Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 16 08:18:35 UTC 2012

Webster's 1913 (on-line) adds a couple more twists. The definition
corresponding to bugle n.3 is interesting, but ultimately similar to the

> Bugle, n. [LL. bugulus a woman's ornament: cf. G. bügel a bent piece
> of metal or wood, fr. the same root as G. biegen to bend, E. bow to
> bend.] An elingated glass bead, of various colors, though commonly black.

It also throws in an adjective, with an unimpeachable citation.

> Bugle, a. [From Bugle a bead.] Jet black. /Bugle/ eyeballs." /Shak./


On 1/16/2012 3:10 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
> There are three separate nouns under "bugle" in the OED.
> Bugle n.1
>> Etymology: < Old French /bugle/ < Latin /būculus/ , diminutive of
>> /bo-s bov-is/ an ox.
> This one includes buffalo, hunting (buffalo) horn, bugle-horn (as just
> "bugle") because it was originally made from buffalo horn, and a bunch
> of derivatives and combinations
> Bugle n.2
>> Etymology: < French /bugle/ = Italian /bugola/ , Spanish /bugula/ <
>> late Latin /bugula/ . The Latin /bugillo/ , used by Marcellus
>> Empiricus /c/400, seems to denote the same plant.
> This one is pretty one-dimensional
>> The English name of the plants belonging to the genus /Ajuga/, esp.
>> the common species /A. reptans/. (The names /buglossa/ and /bugle/
>> were occasionally confounded by early writers.)
> This particular "bugle" will not be relevant to the rest of the comment.
> Bugle n.3
>> Etymology:Etymology unknown. Of the medieval Latin /bugulus/ ,
>> sometimes quoted as the etymon, a single instance, as the name of a
>> ‘pad’, or framework for the hair, used by Italian ladies, occurs in a
>> chapter /De moribus civium Placentiæ/ 1388, in Muratori /Script.
>> Italian/ XVI. 580; no similar word is known in Italian or French.
>> /Bugle/ has a certain resemblance in form to Dutch /beugel/ a ring (
>> < Middle Dutch /böghil/ , /bōghel/ , Franck); but no connection of
>> meaning appears.
> The proposed etymology does not give much sense of what the item is.
> Collins and AHD give simply "origin unknown".
>> A tube-shaped glass bead, usually black, used to ornament wearing
>> apparel. (Formerly also collective, or as the name of material.)
> My first thought was the idea of a connection between bugle n.1 and
> bugle n.3--not so much for the buffalo horn as for the metal version.
> A bugle-horn is essentially a twisted (curved) tube. But the fact that
> it originated from a buffalo horn seems inescapable. And the forms of
> the two are quite distinct until they converge toward modern spelling.
> And bugle beads are pretty much straight rods, not cones or funnels,
> as would have been implied from a connection to bugle n.1.
> There are several 19th century dictionaries in GB that mention the
> Germanic (Swedish, Norwegian, German, Icelandic) use of "bagel",
> "bugel", "bogel" or something similar. But the one that comes closest
> is this one.
> http://goo.gl/dZGv7
> An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language. Volume 1. By John
> Jamison. Revised Edition. Paisley: 1879 (University Microfilm
> reproduction, 1964)
> p. 178/2
>> BEUGLE-BACKED, /adj./ Crook-backed
>> --/Beugle-back'd/, bodied like a beetle.
>> Watson's Coll. ii. 54
>> A.-S. /bug-an/, to bow; Teut. /boechel/, gibbus. Germ. /bugel/, a
>> dimin. from /bug/, denoting any thing curved or circular. It is
>> undoubtedly the same word that is now pronounced /boolie-backit/, S.
> It's the "bodied like a beetle" quote that grabbed my attention. That
> seems potentially to be a good fit for bugle n.3. Is it plausible that
> there is a connection here? Or am I just going for the superficial
> similarity? ("beugle" is one of the spelling forms of bugle n.3 /and/
> the Dutch form "beugle" for "ring" is mentioned in the OED note) The
> other question is whether the "curved" meaning of "beugle" might have
> been derived from bugle n.1, drawing the link in the opposite direction.
> One additional note. There should be a 2.c definition added to bugle
> n.1--one for objects that are conical or funnel-shaped, in some
> superficial similarity to a bugle-horn, such as the Bugles snacks. I
> don't think it's particularly widespread, but it's certainly in use
> and it earned a mention in Wiktionary (no one else seems to have it,
> though).
> VS-)

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