Gigil is a tagalog word that is the feeling you get when you want to touch something and can’t… you know, the shivery, teeth-gritting feeling when you see a cute baby that isn’t related to you and you would instinctively want to scoop them up, or to tickle them, or to kiss them all over but…. you’re not related to them, and you don’t have parental permission and you know you just can’t…. well, that feeling is gigil.
You can also use it of the same shivery, teeth-gritted feeling when you’d love to slap some sense into someone and you know you can’t. Like your boss when he comes up with a day’s worth of work to be done that day… as noon on Friday. Or when the son tells you there was no air freshener in the house, so he used that bottle that was on your dressing table, because there wasn’t a lot in it (thus using the last hoarded drop of the expensive perfume your husband bought and won’t buy again until Christmas which is 6 months off) That feeling.
I’ll let you decide which sort I feel most.
As words we could do with, this one is one that I would end up using a lot. I love babies and children, so I’m often to be found smiling at them and itching to touch them. I should get used to saying “The Gigil is strong with this one.”
I love the idea that the word (they way I say it) sounds a lot like giggle. It has a happy sound. Some words just do, don’t they? Jeff Havens makes a case for muffin, pumpkin and bubble as happy sounding words. I’d add marshmallow, moomin and pleioscene as my happiest sounding words. Gigil is one of those. You know it’ll make you smile.
How to gigil this weekend? For a happy experience, smile into prams. Most children will smile back, and most parents will be pleased to be smiled at rather than frowned upon for daring to venture out with a kid in tow.
Smile at cats and dogs as well. Cats won’t honestly give a damn, just walk away with their tails flicking, but friendly dogs will know what you mean and will loll and play about to match.
And enjoy the experience of feeling a gigil and this time having a word for it. All these years, you know you’ve felt the feeling, but never had a word.
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2 thoughts on “A Word for the Weekend: Gigil”
Oh, I’ve always loved this word, it’s the same word with the same meaning we use in my dialect (in Pampango, another from the Philippines). I used it a lot as a youngster when I saw a crush, but also for feeling helpless when someone did something annoying and irreversible and they’re clueless about it and I’m too polite to tell them.
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Thank you for the extra information! I love knowing that words like this, that appear on lists, really do get used! I’ve started using this one when I see babies and tell my kids I’m all gigily inside!