Saturday, September 1, 2012


puling [ˈpyulɪŋ] ppl. a.

1.) Crying as a child, whining, feebly wailing; weakly querulous. Mostly contemptuous.

puling [ˈpyulɪŋ] vbl. n.

1.) The action of the verb "pule"; whining, plaintive piping; a complaint (O.E.D. 2nd Ed.).

Etymology: Perhaps an adoption of the French piauler, to cheep, chirp, whine = Italian pigolare, Neapolitan piolare, to cheep as a chicken; of echoic origin. But the English may be merely parallel to the French.

"There is always this great elemental deadlock,
This warfare through all time. The keen for the dead
Blends with the cry that new-born babies raise
At their first shock by the light. Night follows day,
Dawn follows eventide, and never a one
That has not heard these feeble pulings sound
Through the more dark and somber threnodies."
(The De Rerum Natura of Titus Lucretius Carus, Rolfe Humphries (trans.), 1968)

(De geboorte van Christus, Jheronimus Bosch, ~1568)


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yes, I've seen this old word used -- "puling infant" -- probably in Chaucer or Shakespeare or something like that.

Bibi said...

I love Bosch! And I kinda like this word too, as in how Debra uses it: "puling infant".
Sometimes I regret I can't use any of these words more often. Sucks, never talking English.

also, ryc: I'm your friend?

D4 said...

I'm pretty happy this is actually a word and not something I made up. I'll never remember where I found it.

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