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11 January 2010

Monday's Word - Jollop

You're wondering what this is, aren't you? Go on, admit it.

Ok, then, I'll tell you. It's a dollop of ice cream. Ice cream? In this weather? Brrr. All right then, let's say its a dollop of cream instead. Or perhaps it's a 'jollop' of cream. According to Michael Quinion:

"You may know it better as "jalap", since "jollop" is principally a
British spelling. It's a liquid medicine of some sort, particularly
cough syrup or a laxative.

"The 'jollop' pronunciation was known in English dialects for many decades before it began to be put into writing. A century ago, the English Dialect Dictionary found it in Lincolnshire and Lancashire and recorded that it then meant "a semi-fluid mess of anything; a big mess of food, a 'dollop'." That hints that it's a variation on "jalap", under the influence of "dollop". The pronunciation is at least a hundred years older:

"Jollop" has been recorded in American dictionaries as a slang term for a measure of strong liquor. The American Century Dictionary of 1895 said that it was an English provincial term for the cry of a turkey, which no British dictionary admits to knowing about. On the other hand, "jollop" was at one time a name for the wattles of thebird, probably from 'dewlap'."

So now you know where the word comes from, you can give your hero and heroine a big 'dollop' of romance - or if you're a reader, indulge in a dollop of luurve in your reading.

Do you have a word you use instead of dollop or jollop?

*World Wide Words is copyright (c) Michael Quinion 2009. All rights reserved. The Words Web site is at http://www.worldwidewords.org