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  • Paul Anthony Jones


(n.) the sound made by walking in wet shoes

wet hiking shoes on gravel and shingle at a beach seaside

The word chorking popped up on the HH feed this week and proved surprisingly popular:

Apparently, waterlogged footwear is a longstanding problem: the Oxford English Dictionary has unearthed its earliest record of the verb chork as early as 1440.

Chork, as you can probably imagine, was coined onomatopoeically to echo what the Scottish National Dictionary describes as “the sound made when walking with water-filled shoes.” But both the OED and SND point out that chorking was probably also influenced by chirking, an even older dialect word for any kind of strident, grating sound, like the gnashing of teeth, the creaking of a door, or the harsh frictional squealing of two solid objects rubbing against one another.

Chirkling, meanwhile is the sound of grinding teeth (as, apparently “sheep are in the habit of doing”). Jirging or girging is the sound made by walking across muddy ground. And jappling is another word for the sound made by wet shoes, probably derived from the older use of jaup or japp to mean “to splash in puddles” or “to spill or shake a water-filled container”.


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