Muggles

Joe Joe.Nankivell at ucd.ie
Tue May 13 11:01:31 EDT 2003


On 13 May 2003, at 10:44, Anna Clare McDuff wrote:

You beat me to it! I was just about to hit send with the same three 
meanings. The online OED has the fourth (with a capital 'M') - here 
it is:

'In the fiction of J K Rowling, a person who possesses no magical 
powers. Hence in allusive and extended uses: a person who lacks 
a particular skill or skills, or who is regarded as inferior in some 
way.'

The quotes cited come from Computer Weekly and New Tribune, 
and do indeed show the word in non-wizarding contexts. 
> 
> 	I have a complete yet compact OED that dates I think from 1987. I
> think the main dictionary is a two volume copy of the 1971 dictionary with
> a 1987 supplementary volume. I just had a look & Muggle is in the main
> dictionary, after Muggins, Muggish, and Muggite, in fact it has two
> separate listings & is followed by Muggletonian! However, both listings
> for Muggle say that its origin & meaning are obscure, and one of the two
> entries says it is "an alleged Kentish word for 'tail'"! Scepticism always
> was one of the OED's more endearing traits :-). The earliest citation is
> 1205.  I would type it out but it involves Anglo Saxonish letters that
> I've only come across in Icelandic & don't know how to accurately
> transcribe. And the supplementary volume gives a modern usage pertaining
> to cannabis. 

Yeah. "'Ever smoke any muggles?' he asked." - not really JKR, is it?

Joe
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