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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2011-01-07 21:11:28

From: Winchester Massachusetts
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 674


It looks like a useful mash-up of niggling and nagging. About 1500 ghits

So once i got the oil system buttoned up and the garage full of exhaust fumes, I decided to tackle all the other little naggling problems. … oject-log/

While there are some naggling issues, the Droid X is currently in the top tier of Android smartphones. … eview.html

Now that I’ve lived here there are a few naggling little things I think the builder could have done differently… › ... › Huntsville-Madison-Decatur area

Diagnosed at 27 after years of minor naggling health issues and one year of really bad health.

While my day job had allowed me a creative outlet, there was always a naggling need at the back of my head to somehow express myself visually …

My only naggling issue with the overall design relates to the sound itself. The music is sort of tedious … … bat_2.html

Would you consider swapping homes with another family?...
I think the downside of swapping might be the naggling feeling of being someone’s houseguest, even if they are not home. – Cached



#2 2011-01-07 22:55:07

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2203

Re: naggling

The “naggling feelings/problems/issues/suspicions/needs/questions/doubts/concerns” are substitutions for “nagging,” I think. But in the third example you give, the one with “naggling little things,” the replaced word is probably “niggling.”

Naggle, by the way, is an English word. It is related to “gnaw” and refers to chewing or (figuratively) complaining. It’s usage stats in English peak about the year 1900, as you can see from this Google Ngram. It dies off between the wars (the instances after 1940 on the Ngram are almost all errors for “niggling” and “nagging”), so you are no doubt correct that it is an eggcorn squash for modern speakers.

Interesting, isn’t it, that “niggling,” “nagging,” and “naggling” mostly occur as adjectival participles. The finite verbs “niggle” and “naggle” are rare (“nag” less rare).

“Niggle, naggle, nag, nibble ( which you reported in 2009), and nettle” constitute another big fuzzy spot. Few English speakers could tease apart all five semantic sets.

Last edited by kem (2011-01-07 22:56:06)



#3 2011-01-08 19:38:43

Peter Forster
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 846

Re: naggling

It’s a shame there isn’t a corner of the forum where we could neatly stack these fuzzy spots for later perusal. I wonder whether snag, snaggle and raggle-taggle fit with that five, or whether they comprise an adjacent, overlapping spot. Thanks, Kem, for the introduction to the invaluable Ngram viewer – I wonder what else I’ve had at my fingertips for years without knowing it.



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