meet mash, posted letters, went to Edinborough Gardens, sat there smooging for a time." Substitute 'Facebook' for 'letters' and it's your average Fitzroy day, really.

Degrees: 2

Connections: smooging - fawning

Which is used in: G&P, Book the Third, III: How Panurge praiseth the debtors and borrowers. Pantagruel has offered to free Panurge of debt, but Panurge argues that lending and borrowing is good for the world, and that being in debt is good for him:
You can hardly imagine how glad I am, when every morning I perceive myself environed and surrounded with brigades of creditors--humble, fawning, and full of their reverences. And whilst I remark that, as I look more favourably upon and give a cheerfuller countenance to one than to another, the fellow thereupon buildeth a conceit that he shall be the first despatched and the foremost in the date of payment, and he valueth my smiles at the rate of ready money,
Alas, Sir Thomas did not receive such smooging from his creditors.

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