The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPeter Lee Archive
Don’t Worry be Gruntled
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

These are tetchy times in the China relations and journalism biz.  Instead of being disgruntled and contribute to the acrid fug of rancor, I have resolved to be gruntled.

The OED is not particularly helpful on the issue of “gruntled”.  “Gruntled” is identified as a back-formation i.e. a recent modification to a long-standing term, “disgruntled” i.e. “chagrined”, which dates back to at least the 17th century.  Unsurprisingly, the first usage of “gruntled” the OED records is by the playful English wordsmith P.G. Wodehouse.

Leafing through the OED, the China Matters gloss is this:

The root word is “grunt”, an onomatopoeic representation of the sound coming out of the snout of a snuffling hog.

“Gruntle” is the “grunt-thing” a pig’s snout.

By extension the facial area of the pig.

Applied rather colloquially and impertinently to a person’s face.  Contemporary American equivalent “mug”.

First such usage in 1508 with the magnificent The gallowis gapeis efter thy graceless gruntilli.e. You have a mug suited to the gallows.

I infer that “disgruntled” should be understood as an earthy observation that “an unsatisfactory situation has caused an unpleasant expression to distort one’s features” or, as they used to say in polite circles, someone has been put “out of countenance”.

Since most of the human race comes with facial features pre-installed i.e. “gruntled”, there is no “gruntling” going on except in the womb and all one can do after birth is “disgruntle” one’s natural endowment of “gruntle”.

To characterize myself as “gruntled” i.e. having a face, would be somewhat ironic, because I eschew using a personal photo in my on-line profiles.

But since there is a lot of disgruntlement going on, for the time being I’ll try being gruntled.  It’s worth a shot.

(Republished from China Matters by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy 
Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Peter Lee Comments via RSS
Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
Talk TV sensationalists and axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness.