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Re: Hadn't twigged

Posted by David FG on March 24, 2011 at 21:42

In Reply to: Re: Hadn't twigged posted by James Briggs on March 22, 2011 at 11:47:

: : What's the origin of the phrase "hadn't twigged", meaning: had not realised?

: Twig is derived from the Irish word "tuigim" meaning "I understand".

The Irish origin is one theory, it is true. If it is the correct one, it would make this rather obscure little verb very unusual. Words adopted into English from Irish are very rare, and the majority of the few are nouns (whiskey/whisky, smithereens, shilelagh and so on) with 'galore' being a notable exception.

Off hand I can't think of a single verb (certainly not one in common use) that has made the cross-over.

I think the safest explanation of the origin of 'to twig' is the time-honoured 'uncertain'.

DFG