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Pronunciation: lob-skous

Definition: A stew of meat, vegetables and hardtack made by sailors.


Originally from the English word ‘Loblolly’ – a late 16th century term for a thick gruel. ‘Lob’ is thought to be a word used to replicate the sound of bubbling. ‘Lolly’ is an old English word for ‘soup’.

Why This Word?

I’ve eaten some pretty interesting food in my time. The more obscure, the better. There’s very little that will put me off trying something unless it’s endangered or if it still has a face when it reaches my plate …

But I never, ever want to try lobscouse. It has to be the most appalling name for an item of food I’ve ever heard and indeed sounds like it may be a more appropriate term for some form of unwanted process of emergency egestion rather than something that one would wish to in ‘ingest’ …

How to use the word lobscouse in a sentence?

You will never, ever sit in a restaurant and hear someone say “I’ll have the crab claws to start and the lobscouse for my main course.”

But there is a place where a derivative of this word is still in use. People from Liverpool are sometimes affectionately – and otherwise – known as ‘scousers’. Why, you might ask? Because they ate a lot of lobscouse … True story.


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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