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Dudgeon means resentment

James K. Sayre Oakland
Thursday October 25, 2001


I read with interest Mr. James Day’s recent letter about the recent poses and machinations of the Berkeley City Council (10/20) regarding terrorism. However, I was surprised by your following editorial comment which took his use of “High Dudgeon” to task, implying that he had misused the phrase. You stated that “Webster says “dudgeon” is a wood used especially for dagger hilts.” Actually, that use is the second definition and is considered by some dictionaries to be obsolete. The first and primary definition is variously, “a feeling of offense, resentment” (Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1995), “anger or resentment, now chiefly in the phrase, in high dudgeon” (Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, 1974) or “sullen displeasure; resentment” [probably from the Welsh dugen, “malice” (Funk & Wagnalls College Standard Dictionary, 1931). So I would suggest that letter writer Mr. Day used the term properly.  


James K. Sayre