• larrup •
læ-rêp • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, transitive
Meaning: To whip, whop, beat; to apply the cane or rod.
Notes: Growing up in the 50s, today's contributor often heard her fourth-generation Irish-American grandparents use larruping as an intensifier, as in "This is larruping good pie." This use of the participle of today's Good Word parallels the use of whopping in other dialects, where whop is a variant of whip from a time when whipping was considered the ultimate principle of child psychology and discipline. So, a whopping good time in those dialects means "a very good time".
In Play: Should you wish to use this still Good Word, remember that its basic sense refers to a physical thrashing: "Winthrop won his bid for Congress easily as a result of his repeated suggestion that all current members be given a good larruping." If you are not in politics, you might stick to the figurative sense of the participle: "Winthrop now looks forward to a larruping good term in Congress."
Word History: Today's Good Word is apparently an English makeover of Dutch larp "switch, stick, whip". It first emerged in published form in Suffolk, England, though we have no evidence of how it might have gotten there. This word was widely used in the first half of the 20th century. It appears in the works of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and the Irish novelist James Joyce, to mention two of its most famous users. How it got into any of these dialects from Dutch is anybody's guess. (Today we thank Patricia Giffen for suggesting today's larruping Good Word.)
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