• collop •
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: This humorous word is an endangered lexical orphan, homeless, without family, wandering the streets and byways of Scotland and northern England pretty much alone. In the overweight world we currently live in, the word is too relevant to leave to the Scots and the souls of Yorkshire to have all the fun with.
In Play: Should your mum ask your pleasure at the dinner table, impress her with this: "Would you pass me three collops of the roast beef with a dollop of mashed potatoes, please." But do not confuse collop with dollop "a lump or glob." Their meanings are very close but not synonymous. We don't like to think of collops on ourselves, but they do sometimes appear: "Barb Dwyer is a lovely woman except for the collops under her chin." Pigs are a natural place to find the collops whether in the sty or on the table.
Word History: The origin of this word is obscure. It is related to Swedish kalops "beef stew" and German Klops "meatball", though no one knows exactly how. In Scotland it has been used to refer to a dish made of chopped meat called 'Scottish collops' outside Scotland. A better suggestion is that it is a variant of scallop, also spelled scollop in some parts of the English-speaking world. This word was taken from the French word escalope "shell", which also refers to a slice of meat, perhaps because some meat slices curl like a shell when cooked. The loss of ES at the beginning of the word is easily explained as apheresis, the dropping of an initial unaccented syllable as in 'bout, 'scuse, 'possum.