Dan writes: For the next “Ask Roger:”
Is the word “noggin” derived from the word “nogg?” The implication that one has a wooden head… jammed in the wall with a nail through it?
This is actually an excellent question to receive. I learned that NOGG is the National Osteoporosis Guideline Group. Of course, it is “a multidisciplinary group including patient representation and professionals involved in the care of people with osteoporosis. It was established in 2007 to provide a clinical guideline for the management of men and women at high fracture risk, using the output from the FRAX calculator.”
I assume that a broken head is possible. Wait, wait, that’s the wrong usage. Nogg is a carpentry term for “a shave for shaping dowels and handles”.
(noun) One of a number of wooden pieces fitted between the principal timbers of a half-timbered wall.
(v.t.) To fill (a framed wall or partition) with small masonry, as bricks or stones.
Boozing it up
However, I’ve occasionally seen nogg, which my spellcheck does NOT like, as an alternative spelling of nog, as in egg-nogg. Nog is:
“any beverage made with beaten eggs, usually with alcoholic liquor; eggnog” or
“a strong ale formerly brewed in Norfolk, England.”
First Known Use of nog: 1693, in the meaning defined at sense 1. History and Etymology for nog: origin unknown
Nog was also a character on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Now, the definitions of noggin are:
1: a person’s head
2: a small mug or cup
3: a small quantity (such as a gill) of drink
The first known use of noggin was in 1588, or 1620–30, depending on the source; origin uncertain.
Noggin is a Nick Jr. cable channel “where kids learn with characters they love.” In the UK, there is a brain supplement called Noggin. This seems to gravitate towards the idea of “using your noggin” i.e. your brain, not just the head itself.
The colloquial sense of “head” (originally as boxing slang) is included in the same OED entry as “noggin” so, as Neil from a Facebook group dedicated to words surmised, maybe there was some slang notion of the head being like a bucket.
More interesting, and frankly more confusing to me, are articles about noggin as whatever this is from 2011. “The Bone Morphogenetic Protein Antagonist Noggin Protects White Matter After Perinatal Hypoxia-ischemia.” Yeah. “Perinatal HI was induced in transgenic mice in which the BMP antagonist noggin is overexpressed during oligodendrogenesis (pNSE-Noggin).” Does someone want to translate that into English?
Anyway, I’m finding a link between nog and noggin, in terms of alcohol or beverage, or the container. Nogg’s wood-related origin seems to have developed separately, as far as I am able to ascertain. Unless, of course, the bucket was made of wood, which it probably was.
Neil found for me a reference to nog or nogg as “a peg, pin, or cylindrical piece of wood, serving any of various purposes” is now “chiefly Australian and New Zealand.” As are so many of the definitions, it is also of uncertain origin.