I wore the wrong shirt today, I’ll tell you that right away.

You know how sometimes some people will say “Well, dressed like that, you were asking for trouble”? I’m not generally sympathetic to these judgements, but oh boy, today it was real for me. That thin cotton shirt decorated with a riot of colourful tropical flora was… a bad idea.

I got mugged.

By the weather.

OK, I got outside and found the weather was muggy. Very muggy. I wound up as soaked and woozy as a sot, and my shirt stuck to me like so much muck. Yuck. A rolling stone gathers no moss, perhaps, but a walking son of rock in a floral shirt may be a fecund site for flora to take root.

Why would anyone make a tropical shirt in a clingy fabric? I have a few others that are made with coarse weaves, and they’re fine (yes, coarse is fine). This one has a high thread count and when the weather is humid it’s like wearing tissue paper. Gah. I had to change my shirt before going for a stroll along King Street to inspect the crowds assembled for the film festival angling to see stars mugging. So much for looking like a movie mogul. I would have been more like a moggie, mouillé.

But why do we call humid weather muggy?

The adjective seems to be derived from a word mug that is not the coffee cup but a word for mist, drizzle, or damp atmosphere. Other Germanic languages (in particular the Scandinavian ones) have a related word, usually spelled mugg, for similar gross and close climatic conditions. It is related to muck and probably to mucus.

Does that disgust you? Have a drink. Only don’t leave yourself feeling muggy – in the sense ‘tipsy’ or ‘groggy’, also related to muzzy, which means ‘gloomy’ or ‘tedious’ but also ‘muggy’ as in weather, which may come from mosy, which means ‘furry’ or ‘decayed’ or ‘befuddled’ or ‘muggy’, and which seems to be related to or derived from mossy.

All of which, mushy and fuzzy and confusing as they are, suit well such weather as conduces to lolling about hazy-headed and sweating in tropical shirts, quenching the thirst with beverages that only aggravate the turbid mind and torpid mug… wasting away in Muggaritaville.

3 responses to “muggy

  1. Pingback: Confessions of a chocoholic

  2. Reblogged this on cassidyslangscam and commented:
    According to the late Daniel Cassidy, muggy comes from the Irish múchta but this theory, like the rest of Cassidy’s theories, is about as useful as a chocolate teapot, as Stan so ably demonstrates in this post.

  3. Newfoundlanders have a word, “mawsey,” which might be related to what’s posted here.

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