Muggles

Anna Clare McDuff amcduff at math.sunysb.edu
Wed May 14 17:18:11 EDT 2003


On Wed, 14 May 2003, Charles Butler wrote:

> Anna
> > It has several meanings, but I think the one your Mum was using
> > was the slang term "A fool, a simpleton, a 'juggins'. To talk muggins, to
> > say silly foolish things."
>
> I think both 'muggins' and 'mug' suggest something a little more precise
> than 'fool' or 'simpleton' - namely someone who is easily taken advantage of
> by others. That's how I've always understood it, and it seems to fit in with
> Ven's mother's usage too.

	Yes, I agree with you, it's how I've always heard the word used
too, but as you can see above, the OED, *does* give 'juggins' as a meaning
for muggins. And as I wrote, juggins means someone who is easily taken in
or imposed upon... Possibly the first two meanings were more current when
the entry was compiled & the OED hasn't quite decided that they are
obsolete yet. Has anyone ever heard them used? Although, I have to say if
one calls onself a Muggins, by implication one is arguably also calling
oneself a fool (to be so gullible) or a simpleton (to not be able to avoid
being exploited). What do you think?

	I had a brief glance at the OED entry for Greenhorn as I was
curious to see that they defined the possible Mug root of Muggins &
Juggins as greenhorn (though if you look at the entry for that meaning of
Mug the words fool & simpleton creep in as well. Obviously popular words
down OED way!), and that is a term defined originally in the 15th century
as young cattle with green horns, and then in the 17th centiry entered the
wider sense of inexperienced person & following on from that as someone
who is easy to take advantage of...

	Anna

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