might seem curious that most currently used words employed
in the world of puzzling find their origins in Old French!
The word Puzzle comes from pusle “bewilder,
confound” which is a frequentive of the obsolete
verb pose (from Medieval French aposer)
in sense of “perplex”. The meaning of the word
as “a toy contrived to test one’s ingenuity” is
relatively recent (within mid-19th century). Metagrobolize first appeared in English texts in
the mid-17th century. You won’t find the root of this term in either a
scientific or Greek dictionary as it is originated in France several centuries
ago and was used in contexts which were intended to amuse. Actually, metagrobolize first
appeared as part of a translation of the works of the French satirist François
Rabelais. Rabelais’s version of the term (métagaboulizer)
was a now-obsolete French verb that meant “to puzzle, mystify”. Recently,
the noun Metagrobologist has been adopted by a number of puzzlers as a term for “one
who does and makes puzzles”.
But what would be the correct scientific noun for “puzzle addict”?
In Old Greek there are 2 terms indicating the action of puzzling: ainigma from
the Greek verb ainissomai “talking with insinuations or with codes,
making wordplay...” and grîphos “challenging question,
enigma”. The equivalent Latin word of grîphos is scirpus (nodum
in scirpo quaerere means “to find problems where actually there aren’t
any”). Curiously, the Vatican has coined a “new” Latin word
for brainteasers: subverticula. O.K., now that you are perfectly updated
on the terminology in use... if someone should call you a GRIPHOMANIAC, don’t
lose your cool, griphomania is a pleasant medical condition inducing
an insatiable desire to make and solve puzzles!