Wednesday, November 3, 2010




: to make a payment or contribution of money — usually used with up

The incredibly insightful Dictionary of American Regional English is a multivolume work that documents American dialect across regions. DARE is the child of the 19th century American Dialect Society. The ADS formed in 1889 and compiled lists of words for decades with little organization. In the late 1940's Fred Cassidy, an English professor at the University of Wisconsin took on the project. He began sending fieldworkers to communities all over the country to distribute a questionnaire and collect written and oral evidence of regional terminology. The half-century of work resulted a five-volume collection, beginning publication in 1985 and extending to the present.

According to the DARE, PUNGLE is chiefly a Western term—most historically documented references come out of the California region. In most contexts listed, PUNGLE refers to gambling or gold, and conveys the same idea I associate with the phrase "fork it over," as though existence of the money is being concealed.

PUNGLE comes from the Spanish word pongale, meaning "put it down." I'm guessing the word travelled up the western seaboard from Spanish settlers in Mexico. Just a thought.

"The PUNGLE" is also a neighborhood in Westhoughton, Bolton—just outside Manchester, England. cites The Pungle as one of Britain's worst places to live, using the following description: "it is like the Star Wars cantina has got overpopulated and the regulars have been forced to come to this place as a second choice."

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