The apple of one’s eye(ball)

The other day I came across the Dutch word oog [oːx], which means ‘spot; hole; period (of time); eye’ – I was looking for the equivalent of eye when I found it. Words like this with double o just appeal to me for some reason and I have to keep reminding myself that they the oo is not pronounced /uː/, as you might expect in English.

Other words in Dutch with double o include:

– ook = too, also, likewise, which always reminds me of how the librarian speaks in Terry Practhett’s Discworld stories (oook, eeek!)
– ooftboom = fruit tree
– ooi = ewe
– oom = uncle
– oor = handle; ear
– oord = place; spot
– oost = east

Eye-related words and expressions include:

– ogen = to look
– oogappel = eyeball (‘eye apple’)
– oogarts = ophtalmologist; oculist (‘eye doctor’)
– oog in oog = face to face (‘eye in eye’)
– in het oog krijgen = to perceive, to descry (‘to get in the eye’)
– in het oog springen = to catch the eye, to stand out (‘to spring/jump in the eye’)
– in het oog vallend = striking (‘falling in the eye’)
– met het oog op = considering (‘with the eye up/on’)
– uit het oog verliezen = to lose out of sight (‘to lose out of the eye’)

Source: Dictionary

This entry was posted in Dutch, English, German, Language, Words and phrases.

6 Responses to The apple of one’s eye(ball)

  1. Ned says:

    In at least 4 cases the oo comes from Northwest Germanic ‘au’ corresponding to an English ‘ea’ or German ‘au’:

    oog corresponds to German Auge
    ook corresponds to English ‘eak (out)’, German ‘auch’
    oost corrsponds to English ‘east’
    oor corresponds to English ‘ear’

  2. David Eger says:

    “ook corresponds to English ‘eak (out)’, German ‘auch’”

    Eke is the correct spelling here – but yes, part of the same pattern.

    Eke is also the derivation of nickname (originally an ekename = ‘an also-name’).

  3. David Eger says:

    Ook, auch and eke also appear to correspond to och and og, used for and in the Scandinavian languages.

    Could there even be a connection with ag/ac and agus in Welsh and Irish?

  4. BG says:

    Wiktionary suggests that the Old Irish ocus derives from *onktus meaning “near”, so it doesn’t seem related. The Scandinavian ones definitely are, though.

  5. BG says:

    Correction: *onkus-tus < *onkus .

  6. Drabkikker says:

    Also: Een oogje op iemand hebben “to have a little eye on someone” = to fancy someone; oog om oog, tand om tand = an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; een oogwenk = a blink of an eye; op je bolle ogen “on your bulbous eyes” (informal) = forget it; een blauw oog “a blue eye” = a black eye; vetogen “oil eyes”> = little droplets of oil floating on top of your soup; oogschaduw = eye shadow; beogen = to aim (to do sth); een lui oog = a lazy eye; ogen zo groot als schoteltjes “eyes as wide as saucers”.

    Additionally, oog can also mean “(small) island, eyot” in names such as in Schiermonnikoog “grey monk island”, Kallandsoog, etc.

%d bloggers like this: