General Question

Nimis's avatar

In the context of looking at something, is "gander" a verb or a noun? Or both?

Asked by Nimis (13130points) September 19th, 2008

I once mentioned that although it was always used in the context of an action (looking) gander was actually a noun because you take it…as in take a gander. But my friend countered by saying that you could also use it as a verb…as in you can just gander at something.

Now I can’t for the life of me remember whether I’ve ever (or never) heard this before. Have you (or can you recall anyone you know who has) ever used gander as a verb?
Bonus Question: Isn’t a gander a bird? How did “bird” come to be (essentially) equated to “look”?

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34 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Verb it is. From World Wide Words

“A quick, er, gander at the word’s history is illuminating. It seems the verb to gander in this sense is actually American in origin, something I find more than a little surprising, because it sounds English to me. A little more delving, however, shows that the roots of the expression are indeed from this side of the pond. A work of 1887, The Folk-Speech of South Cheshire, says, “Gonder, to stretch the neck like a gander, to stand at gaze”. The next known example is from the Cincinnati Enquirer of 9 May 1903: “Gander, to stretch or rubber your neck”. It is claimed that it comes from thieves’ slang.”

Nimis's avatar

Even though all the online dictionaries only have it listed as a noun,
I had to ask because my friend’s counter argument sounded quite plausible.

Thanks!

That was quick.

Nimis's avatar

A-ha! I just found your resource. It also says:

The form you quote, to take a gander, is recorded from the USA around 1914; here, gander is a noun in the sense of a inquisitive look. In the century since, that form has become much more common while the verb has lost ground.

That explains a lot!

scamp's avatar

The ‘other gander” is a male goose. As is “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

Nimis's avatar

Aye, I knew that one at least.
That one be definitely a noun.

scamp's avatar

yepper!!

gailcalled's avatar

Close but no cigar. It is “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” But still an interesting question.

And in current-day parlance, I hear and use only “to take a gander.” I wonder whether the younger generation has heard that expression?

Nimis's avatar

I think anyone born in the last century has only heard that version.
Unless you’re an English major who works at a library.

gailcalled's avatar

—Is there anyone on Fluther who wasn’t born in the last century? And I am neither an English major nor Librarian but admittedly an enthusiastic fellow traveler.

scamp's avatar

What I said is correct. It is a derivative of your phrase

Nimis's avatar

Gail: Exactly! Meaning everyone (not just on Fluther) except my friend (who is an English major who works at the library) has probably only heard that later version.

gailcalled's avatar

True, but since I am older than you, Scamp, I am familiar only with the earlier version. Are we at cross-purposes here? It seems so. I am now on the same page as you two.

Nimis's avatar

I’ve heard of both.
I am in limbo page.

poofandmook's avatar

my goose doesn’t even like sauce.

Nimis's avatar

Poof: That is because she is a wise goose.
And realizes she’s about to become someone’s dinner.

scamp's avatar

Wait a minute. I thought it was duck sauce!! I must be quacking up!

gailcalled's avatar

No, no, no, my little sly one. I am avoiding that trap.

Nimis's avatar

Scamp: Haha…I thought you were doing an impression of JackAdams.
With your bolded fonts and puns and all…

scamp's avatar

It was pretty corny, wasn’t it?

poofandmook's avatar

What trap? [I is confuzzled]

Nimis's avatar

Scamp: Jack would be proud.

scamp's avatar

Heh heh, sorry, it’s been a very long day!

Nimis's avatar

Scamp: No need for apologies.
‘Twas a good chuckle-groan!
Grockle?

Nimis's avatar

Gail: Not a trap, my dear.
Merely, you underestimate people who are younger. ;)

scamp's avatar

Thanks! lol @ grockle, how ‘bout croan?

gailcalled's avatar

@Nimis and Scamp; I was talking about the interminable long and unfunny predictable duet of last night.

Nimis's avatar

Gail: I think I need a link somewhere in that answer.

poofandmook's avatar

What’s one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

gailcalled's avatar

Lucky you. You missed it. Here

Poof; I know; but that really got out of control. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. I do understand that we have different responses here.

Nimis's avatar

A-ha. The innocent-looking one is the culprit. Should have known.

gailcalled's avatar

@Nim; Who’s the “innocent one?” Give us a hint, at least.

Nimis's avatar

Dude. One of the time stamps says September 5th!
How long has the thread been going on?

I think JackAdams and Stratman get my vote for Most Ridiculous Fluther Bromance.

Nimis's avatar

Gail: Why…poof of course! Looking so cute all curled up in her avatar…
..all the while cruelly dangling bait for a merciless war of puns.

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