Fwd: A new word -- at least to me

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Tue Oct 1 08:53:05 UTC 2002

>>So my sister-in-law is telling us about their new kitten and say's "He's
>>mizing about in Jack's beard."  Hmmmm, mizing.  Vas iz das, I
>>ask.  Eventually I learn that "mizing"  (to mize, mize, mized) is an
>>Oklahoma (possibly mountain William Oklahoma) word meaning to search in a
>>small, crowded place for goodies.  One might mize in a purse, but not on
>>a table.
>>Have you ever heard of this?  None of our dictionaries contain it.

Superficially this would appear to be the back-formed verb corresponding to
"miser", given by OED et al. as "obsolete". DARE does show two examples
from recent decades however, with spelling "mize", from 1970 Tennessee and
1991 "Appalachia" IIRC.

The sense appears different in DARE, with "mize" more or less = "hoard".
But I think the semantic shift or whatever might look less unbelievable if
one takes "mize" = "behave like a miser" = "scrabble"/"scrounge", and this
is in line with early material in OED, IIRC.

I've never encountered it myself.

-- Doug Wilson

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