Lobscouse

As I am about to start touring for my new book about the Atlantic Ocean,I am going to endeavor this autumn to note a few words I like that have some connection to the sea.

There are, it turns out, two words denoting foods offered to sailors at sea that begin, curiously, with lob - which, in the word lobster, comes from the Latin locusta, for locust-shaped. The two sailor-words are loblolly - a kind of stew, which has nothing to do with either lobsters or locusts, but is an onomatopoeia for the sound it makes when boiling; and today's word, lobscouse, which is vaguely similar in that it 'consists of meat stewed with  vegetables or ship's biscuit'. The diminutive, scouse, is the nickname once given to sailors from Liverpool, and now by extension to all Liverpudlians. The lob here also is the sound of bubbling, somewhat akin to the 'plop' of slow-boiling oatmeal.

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  • Trysail1952

    Readers of Patrick O'Brian's fantastic series of novels surrounding the Nelsonian Navy career of "Lucky" Jack Aubrey are thoroughly familiar with "lobscouse."