Monday 5 September 2011


A gongoozler is an idle fellow who stares at things. I am therefore, I confess, a gongoozler. But it's such a lovely word that I don't mind. I gongoozle with pride.

Gongoozler is only recorded from 1904 onwards; but it's probably a lot older. It is, or appears to be, a combination of two Northern dialect words for stare - gawn and gooze - which must somehow be related to gaze and gawp.

According to the OED, gongoozler was originally much more specific and meant "an idler who stares at length at activity on a canal". Luckily, I have just moved house and am now only ten minutes amble from the Regent's Canal. So I can gongoozle to my heart's content. In fact, I find it astonishing that the estate agents didn't mention anything about the gongoozling potential.

Venice - the gongoozler's paradise.

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