• collop •
Pronunciation: kah-lêp • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A slice or chunk of meat. 2. A fold or flab of body fat indicating a well-fed condition. 3. An egg fried on a piece of ham or bacon, especially if eaten on Collop Monday, the day before Shrove Tuesday.
Notes: Today's word is an endangered lexical orphan, homeless, wandering the streets of Scotland and northern England. In the overweight world we currently live in, the word is too relevant to let slip away—or leave it to the Scots to have all the fun with.
In Play: Should your mum ask your pleasure at the dinner table, impress her with, "Perhaps I would like, say, three collops of the roast beef." But do not confuse it with dollop "a lump or portion"; their meanings are very close. We don't like to think of collops on ourselves, but they do sometimes appear: "Barb Dwyer is a lovely woman except the for collops under her chin." Pigs are a natural place to find the collops whether in the sty or on the table. In fact, a pig might be described as the larval stage of a football with dollops of collops all over it. Or not, as you please.
Word History: The origin of this word rather obscure, except that it is related to Swedish kalops "beef stew" and German Klops "meatball". Still, no one seems to know exactly how. In Scotland it has been used to refer to a dish made of chopped meat called Scottish collops outside Scotland. Collops as a name for bacon may be related to the Irish use of the word: "the number of animals that an acre of Irish land can support" (one horse, one cow, or six sheep). The problem is that none of these seemingly relevant bits of information seem to form any sort of pattern.
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