This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Thing Probably Not To Do Today: wangle something.

Want to get a pay rise, an extra helping of pudding, or a discharge from the army?

Well, you're not likely to be able to get one through official channels, are you, and of course you don't want to be dishonest. I mean, you wouldn't dream of doing anything criminal or selfish, would you, and you're definitely not a cheat. 

As for doing someone down, well, it's just not in your nature.

And so you wangle it.

Wangle...such a silly, undignified sort of a word. There couldn't possibly be any harm in it. No, wangling something is just a bit of mischief, a chance to display your charm, cleverness, man-of-the-world knowledge of human nature, and powers of persuasion.

Isn't it.

Well, isn't it?

Thing Probably Not To Do Today: wangle something. This word was originally 1800s printers' slang, and even now wangle sometimes implies some entirely innocent piece of cleverness. One might wangle it so you can make a dress from a slightly smaller than recommended piece of fabric, for instance. The origin of the word isn't clear, but it may be a blend of waggle and wankle, a word which has mysteriously gone out of fashion but which means wavering. It comes from the Old English wancol.

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