G is For Gongoozle

Gongoozle – To stare at.

Harley gongoozled Jacqueline, his breath ragged with desire.

Whew!  Actually, Victor can only gongoozle with Jacqueline in the United Kingdom where you’ll find gongoozlers galore, those who enjoy watching activity on the canals. “Gongoozler” may have been canal workers’ slang for an observer standing apparently idle on the towpath. Though it was used derisively in the past, today the term is regularly used, perhaps with a little irony, by gongoozlers to describe themselves and their hobby.

The word may have arisen from words in the Lincolnshire dialect: gawn and gooze, both meaning to stare or gape. It might be presumed that such an expression would date from the nineteenth century, when canals were at their peak, but the word is only recorded from the end of that century or the early twentieth. “Gongoozler” as a term may also be used in any circumstance in which people are spectating without contributing to either the content or interest in the event.  That wouldn’t be Harley, now would it, not if his breath is “ragged with desire.”

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