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The Origin of the Word "groggy"

Have you ever used the word, “groggy”? This is an adjective used to describe the feeling of being weak, dazed, unsteady, or half-asleep.

The word might be used in a way like this: “Don’t expect a lot out of Pete this morning. He didn’t get much sleep tonight and is a little groggy.”

The term has a rather interesting origin. It came from Admiral Edward Vernon, who lived between the late-1600’s and mid-1700’s. Admiral Vernon commanded that his men receive diluted rum daily.

Now, the Admiral was known to often wear a cloak of grogram. Grogram is a very coarse fabric and the word is French for large grain. Because of his habit, the Admiral was known as ‘Old Grog’.

The diluted rum took on the name from the person who inspired it and became known as grog. Naturally, anyone who had a bit too much grog to drink was said to be groggy.

We have the word today because of that historical tidbit. A person can be groggy due to drinking too much alcohol, from being sick, or from the lack of sleep. Still, the term came from a practice started by Old Grog, Admiral Vernon. It has been in use since at least 1770.


What do you think?

Written by Rex Trulove


    • You know, that makes me wonder where Admiral Vernon sailed. I used to like rum and preferred Puerto Rican rum, though rum can be made almost anywhere that sugar cane is grown.