from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Someone who gongoozles (who watches boats go by, or stands by and watches things without participating.)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Sure it might not be as interesting as being a gongoozler, but it sure ranks at least second best.

    Archive 2008-08-01

  • Sure it might not be as interesting as being a gongoozler, but it sure ranks at least second best.

    Declining Digits


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  • An idle spectator. This is one of the odder words in the English lexicon and not only because of its strange appearance. It suddenly started to become popular in Britain from about 1970 onwards, but with very little previous recorded history attached to it. It is closely linked with canal life, and even now it seems to be a word especially favoured by those who like to mess about on narrow waterways. It is said to have been a bit of canal workers’ slang, originally for a person who stood on the towpath idly watching activity. You might expect that it would date from the heyday of the canals in the early part of the nineteenth century, but it is actually only recorded from the end of that century or the early twentieth. It was given wider public notice by the late L T C Rolt, who used it in his book about canal life, Narrow Boat, in 1944. It is said to derive from a couple of words in Lincolnshire dialect: gawn and gooze, both meaning to stare or gape. However, nobody seems too clear about this.

    (from World Wide Words)

    May 21, 2008

  • /gon GOOZ ler/ n · A dimwit who stares at unusual things.

    August 7, 2008

  • JM aspires to be the best gongoozler possible.

    October 4, 2009

  • It's a bit disconcerting to see a word that's unusual and think, "hey, that's unusual, I need to check that out", then come to the page and find this definition.

    May 26, 2011

  • Gongoozling can actually get you a lot in life. I think the definition is almost as funny as the word.

    September 20, 2011

  • This word's pattern of consonants and vowels, cvccvvccvc, is a palindrome.

    December 1, 2011

  • HH, that's a level of complexity I can't deal with. My brain is melting.

    December 1, 2011

  • found in the glossary of Bradshaw's Canals and Navigable Rivers of England and Wales, 1904, definition given:

    an idle and inquisitive person who stands staring for prolonged periods at anything out of the common. This word is believed to have its origin in the Lake District of England.

    September 4, 2020