I love learning new, or new-to-me, words, even if they are old out-of-use words.

My latest discovery is one that Newfoundland owners in particular, and I suspect dog owners in general, will greatly appreciate. It is to groke, a verb that means to stare at somebody while they are eating in the hope they will share some of their food. It is not to be confused with The Grokea fictional character in the Moomin stories by Swedish author Tove Jansson.

My Lady MacBeth is a world-class groker, as you can imagine. She will even groke for stuff she doesn’t like, such as vegetables, which, if offered, she will push away with her nose. Sometimes she even grokes in anticipation of food, like if I open the fridge or when I’m cooking. Newf owners know the look.

According to etymologist Mark Forsyth–who writes a great blog about English words and phrases–to groke is an old Scots word, which was used to describe our envious canine friends, but can also be applied to covetous people.

The Germans have a related word I also love, futterneid, which literally translates as food envy, a very useful term for that feeling you get when your food comes at a restaurant and you discover what your companion ordered looks and smells better than what you chose.