Words are wonderful things. Some, I love for the way they look. Others, for the way they sound. But this one struck me as unusual, and slightly wrong. GRUNTLED.
If disgruntled means angry or dissatisfied, it makes sense that gruntled means the opposite. So why don’t we used it in everyday language?
When I first saw the meme floating around on Facebook, I was surprised to find such a word existed, and even doubted it was even real. It just didn’t sound right. Even as I type, little red squiggles appear and it suggests I change it to grunted. But I do not mean grunted, (although the word originally derives from grunt before it morphed into the modern meaning,) I mean gruntled.
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the first use of the word was back in 1926, but it doesn’t give a source.
And according the the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known use of “gruntled” as an adjective to mean “in good humor” or “pleased” is attributed to P.G. Wodehouse, who included this sentence in his 1938 novel The Code of the Woosters:
He spoke with a certain what-is-it in his voice, and I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.
Another example of the word was in the 1962 Delinquents 76 by C. Rohan:
Come on, Brownie darling, be gruntled.
So come on, my darlings, let’s be gruntled.