January 30th, 2012

pingle

pingle

noun.
1.  a small tin pan or saucepan with a long handle.
2.  a small piece of inclosed (fenced or surrounded on all sides) ground.

verb. 
1.  to strive or struggle; to toil without much progress.
2.  to dawdle or trifle with one's food; to eat with little appetite.

Etymology:  The word seems to originate from Swedish pyngla, to toil with little effect.  In use in English since at least the 1600s:  "...great drinkers, who for the most part do (as we fay) but pingle at their meat, and eat little" - English naturalist John Ray.

According to The English Dialect Dictionary, pingling is "the act of struggling or striving for a livelihood...without much success".  Now that's a word we could use in modern English.