Victorian Slang of the Week- Gallimaufry, Pudding-head (and Robot of Sherwood)

Oh yes! Last Saturday’s Doctor Who, Robot of Sherwood, was so entirely up my street that I think I actually live there.

Robin Hood, Ben Miller, Peter Capaldi’s vibrantly grumpy Doctor, robots for the robot-obsessed small boy in my house, Clara continuing as my style icon with a magnificent red gown, (and getting a good part to play this week). All that and the use of slang…well, that was just the cherry on the cake for me.

I came across Gallimaufry a few weeks back, while putting together my post on Gander-month, as it’s on the same page of The Slang Dictionary of 1865 –

Gallimaufry here means a type of jumbled stew of all kind of things chucked in the pot. It’s not quite the Doctor’s cheese sandwiches in cling film that Ben Miller’s Sheriff of Nottingham referred to in the episode, but at the time I was struck by its similarity to Gallifrey and how it sounded like something that Time Lords should eat. So I was overjoyed that someone else had found that word and also thought it suitably Timey Lordy.

Of course, that someone is Mr Mark Gatiss, writer of this episode, and frankly if anyone is also likely to own the Victorian Slang Dictionary, it’s him.

The Slang Dictionary, 1865

The Slang Dictionary, 1865

It’s followed by Gallipot, meaning apothecary (and also the pot where the ointments were kept), which isn’t a million miles away from “Doctor” either.

Oh, and there was also a mention of one of my favourite “head” insults – I’ve covered Cupboard-head, Chuckle-head, Buffle-head and Culver-head already, but here we had Pudding-head, still an excellent word to be used wherever possible today, I would say. Maybe this episode will bring it back to life? I hope so.

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