addle


addle
addle (v.) 1712, from addle (n.) "urine, liquid filth," from O.E. adela "mud, mire, liquid manure" (cognate with O.Swed. adel "urine," M.L.G. adel, Du. aal "puddle"). Used in noun phrase addle egg (mid-13c.) "egg that does not hatch, rotten egg," lit. "urine egg," a loan-translation of L. ovum urinum, which is itself an erroneous loan-translation of Gk. ourion oon "putrid egg," lit. "wind egg," from ourios "of the wind" (confused by Roman writers with ourios "of urine," from ouron "urine"). Because of this usage, from c.1600 the noun in English was taken as an adjective meaning "putrid," and thence given a figurative extension to "empty, vain, idle," also "confused, muddled, unsound" (1706). The verb followed a like course. Related: Addled; addling.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • addle — addle, addled The usual word now is addled, and is applied (a) to eggs, and (b) figuratively, to brains (i.e. the mind). Originally, addle was a noun meaning ‘stinking urine or other liquid filth’, although its associations have usually been with …   Modern English usage

  • Addle — Ad dle, v. t. & i. [imp. & p. p. {Addled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Addling}.] To make addle; to grow addle; to muddle; as, he addled his brain. Their eggs were addled. Cowper. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Addle — Ad dle, v. t. & i. [OE. adlen, adilen, to gain, acquire; prob. fr. Icel. [ o][eth]lask to acquire property, akin to o[eth]al property. Cf. {Allodial}.] 1. To earn by labor. [Prov. Eng.] Forby. [1913 Webster] 2. To thrive or grow; to ripen. [Prov …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • addle — [ad′ l] adj. [ME adel in adel eye, addle egg, transl. of L ovum urinae, egg of urine, confused form of ovum urinum (a rendering of Gr ourion ōon, wind egg) < OE adela; akin to MLowG adele, mud] 1. rotten: said of an egg 2. muddled; confused:… …   English World dictionary

  • Addle — Ad dle, n. [OE. adel, AS. adela, mud.] [1913 Webster] 1. Liquid filth; mire. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] 2. Lees; dregs. [Prov. Eng.] Wright. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Addle — Ad dle, a. Having lost the power of development, and become rotten, as eggs; putrid. Hence: Unfruitful or confused, as brains; muddled. Dryden. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • addle — index confuse (bewilder), decay, discompose, muddle, obfuscate, spoil (impair) Burton s Legal Thesaurus …   Law dictionary

  • addle — muddle, *confuse, fuddle, befuddle Analogous words: confound, dumbfound, nonplus, bewilder (see PUZZLE): amaze, flabbergast, astound (see SURPRISE): fluster, flurry, agitate, upset (see DISCOMPOSE) Antonyms: refresh (mentally) Contrasted words:… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • addle — ► VERB 1) confuse. 2) (addled) (of an egg) rotten. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ unsound; muddled. ORIGIN from Old English, «liquid filth» …   English terms dictionary

  • addle — v. & adj. v. 1 tr. muddle, confuse. 2 intr. (of an egg) become addled. adj. 1 muddled, unsound (addle brained; addle head). 2 empty, vain. 3 (of an egg) addled. Etymology: OE adela filth, used as adj., then as verb …   Useful english dictionary