"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
How many people receive an e-mail from their brother which has the subject matter "Argey bargey" and the content "Just a thought". Translated it means - is the origin and use of the phrase argey bargey worthy of a blog entry. The answer - as you will have gathered - is yes.
An argy-bargy, argey-bargey or argie-bargie (with or without a hyphen) is an argument, spat, debate or minor quarrel. It is often used of the general rough-and-tumble and falling-out between siblings - as in the parental admonition ‘For heaven’s sake stop all that argie-bargie!’
The phrase seems to have arisen in Scotland where he word ‘argle’ - a corruption of argue - was followed by the nonsensical but rhyming ‘bargle‘. Parliament was described as having argle-barglers in it in ‘The Ayrshire Legatees’ by John Galt, published in 1821. A no more appropriate context could there be than parliament! This early version also appears in Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Kidnapped’ in 1886.
The later version appears as early as 1897 in ’Margaret Ogilvy’, the work of another Scot, J M Barrie, but in my 1960s version of the Concise Oxford Dictionary it still appears as argle-bargle.
My daughter Helen commented in November 2008 in her Blog that she was now keeping a notebook of new words that she came across during her reading. "This week I bought a lovely little leather bound book to write new words in as I read them . I've added a few from "1984", but my favourite has to be persiflage (from the French persifler) which means banter." I later discovered that my older daughter, Bryony, also kept a similar notebook.
This inspired me to create a Word blog. This will include both new words, favourite words and the origins of phrases that we commonly use. A definition and some comment, perhaps even a relevant quotation, will acompany the word or phrase.
“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.” - Winnie the Pooh
Thanks for stopping by! Would you like a cup of tea or coffee? And please, sit for a spell. If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to follow me or subscribe to my blog. This is a word verification free, family friendly blog, so everything I share here is for all ages. I am a happily married man in my late sixties who lives on the Wirral peninsula, near Liverpool, in the UK.
I'm a blogger - and nowadays that seems to be my main occupation. Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"....
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a special favourite. I used to blog as Scriptor Senex which is Latin for Old Writer but now Google only lets me post as John Edwards.
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)