It’s stodgy weather, chums, when all
is muck and slush and sludge,
like guts full stuffed with porridge till
your brain and butt can’t budge.
We’re stood in mud in gumboots, chums,
while buses lumber by,
still wanting will to trudge alone
as drool drips from the sky.
We dine on fudge and dumplings, chums,
and, sausage-stuffed and drunk,
we slouch on chair or couch or bed
or slump in tub and dunk.
Such stuff late winter’s made of, chums,
all wet and wait and weight,
slide slowly, sleepy, congee-clogged,
and eat, and snooze at eight,
And have a beer or two, dessert,
read books or just a blog,
and give in to inertia like
a stodgy big old dog.
Stodgy. It’s a word that sounds like what it means, isn’t it? There’s a reason for that. It’s formed from stodge, the etymology of which is not properly known – no one has mustered the energy to trace it to its birth – but a common thought is that it’s “perhaps phonetically symbolic after words like stuff, podge,” to quote the Oxford English Dictionary. In other words, it’s likely phonaesthetic – the weight of existing words bogs down the sounds and gives them a kind of gravity that helps form new words and season existing ones.
Stodge, incidentally, was first a verb, meaning ‘stuff’ or ‘gorge’ and later ‘bog down’ or ‘trudge’; stodge the noun came along after meaning ‘mud’ or ‘porridge’ or ‘stuff that’s hard to get through’; at last, stodgy came around, first meaning ‘thick, glutinous’, and then more generally ‘heavy, hard to get through’, and then extending from that to more figurative uses: music, literature, ideas, moods, and people. And weather, chums.