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Alternative forms[edit]


From uncertain first element + pot.


gallipot (plural gallipots)

  1. A small glazed earthenware jar once used by apothecaries for holding ointment and medicine
    • 1732, Jonathan Swift, ‘The Lady's Dressing Room:
      Here gallypots and vials placed, / Some filled with washes, some with paste, / Some with pomatum, paints and slops, / And ointments good for scabby chops.
    • 1736, Richard Bradley, The Country Housewife and Lady's Director, London: D. Brown, 6th edition, p. 68, [1]
      Cut away all the hard part of your Asparagus, and just boil them up with Butter and Salt, then fling them into cold Water, and presently take them out again and let them drain; when they are cold, put them in a Gallipot, large enough for them to lie without bending []
    • 1857, Charles Dickens, chapter 6, in Little Dorrit[2]:
      The walls and ceiling were blackened with flies. Mrs Bangham, expert in sudden device, with one hand fanned the patient with a cabbage leaf, and with the other set traps of vinegar and sugar in gallipots; at the same time enunciating sentiments of an encouraging and congratulatory nature, adapted to the occasion.
    • 1933, George Orwell, chapter 11, in Down and Out in Paris and London[3]:
      Then we swept up the litter from the floor, threw down fresh sawdust, and swallowed gallipots of wine or coffee or water—anything, so long as it was wet.

Usage notes[edit]

Also used in the phrase gallipot words, meaning “difficult words”, particularly used presumptuously, to give an appearance of being learned, from the use of such difficult words on apothecary jars.

(See Cobbett’s political register, Volume 11 edited by William Cobbett, 1807, page, and Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1811)

Compare inkhorn term (inkhorn).

See also[edit]