cough-drop [person]

ewie

Senior Member
English English
Hello folks. Following on from this thread, it reminded me of a phrase of my mother's (she is Scottish). Sometimes when I crack a joke in her presence she will say to me:
Oh Ewan, you are a cough-drop
which 'translates' as something like You could make a joke out of anything!

Now I've just looked this up in my Concise OED and it gives only this:
cough-drop (fig., sl.) awkward or disagreeable person or thing

:(

Is anyone else familiar with cough-drop meaning 'joker' (rather than 'pain-in-the-backside')?
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Did you check your Cassell's Dictionary of Slang, ewie?:p
    1 [late 19C+] poison or anything disagreeable.
    2 [late 19C+] a disagreeable person.
    3 [late 19C+] a 'character', a 'card'.
    4 [1940s+] (S.Afr) a pretty woman.
    I'm sure she means 3.

    Probably.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    <furious blushing emoticon> No, I didn't, Loobling <smacked puppy emoticon>
    Have you ever heard it though? ~ in any sense?
    I'm fairly sure (probably) that my mother is the only person I've ever heard use the term. Where's an El Escoces when you need one?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    <furious blushing emoticon> Sorry for not answering your question<smacked puppy emoticon>

    No, I don't think I have heard anyone say it ...
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    My father says he has heard it used in the third sense (a "card"). He claims he heard it in his native Kent, but he lived in Edinburgh for three years, so there is some room for doubt, I think.
     

    gasman

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I am vaguely aware of the phrase, but I rather think I have read it, rather than hearing it. However there is also the possibility I heard it on a comedy radio show sometime in the distant past. I have never heard it in Canada over the past 50 years.

    I have just read a following post, and Wodehouse certainly sounds a very good possible source.
     

    El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Here I am.....and.....nope, never heard of it!

    What you will find, of course, is that expressions which were widely used - in the late 19th century, for example - are now largely in desuetude except in particular geographical locations. That's true in Scotland, at least - usages can be limited to as much as a single town now where, before, it might have been a commonly used expression.

    Now I don't think I realised you had Scottish blood, Ewie (or perhaps I had simply forgotten). It explains a lot though! :D (I assume you're certain your mother didn't just tell you that it means what you think it means....? ;))
     

    A Happy Man

    New Member
    English - UK
    Hello folks. Following on from this thread, it reminded me of a phrase of my mother's (she is Scottish). Sometimes when I crack a joke in her presence she will say to me:
    Oh Ewan, you are a cough-drop
    which 'translates' as something like You could make a joke out of anything!

    Now I've just looked this up in my Concise OED and it gives only this:
    cough-drop (fig., sl.) awkward or disagreeable person or thing

    :(

    Is anyone else familiar with cough-drop meaning 'joker' (rather than 'pain-in-the-backside')?
    Very much so. When I was a child in the 1940s and 50s in UK, it was a much used phrase - often heard in BBC Wireless comedies.It would generally be associated with persons in the lower socio-economic groupings. It was a positive statement, often used alongside ''Oh, you are a caution.'' meaning the same type of ready wit.
    Neither implied that the person was a narrative joke teller, but would rather, make a quick witty response to someone else's remark.
    I've never heard it used to mean an : awkward or disagreeable person or thing
     
    Last edited:

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    This can be found in Eric Partridge's A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English.
    cough-drop. A ‘character’; a quick courter or ‘love’-maker: low coll.: 1895, The Referee, ‘ “Honest John Burns” … objects to being called “a cough drop”,’ Water postulates ’1860 on’.
    And here's the OED:
    cough-drop n. (a) a ‘drop’ or lozenge taken to cure or alleviate a cough; (b) slang a pungent or disagreeable person or thing; a ‘caution’
     
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