The Discouraging Word carries out lexicographical investigations of those three words (surely linked here for the first time) with its usual vigor and enthusiasm; scroll down to the relevant headings. (TDW is a proudly nineteenth-century blog: impeccable style, no permalinks.) Readers with ornitho-etymological ambitions can try answering the question there posed (s.v. “owly”): how did owls come to be associated with grumpiness?
I myself have a question about the movie-industry use of “vigorish” exemplified in this quote:
The companies are not in any way stealing from the picture-makers. They have to have built-in vigorishes—or else they’d go broke. Who pays for the 21 million dollars lost on The Sorcerer? The Studio!
This does not seem to fit under either of the dictionary definitions, ‘percentage taken by a bookie or the house on a bet’ or ‘interest, especially excessive interest, paid to a moneylender.’ Anybody have information on the movie definition and how it developed?
(You can leave suggestions here, since TDW has no comment function either. Please don’t anybody tell them Queen Victoria has passed on, at least not without hiding the laudanum first.)
Addendum. TDW also discusses the word “natch,” for which (in the Scots sense ‘incision, notch’) Anatoly supplies a delightful Burns quote in the comments.