• pudding •
Pronunciation: pU-din(g) • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A stuffed entrail like sausage or just its contents, usually ground meat with spices, as 'blood pudding'. 2. A soft, mushy savory dish made with starchy ingredients such as suet, rice, semolina, etc., as 'Yorkshire pudding'. 3. A soft, sweet dessert, such as 'rice pudding' or 'chocolate pudding'.
Notes: The meaning of pudding is as squishy as the substance it refers to. It runs the gamut between sausage and rice pudding. The only derivational relatives are puddingless and puddingish, which are rarely used. In the South when I was growing up, people would call their spouses, puddin', rather than darlin'. (The G in pudding is seldom pronounced in the US in any context.)
In Play: The most famous phrase this word appears in is, "The proof is in the pudding," meaning you can only prove your case by showing results. This is a shortened form of the original, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating."
Word History: Today's Good Word probably comes from a West Germanic stem pud- "to swell", which gave us Westphalian dialect puddek "lump, pudding," Low German pudde-wurst "black pudding". English dialectal pod "belly" is also a derivative of this word. Since pudding had been often applied to pudgy people, pudgy may be a relative, too. In British slang, being in the pudding club, means "to be pregnant". This goes back to pod in the sense of belly as a place where we keep our 'pudding' in the first sense above. It may be related to Middle English when pod meant anything bulging. In fact, to be in pod is another way of saying "pregnant" in Britain. (Christ Stewart, our South African friend, selected and submitted today's tasty Good Word.)