A word lost to the English vocabulary since the 1930s was recently rediscovered by an IUP Writing Center tutor.
A casual use of the word disgruntled gave rise to the question of whether a person could be gruntled as well as disgruntled.
The immediate response among tutors in the Writing Center was disbelief, and the existence of gruntled was widely denied. “No way,” said bystanders. “If that's a word, I'll eat my keyboard,” said a receptionist. In fact, a dictionary check in Microsoft Word proved that there was no such word.
Undaunted, tutor Emily Weber, a Journalism and English double major, pressed forward with her theory that gruntled was likely a root form, with dis- being a prefix, and the search was on.
Weber read aloud from the Oxford English Dictionary: “It says gruntled is an adjective meaning “pleased, satisfied, contented.”
According to the OED, the undisputed authority on lost, forgotten, and misplaced words, the word first appeared in print in 1938 by P. G. Wodehouse in Code of Woosters, the third full-length novel to feature two of Wodehouse's best-known characters, Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves.
IUP Writing Center tutors welcomed the news with giddy excitement. Some looked up from their computer screens, while others tapped pencils.
“This is a truly significant discovery because behind every word is a human thought,” said Ben Rafoth, director of the Writing Center. “Every vocabulary word represents an important part of our intellectual history.”
“The fact that we now have rediscovered a word that means ‘pleased, satisfied, contented’ provides a nuance for authors, editors, and speakers to convey evermore precise meaning,” Rafoth opined.
Tutor Tori Loch, an English Education major, claimed that she was already familiar with the word and had “seen it in books.” If true, this could diminish the potential significance of Weber’s discovery. Further investigation may be warranted.
“I’m a little disgruntled that I never knew the word gruntled,” said Mitch James, a doctoral candidate and assistant director of the Writing Center.“But I am gruntled for Weber’s discovery,” he shared.
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