The Romance of Language: Word for the Week 3/03/17


“The shock felt in bathing when one first plunges into the cold water.”

–from John Jamieson’s Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1808

Curglotft: panic-struck

–from Alexander Warrack’s Scots Dialect Dictionary, 1911



The first thing I thought of when seeing this word and the definition was the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, which I’ve heard of, but would never belong to. 🙂  I’m shivering now just thinking about plunging into cold water!

It’s the oldest winter bathing organization in the United States, according to their website. They swim in the Atlantic Ocean at Cony Island  every Sunday from November to April and have a big event on New Year’s Day which draws participants from all over the country. (Can you even imagine?)

So I’m sure, although they may not know the word, each and every one of their participants has felt curglaff at some point in their participation!  I know I’d be curglofft at the very thought! LOL

If anyone’s interested in joining the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, membership is closed for 2016-2017, but here’s the link to the website for more information.

Happy Swimming!


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