Sunday, May 01, 2016


Kevin asked about the connection between stuffing oneself with food (gorge) and the narrow opening between hills (gorge). They definitely are connected. In each case a throat shape is involved.

The word probably came from a Latin word, gurgulio, which meant the windpipe. At first, gorge was the external throat, then the internal throat, then the crop of a hawk, then a narrow opening between hills or a ravine with rocky walls. It led to an image to express disgust: one’s gorge rises, the prelude to vomiting. Gorge also had military and architectural meanings.

The word gorgeous is not related at all, though it shares a letter sequence. Gorgeous probably came from an Old French word that meant elegantly or finely dressed. However, the words gurgle and gargle are connected to gorge. That Latin word mentioned earlier forms the base for each. It also figures in gargoyle, the grotesque carving that often appeared on cathedrals. The gargoyle acted as a rain spout—the water came flowing from its mouth.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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