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Origin of goggle

1350–1400; Middle English gogelen to look aside; cf. agog

historical usage of goggle

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.


un·gog·gled, adjective


goggle Google googol

Quotations related to goggle

  • "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)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for goggle

British Dictionary definitions for goggle

/ (ˈɡɒɡəl) /


(intr) 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
(plural) spectacles, often of coloured glass or covered with gauze: used to protect the eyes

Derived forms of goggle

goggly, adjective

Word Origin for goggle

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