guzzle

In coastal New England and the Canadian Maritimes, a guzzle is (1) a natural spillway across a beach, affording a temporary connection between the sea and the marshes behind the beach, according to John Stilgoe’s Shallow Water Dictionary; (2) a small harbor, barely bigger than a gunk hole, according to John Gould’s Maine Lingo; (3) any small creek draining a tidal marsh or a wetland adjacent to it. Hunters and fishermen commonly use the word in this last sense. The author of The Partridge Creek Chronicles finds snipe in “the guzzle that empties the meadow” in coastal New Brunswick. A Massachusetts fishing guide mentions “dozens of bass parading down a guzzle” near Barnstable Harbor. Anatomically, guzzle as a noun once referred to the throat. This explains its connection to the verb “to guzzle”—to imbibe immoderately, like some undergraduates and all SUVs.

Franklin Burroughs