Saturday, 20 April 2013


Tintin, Snowy, Dog, Bone, Chew, Gnaw, Begnaw,
Why, Snowy? Why oh why? Dietry supplement? Dental hygiene? I want to know!


Verb trans. Past participle begnawed, begnawn.
[Old English begnagan]

Gnaw at, nibble, corrode.

There are a multitude of be- words like begnaw, most of which aren't particularly interesting (such as begloom, which means 'to render gloomy'), so I've no idea why begnaw attracted the horizontal strike of my orange florescent marker.

It did set my mind wandering though: why do dogs chew bones? I took a little wander through the wisdom of the internet but mostly found information on destructive chewing and how to stop it (apparently, mature dogs often chew things out of begnawdom. Did you see how I did that? I thought it was rather good. No? OK). I did find a couple of articles positing research into the subject, but they were rather unsatisfactory. "[Dogs] have the tools to do that," one researcher told the BBC, "and they want to use their tools." Hmm.

Anyway, I never did find a satisfactory answer as to why dogs begnaw bones. If you have any ideas, or have anything else to say about begnaw, or you can suggest an even worse joke than my begnawdom one, please leave a comment below.

PS: After writing it down, I've decided that begloom is an interesting word - I know people that can begloom a room just by walking into it. 


  1. I've attempted puns like that. I'm afraid their effect on listeners is often to beyawn.

  2. I'm trying to think of a pun but you've probably heard then all begnaw. Oh wait, that'll do.
    (Does Benidorm count as a 'be' word?) -c

  3. I bedore (best I could do haha) this post primarily for the image selection - I spent hours pouring over Tintin books as a child. If they weren't so expensive, I would invest in the entire set! I might just have to do that anyway! It would be a nice option whenever begnawdom struck :p.

    1. As someone that grew up on Tintin, Kara, expect to see him referenced a lot in Lexicolatry - as I did already when I wrote about the word bashi-bazouk : o )