Sunday, April 11, 2021

Fun and Important Words - Gobbledygook

Gobbledygook is a great sounding word that almost rolls of the tongue (for English speakers).  According to Oxford, it's a word used to describe words, phrases and speech that are "unintelligible by excessive use of abstruse technical terms".  In simpler language, it's hard to understand or nonsensical jargon.[1][2][3] (backup links 1, 2, 3)  It's ironic that the Oxford definition for gobbledegook sounds like gobbledygook itself. 

The word is derived from an onomatopoeia of a turkey sound, though the use of gobbledygook is technically not the turkey noise itself.
Typically I do not have the need nor opportunity to use this word in every day language, but it does come up once in a while.  As far as I remember, my first exposure to the word is from normal family conversations while growing up (1970s/80s).  For me personally, that says a lot about the commonality of this young word.  Despite it's recent entry into the English Language (1944), the word has found its way deep into our common lexicon, often in politics or government-related rants.[4](4)  
Weirdly, there's a blip on the ngram usage graph for gobbledygook from 1921.  Without any way to see the source referenced by Google, it's hard to tell if this is an earlier coining or if it's a false-positive.
Gobbledygook is sometimes mentioned along with gibberish when discussing lexicon.  However, gibberish is a more general term used to describe nonsense speech, regardless to reason.  Gobbledygook is more specific, referring to technical language that is nonsensical. 

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