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In a word: argle-bargle

The Baltimore Sun

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be acquainted--another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word:


Given the amount of nonsense to which we are subjected daily, we are fortunate to have in English so many words for it: prattle, drivel, claptrap, poppycock, hogwash, and so many more. You are welcome to add to your repertoire argle-bargle (pronounced AR-gul BAR-gul). So what if it has been mainly British? It's there for the taking.

Originally meaning a squabble, argument, or bandying of words--it rises from a Scottish variant of argue--its meaning has broadened to include meaningless talk or writing, nonsense. There's a variant, argy-bargy.

Example: From Thomas Carlyle: "I have for a long time given up the argle-bargle of metaphysics."



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