I saw a Facebook post a couple weeks ago in which someone realized disgruntled was the opposite of gruntled–a word they’d never heard before, but which they were “very gruntled to learn about.” I got a good laugh out of it…so naturally, had to look it up. Though in this case, the looking-up taught me that it wasn’t quite as straightforward as all that.

Back in the Middle Ages, gruntled meant “to grumble or complain.” Apparently occasionally the prefix dis- means “very, entirely,” which is what it does in this case (who knew?). So disgruntle began its life as a verb that meant “to disappoint, offend, or throw into a sulky state.” The verb was rarely used as a regular verb, though–mostly only as a past participle, disgruntled. Which has been a common word since 1680.

It wasn’t until 1938 that someone thought it would be fun to create a back-form for gruntle, that means the opposite of disgruntled–namely, “pleased, satisfied.” By this time, the original meaning of gruntle (“to grunt”) had been lost to the mists of the past, so the word was wide open to new meaning. 😉

I’m sure you’re very gruntled to learn about that too.

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