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What does it Mean to "Hock a Loogie"?

People who smoke heavily are more likely to be able to "hock a loogie."
"Loogies", which are thick globs of nasal mucus, are produced more often during an illness like a cold and can cause sneezing or coughing fits.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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It's generally a good idea to keep most of your bodily fluids to yourself, especially if they can be described as loogies, luggies, lugies, or green spit. Others will thank you for your self-control and courtesy, trust us. But if you feel the urge to hock a loogie, you should at least have a working knowledge of basic gross-out technology.

To hock a loogie means to expectorate or spit out a generous supply of mucus thoughtfully stored in your throat and lungs. Some people find this easier to accomplish than others, especially if they are afflicted with chest congestion, smoke heavily or have few reservations about coughing up their own phlegm for visceral effect.

Sometimes a person may hock a loogie for purely medical, if not exactly aesthetic, reasons. Coughing up and expectorating excessive mucus from the throat and lungs can temporarily relieve the uncomfortable sense of fullness accompanying a chest cold. In a self-medicating sense, coughing up phlegm may be seen as the equivalent of sneezing to relieve nasal congestion. Perhaps the activity should be restricted to times when others are out of earshot, but there's nothing inherently wrong with clearing an infected chest through productive coughing.

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Others may decide to hock a loogie for a decidedly different reason, however. The act of spitting saliva on another person has a certain psychological effect, but the gesture is often intensified by generating additional mucus to form a much larger and insidious projectile. Recipients of a loogie assault generally remember the event long after the fact and recognize its underlying intent. To hock a loogie in anger is considered a serious escalation in playground warfare, and is generally reserved for the worst offenders.

The origin of the term loogie is a bit shadowy, but some suggest it is shorthand for a "lung booger," the equivalent of thick nasal mucus which adheres to the sides of the lungs until forcibly ejected. Boogers and loogies are both favorite sources of gross-out humor by pre-adolescents who enjoy shocking their friends and families with inappropriate acts of spitting and expectorating mucus.

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Discuss this Article

anon952526
Post 12

The word is "hawk." it means to raise by trying to clear the throat.

anon938136
Post 11

What? That is not what I understand it to mean at all. Isn't it when a person hocks (making a semi coughing noise to loosen something from the throat), then spits out a semi solid small ball of waxy substance that was formed in the upper throat from sinus drainage?

literally45
Post 9

In some cultures, spitting on someone is dishonoring them. It's a very belittling action and is meant to be a kind of protest against that person and their behavior. For example, if someone is doing something wrong, you can spit on them to show them how lowly you think of them. But it's reserved for bullies and unjust people. The repercussions aren't usually pleasant either.

The only difference is that there isn't much of hacking action involved. It's just spitting from the tip of the tongue, without the use of much spit. The point is not to drench someone in saliva, it's just to make a statement about disapproval.

ysmina
Post 8

@anon343574-- Do you think that's where "hock" comes from?

I personally don't understand the origin of this phrase. Is it originally English? I've seen other variations of it like "hawk a lunger" and "hang a louie."

burcinc
Post 7

There is nothing more disturbing than seeing a tobacco chewer or smoker hocking a loogie in the middle of the street. I find it very repulsive and I have no idea what these people are thinking doing it publicly.

Sometimes we all need to hock a loogie. I've had a lot of congestion and phlegm before when I was sick. But I always go rid of it discreetly in my bathroom. I don't think that this is something that should be done publicly no matter what the reason.

anon347729
Post 6

I wasn't expecting such a well thought out and well written article to cover this topic. I definitely agree that it is not socially acceptable. To do so on a normal basis around other people is never acceptable.

anon343574
Post 5

The word "hock" is definitely the noise the person makes while they are trying to get the phlegm out of their lungs. Which makes the whole term that much more humorous.

anon242784
Post 2

Wow. Interesting, yet very gross.

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