Uncertain; attested since the 1600s (e.g. in The Tincker of Turvey) in several forms including the still-current Irish English form naggin, the rare older Irish, Scottish and Northern English form noggan, used by Jonathan Swift, and the Wexford form nuggeen. Tomás S. Ó Máille and some older dictionaries like Skeat's derive it from Irish naigín, cnaigín, from cnagaire, cnag, but the Oxford English Dictionary argues that Irish naigín and Scottish Gaelic noigean instead derive from English. Compare nog.
noggin (plural noggins)
- A small mug, cup or ladle; the contents of such a container.
- (dated outside dialects) A small measure of spirits equivalent to a gill.
- 1836 March – 1837 October, Charles Dickens, chapter 49, in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, London: Chapman and Hall, […], published 1837, →OCLC:
- I don’t know whether any of you, gentlemen, ever partook of a real, substantial, hospitable Scotch breakfast, and then went to a slight lunch of a bushel of oysters, a dozen or so of bottled ale, and a noggin or two of whisky to close up with.
- (slang) The head.
- (biochemistry) A signalling molecule involved in embryo development, producing large heads at high concentrations.
- Alternative form of
- (measure of spirits): naggin (still current in Ireland)
- Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.
- ^ Joseph Wright, editor (1903), “NOGGIN”, in The English Dialect Dictionary: […], volume IV (M–Q), London: Henry Frowde, […], publisher to the English Dialect Society, […]; New York, N.Y.: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, →OCLC.
- ^ Tomás S. Ó Máille, Seanfhocla Chonnacht, Cois Life, 2010, pag 368
- ^ Walter William Skeat, A Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language (1882), page 233