Thursday, March 02, 2006


For many years I have been attempting to raise the profile of a new word that was invented by my father:


It's a verb and it means to simultaneously poke, prod and wiggle at something. You know, like you do when you proggle in your ear with a cotton bud, or proggle out the mud stuck between the treads of your shoes after a walk in the country.

It can also relate to the instrument you use to do the proggling: A Proggler. Nick has a proggler in his tool kit and it's his most often used tool. It mainly comes in handy for making pilot holes prior to drilling (the ultimate manly proggle) but it has endless uses.

A proggler is generally a short stumpy implement with an end adapted for the specific proggling use. So it could be a cotton bud, a bradall, a pen knife, a biro, an unbent paper clip etc.

I realised, when trying to think of examples of proggling, that most of them refer to slight unsavoury activities. They also stem from memories of my early life, when the word was used prevalently. First I thought I would not mention them to you in case you think I am totally disgusting and my family are a load of freaks, but now I'm thinking - what the heck, so here goes:

As children we had a red car seat. It was the 70's so it was a bit primitive, made of hard solid moulded plastic. My younger sister was always car sick and I remember vividly the image of my father proggling out the dried vomit from the plastic mouldings around the seat belt. He had a special proggler for this job.

As we got older the proggler got another use, mainly proggling dog poo out of our shoes. It was implicitly understood in our family that the proggler (an old knife) was not to be used for anything else other than this horrible task.

My mother is a fanatical proggler of her in-growing toe nails. She loves it. She has some special 'red scissors' she keeps especially for proggling purposes, and woe betide anyone who takes the red scissors away. Not that you'd want to after seeing what she proggled out of her feet - yeugh.

So, there you go. Take this word and embrace it. Bring it into your everyday vocabulary. It's so useful you'll wonder how you managed with out it.


Anonymous Grace said...

I cannot believe you've put those stories on your blog! We sound sooo gross!

1:35 PM  
Blogger rach said...

I did think about it, but only briefly!

At the end of the day EVERYONE has gross stroies about their families and if we were all a little more candid then the world would be a better place.

Anyway, I didn't mention anything gross about you specifically! I can if you like though...

Hmmmm, let me think....

1:53 PM  
Blogger rach said...

Nope, you're just too perfect.

There seems to be nothing gross about you at all in my memory banks...

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what part of the country you are in but I am afraid your father did not invent this word. Around here, the coast of Lincolnshire, proggle is a fairly common word. It means exactly as you described. My father, and most of the men I know who have work boxes, had a proggler. Anything that does not fit where it ought would always benefit from a 'bit of a proggle'. I have always assumed it was a sea-fairing term, but since it fits so well with anything mechanical it could just have well been a farming term.

12:03 PM  

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