I just had an interesting conversation with my NZ colleague regarding some sweets on the table. I turned down her offer, saying it was too 'cloying' for me, which got her stumped. After I explained what I was trying to say, she said that she would say 'gluggy' instead. I searched online and found the definition for 'gluggy' is 'Liquid and viscous; moving slowly when poured. The jelly was not yet set, but quite gluggy', which doesn't seem to be the right word. So, I'd like to know what native speakers think about these two words.

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards, Danny

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    "Gluggy" is not a common term in the US, to my knowledge. "Cloying" is a tricky term. By the dictionary it means something like "sickly sweet", but it tends to be used sometimes to imply something like "overly sentimental".
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 8, 2017 at 4:28
  • What sort of sweets were they? Perhaps she misinterpreted and thought you were referring to the viscosity. It wasn't Turkish Delight, was it?
    – Jangari
    Mar 8, 2017 at 4:35
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    No opinion about gluggy. Cloying is a stretch. I'd say "too sweet for me." I'm in the U.S. Mar 8, 2017 at 4:49
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    @aparente001 I'm in the USA as well, but I do occasionally use cloying. 7-11 in Florida sells glazed donuts. They are too sweet for my taste. Several years ago some genius had the idea of making some sort of "dream donuts". What they did was take the already too sweet glazed donuts, and cover them with another layer of chocolate frosting. Those were most certainly cloying, and in my opinion, inedible. After about a year, they went back to chocolate donuts with just one layer of frosting.
    – RichF
    Mar 8, 2017 at 8:07
  • @RichF - Yes, "too sweet for my taste" is probably the clearest. I might also say something is "sickeningly sweet" or "saccharine sweet" . Though the latter may not be as familiar to everyone.
    – Leigh
    Mar 8, 2017 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


Cloying is described in on-line dictionaries (not specific to NZ) as sickeningly sweet, and is used to refer not only to sugary treats but to odors and overly sweet scenes in novels, sitcoms, and the like. "Syrupy" is one synonym, probably referring to a sweet syrup one might put on pancakes. Thus, "gluggy" might be an NZ word for syrupy. "Cloying" is in common use in the United States; "gluggy" isn't.


Gluggy refers to a near-fluid that is and sticky while cloying refers to almost the same thing but slightly thicker. It seems reasonable that in NZ English the two might be interchangeable at a certain level of fluid thickness.

I'm not an NZ native but I have NZ friends who use the word "gluggy". Here in the UK a fluid that is "glugging" doesn't have the same expectation of thickness applied to it.

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