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Etymology 1[edit]

Unknown; perhaps derived from googie (an egg, in reference to the unusual direction of bounce). Though the delivery was perfected and made famous by English cricketer Bernard Bosanquet, circa 1900, the term is recorded earlier in Australian English (1896).


googly (plural googlies)

  1. (cricket) A ball, bowled by a leg-break bowler, that spins from off to leg (to a right-handed batsman), unlike a normal leg-break delivery.
    Synonyms: bosie, bosey, wrong 'un
    • 1896 November 28, The Independent, Foostcray, Vic, page 3, column 3:
      To go the whole round of bowlers before, again putting, on either Copplestone or B. Goodwin was a mistake, I thought, and equally so were Molyneau's repeated attempts at bowling slow "googlies."
    • 1904 March 9, The Otago Witness, Otago, page 52:
      Pelham Warner says Bosanquet is really invaluable. He can bowl as badly as anyone in the world, but when he gets a length those slow googlies, as the Australian players call them, are apt to paralyse the greatest players.
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Etymology 2[edit]

Uncertain. Perhaps from goo-goo (amorous), or directly from goggle. Attested from 1901.


googly (comparative googlier, superlative googliest)

  1. (of the eyes) Bulging.
    • 2013, Ruchama King Feuerman, In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist[1], page 208:
      “A shtinker,” the bug-eyed man said more loudly. [] B'seder, fine, a shtinker rabbi,” the googly-eyed man amended, rubbing his lower gut. “But can’t you tell he’s an informer?”
  2. (usually of eyes, sometimes of persons) Appearing to be amorous, flirtatious.
    • 1981, Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children, page 131:
      ‘Torture my foot! You think it’s torture for a man to ask his wife for attention? God save me from stupid women!’ – my father limped downstairs to make googly eyes at Colaba girls.
    • 2012, Elizabeth Harbison, Drive Me Wild[2], Harlequin:
      “Attractive enough? You should see how the mothers here act around him.” She sighed. “Everyone goes all googly when he’s around.”

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