Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Word Mystery: hangover / resaca / gueule de bois


Every Wednesday, I explore the linguistic origins of one word in different languages I speak.

My first hangoverChalk this Word Mystery up to another one that would have possibly been better served posted on a different date. There are plenty to choose from, last Wednesday would have been a good one, but since I was on hiatus and am the worst at remembering holidays…

Well, there’s no time like the present so grab your favorite libation and take a swig after you’ve ingested some knowledge drops.

EN → hangover — a severe headache or other after effects caused by drinking an excess of alcohol. ORIGIN comes from the original meaning, “a thing that has survived from the past”, in this case, yesterday’s booze in today’s body.

ES → resaca — (3rd) Malestar que padece al despertar quien ha bebido alcohol en exceso. [Ailment afflicting those who awake after having drunk excessive alcohol.] ORIGIN resacar, a nautical verb related to pulling a boat out of harbor and to the ebb and flow of tides.

FR → gueule de boislangue pâteuse et sensation de lourdeur dans la tête le lendemain d’un excès de boisson. [Thick tongue and feeling of heaviness in the head the day after excessive drinking.] ORIGIN Latin gula [throat] + bois [wood], modern meanings of gueule include face, facial expression, animal with a muzzle/snout.

Today’s Winner: Before I researched, I was going to go with French because I love the descriptive nature of “wooden throat” and how that does kind of describe a hangover (though mine tend to be focussed on the head and stomach). However, after looking into all the origins, I’m going with Spanish because I find something terribly poetic and sad about a hangover being like an ebbing in your mind and body.

Bar snacks

Things I never would have guessed were related: French fabric, George Washington’s brother and the word groggy. I’ve got to pick this book up since it sounds crazy interesting.

Today’s image comes from a Worth1000.com gallery imagining real-life Precious Moments figurines (which is weirdly restricted now) but any thought of those knickknacks makes me think of, yes, SNL and Maya Rudolph’s genius incarnation of Donatella Versace who would warn people not to “trash that curio cabinet over there filled with my Precious Moments figurines.” Sadly, no one has uploaded the complete sketches, but here’s a compilation of other great moments from the recurring character. Now, GET OUT!

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

2 thoughts on “Word Mystery: hangover / resaca / gueule de bois

  1. In Mexico they call the resaca ‘la cruda.’ I feel that one needs no explanation

tell me something good

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s