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[gog-uh l] /ˈgɒg əl/
  1. large spectacles equipped with special lenses, protective rims, etc., to prevent injury to the eyes from strong wind, flying objects, blinding light, etc.
  2. spectacles designed for a special purpose, as night-vision or stereoscopic goggles.
  3. Informal. glasses, or eyeglasses:
    I can't see a thing without my goggles.
    Synonyms: specs, shades.
a bulging or wide-open look of the eyes; stare.
verb (used without object), goggled, goggling.
to stare with bulging or wide-open eyes.
Synonyms: gape, ogle, gawk, gawp, glare.
(of the eyes) to bulge and be wide open in a stare.
to roll the eyes.
(of the eyes) to roll.
Informal. to spearfish.
verb (used with object), goggled, goggling.
to roll (the eyes).
(of the eyes) rolling, bulging, or staring.
Origin of goggle
1350-1400; Middle English gogelen to look aside; cf. agog
Related forms
ungoggled, adjective
Can be confused
goggle, Google, googol.
Word story
Try searching the Internet for goggle and you will most likely be shown search results for Google. Etymologists won’t be much more help, as they are as stumped by goggle’s origins as Google is by its spelling. What we do know about it is that it first shows up in the late 14th century, in the form of gogelen, a Middle English word with the meanings “to turn the eyes from one side to the other, to look sideways, squint,” and developed from there.
The first senses of goggle dealt with the movement of the eyes—quite literally the rolling or bulging of eyes. It was not until the early 18th century that goggle took on meanings that extended beyond the eyeball (though not very far beyond). In the early 1700s, speakers of English used the plural goggles to refer to large, protective eye coverings. As the use of cars became more widespread in the early 20th century, the demand for driving goggles increased. Though only vintage car enthusiasts have a need for those today, safety goggles can commonly be found in any high school chemistry class that follows standard safety codes.
While those types of goggles are designed to protect, a new kind of goggles, which do nothing to protect the wearer—beer goggles—surfaced in English in the late 1980s. This slang term for the metaphorical goggles that extremely drunk people “wear,” with the effect of diminishing their judgment, is still widely used today.
Related Quotations
“Borrowing a pair of goggles from one man and a coat from another and a cap from another, I was soon in the driving seat, the engine going, and all ready to be off.“
—Charles Jarrott, Ten Year of Motors and Motor Racing (1906)
“The moon was full. The light it cast was enough to travel by without using their night-vision goggles.“
—Barack Obama, “Awarding the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Salvatore A. Giunta“ American Rhetoric (delivered November 16, 2010)
“Then came a volley of expletives in an unknown tongue, and in a voice so deep and harsh that the hair of the three heads bristled, and three pairs of eyes goggled with fright.“
—Charles M. Skinner, “The Devil’s Bridge: a Philippine Legend“ McBride’s Magazine, Volume 64 (1899)
“Hari goggled his eyes, unrattled by my taunting.“
—Philip Palmer, Version 43 (2010) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for goggle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He has a smooth-shaven, quasi-clerical face and goggle eyes.

    The Immortal Alphonse Daudet
  • "Here is his head," cried goggle Woggle, as he put it under his arm.

    The Jumble Book David Cory
  • In the bottom of each hollow a narrow slit was cut lengthwise of the goggle.

    Grit A-Plenty Dillon Wallace
  • The goggle eyes seemed to see more than the brain was inclined to credit.

    The King of Diamonds Louis Tracy
  • But, as things were, he abstained from fraternising and continued to goggle dumbly.

    Indiscretions of Archie P. G. Wodehouse
  • If that fat face in the clock could only speak as well as goggle its eyes!

    The Moon Rock

    Arthur J. Rees
  • But the rest of the bunch could goggle at him from a distance and be darned to them.


    B. M. Bower
  • "I'm sure I don't know," replied Num, opening his goggle eyes.

    Japhet, In Search Of A Father Frederick Marryat
  • What a painful stare, with its goggle eyes and gaping mouth!

    Shakespeare's Bones C. M. Ingleby
British Dictionary definitions for goggle


(intransitive) to stare stupidly or fixedly, as in astonishment
to cause (the eyes) to roll or bulge or (of the eyes) to roll or bulge
a fixed or bulging stare
(pl) spectacles, often of coloured glass or covered with gauze: used to protect the eyes
Derived Forms
goggly, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from gogelen to look aside, of uncertain origin; see agog
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for goggle

1530s, from Middle English gogelen "to roll (the eyes) about" (late 14c.), influenced by Middle English gogel-eyed "squint-eyed, one-eyed" (late 14c.), of uncertain origin, perhaps somehow imitative. As a surname (Robert le Gogel) attested from c.1300. Related: Goggled; goggling. As a noun, 1650s, "goggling look;" earlier "person who goggles" (1610s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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