codswallop

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Unknown, attested from 1959 episode of UK TV series Hancock’s Half Hour. The writers (Galton and Simpson) state that the phrase was in general use when the show was broadcast.[1][2] A national TV appeal in the UK in 2006 failed to find earlier references.[1] Originally written (1963) codswallop, spelling cod's wallop is later.

Various etymologies are proposed from some sense o(as in codpiece), from cod (joke, imitation)[1] + wallop (beer (slang)), hence cod + wallop “imitation beer” (with interconsonantal -s- to ease pronunciation of -dw-), or from cod (fish) (some part of the fish, as from fishing industry).

A frequently given etymology, rejected as a folk etymology, derives it from Hiram Codd, British soft drink maker of the 1870s, known for the eponymous Codd-neck bottle, with the suggestion that codswallop is a derisive term for soft drinks by beer drinkers, from Codd’s + wallop (beer (slang)) “Codd’s beer (sarcastic)”. This is widely rejected – there is no evidence that early uses had this sense, the slang wallop (beer) comes later than Codd’s lifetime,[1] initial spellings (1963 in print) do not reflect such a derivation (*Codd’s wallop and *coddswallop with -dd- are not found), and there is an 80 year gap between proposed coinage and attestation.

This is also the name given to the wooden device placed over the neck of a codd bottle and given a push (wallop) to dislodge the marble in the neck of the bottle. The word has also been used to describe the process of opening a codd bottle.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

codswallop (uncountable)

  1. (UK, slang) Senseless talk or writing; nonsense.
    • 1959 Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, Hancock’s Half Hour,
      Tony: I was not.
      Sidney: Don’t give me that old codswallop. You were counting your money.
    • 1963 October 17, Radio Times, 52/2,
      Just branding a programme as ‘rubbish’, ‘tripe’, or—there are a lot of these—‘codswallop’, gives little indication of what moved the viewer to write.
    • 1981 October 1, John Turner, Review: Autumn Books: Prometheus bounded?, New Scientist, page 41,
      An interviewer from a Warsaw radio station stopped a citizen in the street. Was the recent demonstration necessary? “History will tell.” But what did he think? “I am not a historian.” Likewise Lumsden′s and Wilson′s book. If it is not a load of codswallop, it will turn out to be very important. If it is not a load of codswallop. Faites vos jeux!
    • 1993, J. Neville Turner, The One-Day Game – Cricket or Codswallop?, in 2001, David John Headon, The Best Ever Australian Sports Writing: A 200 Year Collection.
    • 2010, Grahame Howard, The Wishing Book 3 – Extermination, page 66,
      “I′ve told you all I know,” Rosa Armaz told Boarski and Yermin, “I don′t know what my husband has been doing. He′d mentioned going to Mars with the children but I thought it was a load of codswallop.”

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 A load of codswallop”, The Phrase Finder, Gary Martin.
  2. ^ codswallop, DRAFT REVISON Jan. 2006, OED Online, archived from original on 2009–03–09