Tuesday, April 3, 2018

April A to Z: C is for Codswallop

Now I'm guessing not a lot people outside of the UK know the word "Codswallop".

Basically, it is an old English maritime word used by fishermen. It refers to the old English tradition of using a wet cod (an English fish common in the Atlantic) to wallop someone around the face.

In most recorded cases of codswalloping, English fisherman have used the technique on French sailors attempting to poach our fish. But during the WWII codswalloping was used during the evacuation of Dunkirk when us Brits were out of ammunition and needed to give the Nazis a bloody good old taste of British fighting resilience.

And believe me there is nothing like an angry English fisherman with a wet cod in his hand. The Germans may have invented the Blitzkrieg but codswalloping takes fighting to a very personal level. When it comes to hand-to-hand combat English fishermen are the best in the world. In fact, it is well known that Captain Birdseye, whose grandfather was a pioneer of codswalloping, has coached the SBS (Special Boat Squadron) and written a manual for both the SBS and the SAS entitled "Codswalloping and Haddock-Baiting in the Armed Forces."

I'll have to explain haddock-baiting at some other time. However, if you’ve heard of waterboarding let me tell you that haddock-baiting takes torture to a whole new level as it is intensely difficult to breathe with a haddock stuffed down your throat whilst being codswalloped around the face and, in cases of extreme torture, the groin area.

And I'm not even going to talk about what Captain Birdseye recommends you do with a pike. But it would definitely make your eyes water.

So there you have "Codswallop": An old English term, which if there was any justice in this world, would go viral.


11 comments:

  1. I'm liking what you are doing here in the challenge! I took a peek at some past posts. I hope the challenge proves thought provoking and enlightening for you.
    Someone used "gobsmacked" in a response to my B post...sounds like similar action, but they have such a different meaning. I'll be watching.

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    1. Well I don’t think the A to Z has proved enlightening for me yet, Linda, but thought-provoking definitely! Esepcilayy when it gets to those difficult letters! Gobsmacked is a great word. I use it quite a lot - but I’m probably one of a few now I suspect.

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  2. Great word, so expressive!
    https://iainkellywriting.com/2018/04/03/c-is-for-cork-republic-of-ireland/

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    1. It’s not used enough, Iain. Hopefully my post will increase usuage. Lol.

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  3. I love the word codswallop! I had no idea that's where it came from though

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    1. I’m afraid I tell a few porkies on these blog, Janet. All in the name on fun though:)) Thanks for dropping by!

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  4. And I always thought it meant a load of rubbish lol

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  5. I suspect this post is a bit of codswallop. I do love the story though especially the image of angry fishermen putting their cod to good use. Weekends In Maine

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  6. Love it! I love learning the etymologies of words!

    (found you through A to Z, I'm at Doesn't Speak Klingon on the list.)

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  7. Now, Jane, even this repatriated AmerBrit knows that is just codswallop! What about Mr. Codd's beer? ;>/

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