Brigid Daull Brockway is technically a writer

Brigid Daull Brockway is technically a writer

A blog about words, wordplay, and etymology, with slightly more than occasional political rants.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Pursuant to yesterday's post, I feel I should talk about a term completely unrelated to Bogart, boggart.  A boggart is mythological critter that gets inside your house and breaks stuff, much like a poltergeist, gremlins, or children. They're said to be destructive but not always dangerous, although if you give them a name, they'll go all bananas and fling poo at your children or possibly eat you. Like giving gremlins water. This term is apparently related to bogeyman, but I've always thought of boggarts as destructive but imp-like, whereas I see bogeymen as the sort to eat your family. Maybe a bogeyman is a boggart who has been named. Or maybe it's Harry Potter.

In Harry Potter, the boggart was a nasty little beast who took the form of whatever you were most afraid of, sort of like Stephen King's It. Except to beat Stephen King's It, you inexplicably needed an orgy and fake battery acid, whereas Harry Potter's boggarts can be gotten rid of by turning them into Professor Snape in drag. The Online Etymology Dictionary claims that the term bogey, as in an unidentified aircraft, is related to boggart, which, it claims, comes from the Scottish word for ghost, bogle.

It does not appear that these terms are related to booger or boogie, though. Too bad.

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