ersatz_read (ersatz_read) wrote in 1word1day,
ersatz_read
ersatz_read
1word1day

slumgullion

slumgullion.  A cheap or thin stew, usually composed of whatever is at hand.
In earlier use (late 1800s), it meant a cheap or unpleasant beverage. 
Before that, it was a term for the muddy waste in a mining sluice; this meaning originated with California gold miners in the mid-1800s.

So while the exact definition might change over time, the basic concept of an unpleasant semi-liquid remained constant until recently.  One can now find proper recipes for slumgullion stew, some of which sound quite good.

Etymology:  Possibly Old English slum, slime + gullion, mud or cesspool, to derive the mining term.

from Roughing It by Mark Twain (1872):
Then he poured for us a beverage which he called "Slum gullion", and it is hard to think he was not inspired when he named it.  It really pretended to be tea, but there was too much dish-rag, and sand, and old bacon-rind in it to deceive the intelligent traveler.

from Travels in Alaska by John Muir (describing a trip in 1879):
The meals are all alike - a potato, a slice of something like bacon, some gray stuff called bread, and a cup of muddy, semi-liquid coffee like that which the California miners call "slickens" or "slumgullion".
Tags: noun, old english, s, theme: food, wordsmith: ersatz_read
Subscribe

  • Sunday Word: Jardinière

    jardinière, jardiniere [jahr-dn- eer, zhahr-dn- yair] noun: 1 a: an ornamental stand for plants or flowers b: a large usually ceramic…

  • Sunday Word: Ugsome

    adjective: (Scot and North England) disgusting, horrid; loathsome Examples: In a sometimes ugsome, plague-filled world of violence and…

  • Wednesday Word: Frustum

    Frustum - noun. Another lovely and unique word from the math and science world. Simply put, a frustum (plural frusta or frustums is a cone or…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 7 comments