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Word for the Wise February 16, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Noodge and nudge

Pester us long enough and we'll eventually get around to answering your word question. We prefer, of course, a gentle reminder to a nag. (来源:www.EnglishCN.com)

With those two statements, we've identified two senses of the words noodge and nudge.

Need a bit more information to satisfy your curiosity about these two similar-seeming terms? It's no bother. Noodge, which means "pester" or "nag," has ancestral kin in the Yiddish word meaning "to bore," the Polish word for "boredom," and in the Old Slavic word for "need." And yes, the verb noodge is related to the noun nudnik, meaning "pester; nag; a person who is a bore."

Then there's nudge, meaning "to touch or push gently," especially "to seek the attention of by a push of the elbow; to prod lightly; urge into action;" or, more simply and less physically, to "approach."

What do we know about nudge? Not much. Lexicographers once theorized nudge had a Scandinavian origin and was related to the Old Norse word for gnaw, but they no longer believe that is true. Are the terms related? We don't know for sure, but we'll keep noodging the professional lexicographers for their best guess.

 
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