• slubberdegullion •
slêb-er-di-gêl-yên • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: A dirty, slovenly, unkempt person; a slob.
Notes: Today's is another Good Word that is fast sliding into oblivion. It is so funny I don't think anyone would take is seriously today. Another acceptable if even more archaic spelling is slabberdegullion, from the day when the letter A stood in all dialects for the [ah] sound.
In Play: This word would have been useful in the 60s: "My mother avoided hippies in the 60s because they were all, according to her, 'slubberdegullions'." We can still find uses for this word today: "You little slubberdegullions! Making mud-pies again, were you? All of you: into the bathtub!" (See, I told you it was too funny to be taken seriously.)
Word History: Today's Good if outdated Word is a child of the early 17th century. It is composed of slubber (a variant of slobber) + de + gullion "a mean, worthless wretch". Slubber is a dialectal variant of slobber, which comes from the noun, slob. We don't know where this word came from, but it is related to slop, and is akin to Swedish slabbig "sloppy, messy" and Dutch slobber "flour-milk mix for feeding sick animals". The second element, -de-, is a meaningless connector such as we find in other humorous words like hobbledehoy and gobbledygook. Archaic gullion "mean, worthless wretch" comes from the same source as cojones. (It's OK: Sarah Palin uses it). In French, where English found it, the word was couillon, and corresponds to Italian coglione. All these Romance languages inherited their words from Latin culleus "bag, testicle". (This is another word that Dr. Goodword stumbled upon while editing the latest version of Lexiteria's English word list. Gratitude is optional.)
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