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  • Paul Anthony Jones


(n.) difficulty or hoarseness in speaking

When your voice disappears or grows creaky due to ill health, you’re experiencing mogiphonia.

That’s a word first introduced to medical literature in the nineteenth century, with the Oxford English Dictionary unearthing an early reference from 1890.

Etymologically, you’re likely way ahead of us here, and are already connecting this word to others like phonology and telephone: at its root is phone, a Greek word for sound. But what about that ‘mogi–’ part?

Mogos was a Greek word for toil or hard labour, and derived from that was an adverb, mogis, that essentially meant ‘with difficulty’. It is this that’s been called upon to coin this word—as well as a handful of others in English, like mogilalia (a term from the seventeenth century for stammering, hesitation, or similar difficulty in speaking), and mogigraphia (an old-fashioned name for writer’s cramp, dating from the 1800s).


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