girning

Elizabeth Evans er.evans at auckland.ac.nz
Tue May 31 17:37:24 EDT 2005


Conversation about girning went thus:

>> "Gurning" is better spelt "girning", by the way, because it comes from
>> "girn", which is an ME variant of "grin".
>But the National Championship spells it with a "u", presumably because the
>event organisers can then own the term? So if you love Official variants...

It's listed as a variant spelling in Collins (1999) and Chambers (1988), so
I doubt that the National Championship could easily lay claim to the word
at this late date, but on the other hand Chambers 1926 and the SOD 1933 and
1972 don't list "gurning" or "gurn" at all, so presumably that (phonetic?)
spelling is more recent than that and I s'pose it might exist for the
benefit of the Championship folk or have been invented by them.

Isn't coincidence a wonderful thing? I just happened to be reading one of
the York plays last night, and here was Pilate threatening his soldiers:

THerfore
Talkes not nor trete not of tales,
For that gome that gyrnes or gales,
I myself sall hym hurte full sore.

Obviously girning is not a pretty sight.

Regards
Elizabeth.

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