English for parents – grumble and grizzle

Two of my favourite words are grumble and grizzle. Not because of what they mean, but because of how they sound. They are onomatopoeic words (they sound like what they mean) so they sound like the sound they represent. Got it? hummmm….

Grizzle means to cry in a irritated or uneasy way. A baby grizzles when it has wind or because it can’t get to sleep. Can you imagine the sound?

Grumble means to complain, often in a low voice with a continuous sound. A toddler might start grumbling if you don’t give him chocolate, before the real crying starts.

Only babies, and maybe toddlers, grizzle. Everyone can grumble. Here are some examples with grizzle:

  • The child in the pushchair, poor ugly little thing, grizzled steadily. 
  • She mentioned that her baby grizzles after each feeding

Grizzled can also be an adjective, but it describes the appearance of something or someone that is old and worn.

Examples with grumble:

  • Stop complaining, stop grumbling , stop crying
  • Then there are the growing grumbles of discontent 
  • Do not grumble when troubles and sorrows descend upon you

Have you heard any grizzly babies recently? Have you been grumbling? Let me know your favourite complaining words below.

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Published by Abbie

English teacher, coach and writer. Helping English learners and teachers get more confident in their skills.

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