Definition of boggle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbɒɡ(ə)l/


[no object] informal
1(Of a person or their mind) be astonished or baffled when trying to imagine something: the mind boggles at the spectacle
More example sentences
  • The mind boggles, and so, I imagine, do the eyes.
  • When respected performers like her take five million dollars from Chanel No.5 to transform into little more than a big-screen Avon Lady, however, the mind truly boggles.
  • That's why my mind boggles when I see or hear people talking about American Idol.
marvel, wonder, be astonished, be astounded, be amazed, be filled with amazement, be overwhelmed, be shocked, be staggered, be bowled over, be startled;
gape, goggle, gawk
informal be flabbergasted
1.1 [with object] Cause (a person or their mind) to be astonished: the inflated salary of a star boggles the mind
More example sentences
  • Sharon's long standing demand for seven days of total quiet has been so utterly unrealistic it boggles the mind.
  • But then everything in this excerpt is so narrow-minded and wrong, it just boggles the mind that a 31-year-old could have said it.
  • The sheer amount of time and patience it must have taken to painstakingly draw out these complex pieces boggles the mind, which can be said for another series he created from the Surrey Suburban Project.
astonish, astound, amaze, fill with amazement, overwhelm, shock, startle, fill with wonder
1.2 (boggle at) (Of a person) hesitate to do or accept: you never boggle at plain speaking
More example sentences
  • Whilst watching a soap opera, and boggling at the revelation that a character had gone away and come back with a changed face, her puzzled six-year-old tugged on her skirt hem.
  • I see houses being showcased and toured on Channel 4's neverending parade of property programmes and I boggle at the fact that nobody who appears on any of them ever seems to have any stuff.
  • His first employers thought a Cajun audience might boggle at a journalist called ‘Wiltfong’.
demur, jib, shrink from, flinch from, recoil from, hang back from, waver, falter, dither, baulk, vacillate about, think twice about, be reluctant about, have scruples about, scruple about, have misgivings about, have qualms about, be chary of, hesitate to, be shy about, be coy about, shy away from
informal be cagey about, shilly-shally


Late 16th century: probably of dialect origin and related to bogle and bogey2.

  • mind from Old English:

    English mind shares its ancient root with Latin mens ‘mind’, from which demented (mid 17th century), mental (Late Middle English), and mention derive. The mind can do many wonderful things, including ‘boggling’. The phrase the mind boggles, meaning that someone becomes astonished or overwhelmed at the thought of something, is first recorded in the 1890s. Boggle itself is probably a dialect word related to bogle ‘a phantom or goblin’ and bogey ‘an evil or mischievous spirit’. Someone may have warned you to mind your Ps and Qs, ‘be careful to behave well and avoid giving offence’. The expression has been known since the 1770s, but its exact origins are uncertain. One obvious suggestion is that it comes from a child's early days of learning to read and write, when they might find it difficult to distinguish between the two tailed letters p and q. Another idea suggests that printers had to be very careful to avoid confusing the two letters when setting metal type. Mind how you go!, meaning ‘be careful, look after yourself’, has been common in Britain since the 1940s. It was popularized by the long-running BBC TV series Dixon of Dock Green (1955–76), in which it was a catchphrase of the avuncular PC George Dixon, along with evening all.

Words that rhyme with boggle

goggle, joggle, synagogal, toggle, woggle

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bog¦gle

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