Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I am at my happiest when I --- no, not shop, as you might assume from the photo above. No, nothing puts a smile on my face faster than finding a wonderful new word.

Today, that new word is “Pungle.” Listen to this:

to pungle (third-person singular simple present pungles, present participle pungling, simple past and past participle pungled)

Oh, what does it mean? Again, not to shop but kind of an allied meaning – To pay, hand over or shell out. Who’da thunk there would be such a word!

The on-line dictionary that sends me a word each day (well, three of them do, but Merriam-Websters “Word of the Day”) today dangled this new word before me. It also said that this was a “regional” word. Since I live in a region (southern California) where it likely would be said, I have to tell you that I’ve never heard it used, even once. My old Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary dated bout 1975 doesn’t show it, nor does my newer Webster’s All-in-One Dictionary & Thesaurus (created in Cooperation with the Editors of Merriam-Webster.) These books are like my backup Bibles, and I figured if it was a word, one of these would surely have it. But no.

Nevertheless, the online “Word of the Day” says
"Pungle" is from the Spanish word "pĆ³ngale," meaning "put it down," which itself is from "poner," meaning "to put" or "to place," or more specifically "to contribute money." The earliest uses of "pungle" are from the 1850s and are in reference to anteing up in games of chance.
It also said that Mark Twain used it in Huckleberry Finn, and that in 2009 a San Francisco Chronicle writer used it to describe getting ready to pay the fees now required to adopt an animal from the pound. “They pungled up $107 to cover…”

The other use of it is a simple one which I’ve done myself many times in my life without realizing it: pungle up for pizza.

What I like about this word is that if you use it, you’re not likely to be thought a fairly pompous ass like when a person uses “pusillanimous” or “Myrmidon” – two of my favorite words that I am comfortable in using but which usually cause a bunch of “askance” eyeballing toward me. Not only will it be easy to remember the word, but I actually believe I can pungle with the best of them. In fact, the local Ralphs Market is already the recipient of about one-hundred dollars worth of pungling from me each week.

I certainly live in the region where no one should be surprised if I use it. And I think I might have a bit of fun with Jerry by asking him if he would like to pungle for dinner tonite. Or maybe after dinner for a movie. According to the definition, two people can pungle as well as one.

1 comment:

pungle said...

Lets pungle together. :)