Ah, surely 土竜 (mogura, mole) and 潜る (moguru, to dig) are related! <----- Clueless

It made so much sense… so of course it wouldn’t be like that.

A surface analysis suggests a derivation from the verb 潜る (moguru, “to go underneath or into something, such as water or the ground”).

However, the modern mogura reading appears to be relatively recent. The older form of this noun was variously ugoromochi, uguromochi, or uguramochi, deriving from now-obsolete verb 墳つ (ugumotsu, uguromotsu, ugomotsu, ugoromotsu, “to become a pile or small hill, as of soil”). This verb itself appears to be a compound deriving from obsolete 穿ぐ (ugu, “to dig a hole”, a 下二段 (shimo nidan) or “lower bigrade” conjugation verb) + 持つ (motsu, “to have in hand; to carry, to bring”), with an underlying idea of “that which digs and brings up the dirt [to form a molehill]”. The verb ugu had a 連体形 (rentaikei, “attributive form”) of uguru, attaching only to nouns, suggesting that the original parsing of this might have been “digging bringer”.

The shift in sound from uguru to the variants uguro and ugoro may be a reflection of the morpheme -ro that appears in numerous words indicating a hollow interior. Compare 空ろ (utsuro, “a hollow, an emptiness”), (muro, “a room; an excavated dwelling on the side of a mountain”), (fukuro, “a bag”), possibly even (tokoro, “a place”). The ugoromochi reading appears in the 本草和名 (Honzō Wamyō), a pharmacopoeia compiled some time in the years 901–923.

The uguramochi variant was either dialectal, or a later development.
With the beginning of the Edo period and the shift in the political and cultural center to Edo, uguramochi was superseded by the eastern dialectal form muguramochi. The 1603 日葡辞書 (Nippo Jisho, “Japanese-Portuguese Dictionary”) lists one variant as mugura, indicating that the mochi portion could be dropped. This mugura then became mogura, possibly influenced by the verb 潜る (moguru).


Here is an other fact for Final Fantasy fans.

Mōguri, the Japanese transliteration of “moogle”, is a portmanteau of the words mogura (土竜, mole) and kōmori (蝙蝠, bat).

I did not know that but the title of your thread made me look it up.


thanks, cool fact

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