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Etymology 1[edit]


boggle (third-person singular simple present boggles, present participle boggling, simple past and past participle boggled)

  1. (intransitive) To be bewildered, dumbfounded, or confused.
    He boggled at the surprising news.
    The mind boggles.
    • 1661, Joseph Glanvill, The Vanity of Dogmatizing, London: Henry Eversden, Chapter 14, p. 131,[1]
      [] we start and boggle at what is unusual: and like the Fox in the fable at his first view of the Lyon, we cannot endure the sight of the Bug-bear, Novelty.
    • 1685, Isaac Barrow, Of Contentment, Patience and Resignation to the Will of God. Several Sermons, London: Brabazon Aylmer, Sermon 4, pp. 127-128,[2]
      They are best qualified to thrive in [this world] [] whose designs all tend to their own private advantage, without any regard to the publick, or to the good of others; who can use any means conducible to such designs, bogling at nothing which serveth their purpose []
    • 1795, Mary Wollstonecraft, letter to Gilbert Imlay dated 4 October, 1795, in Mary Wollstonecraft: Letters to Imlay, London: Kegan Paul, 1879, p. 182,[3]
      From the tenour of your last letter however, I am led to imagine, that you have formed some new attachment.—If it be so, let me earnestly request you to see me once more, and immediately. This is the only proof I require of the friendship you profess for me. I will then decide, since you boggle about a mere form.
    • 1969, Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, New York: Bantam, 1971, Chapter 15, p. 82,[4]
      My imagination boggled at the punishment I would deserve []
  2. (transitive) To confuse or mystify; overwhelm.
    The vastness of space really boggles the mind.
    The oddities of quantum mechanics can boggle the minds of students and experienced physicists alike.
  3. (US, dialect) To embarrass with difficulties; to bungle or botch.
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To dissemble; to play fast and loose (with someone or something).
    • 1643, James Howell, The True Informer, London, p. 32,[5]
      I would be loth to exchange consciences with them, and boggle so with God Almighty; but these men by a new kind of Metaphysick have found out a way to abstract the Person of the King from his Office to make his Soveraigntie a kinde of Platonick Idea hovering in the aire, while they visibly attempt to assail and destroy his person []
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]


boggle (plural boggles)

  1. Alternative form of bogle