Blancmanges and Europuddings

In British English there are some words related to pudding, which are not very complimentary. I often wondered why people would use puddings as an insult.  Let’s have a look.

I first heard of students being described as puddings and probably used it myself too. The profile of such a person would be a sort of lump in the corner of the classroom barely reacting to anything and hard to move or enthuse.  Solid and lacking in any inspiration.  I have also heard blancmange used in a similar way.

Those three puddings never opened their mouth during the whole lesson.

Alfie just sits there like a blancmange and expects everyone to entertain him.

blancmange

Blancmange, pronounced /bləˈmɒndʒ/ with the ‘nc’ silent is a sort of cross between a milk pudding and a jelly.   White and insipid with a jellyish tremble if touched.  Probably an acquired taste as milk and cornstarch are not immediate partners in my book.

I believe it was the name of a successful band too.

europud2

Europudding was common in the last decade, though you hear it less seldom.  It described movies made by the combined money and efforts of various European nations. The actors would come from different countries putting up the money, the film could well have been in a “neutral” language like English even though none of the protagonists were native speakers and there was no good artistic reason to use it. Many of this type of film are stolid or heavy and unconvincing as they are built more from financial compromise than from pure artistic vision.  Perhaps the Eiffel Tower appears simply to sell the film rather than being part of the story.

Henry invested in a film last year.  Typical Europudding. Boring, incomprehensible and sank like a stone at the box office despite the cast of famous actors and the pretty landscapes in it.

 

Sledging

If you live in the Northern hemisphere, especially where there is snow, you will probably jump to the conclusion that I am talking about a winter sport using a type of toboggan, sleigh or sledge.  Most dictionary entries begin with this meaning.

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But for many, sledging has a completely different use, as a verb, in places where they play cricket.  So right now in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India and its neighbours, there is surely plenty of sledging going on.

The captain, Archie Bloggs was fined $1000 for sledging

From this you guess that it is not regarded as acceptable.  But it happens!

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Sledging is using insults or verbal abuse towards your opponent in order to put him off his game. Given that cricket has plenty of slow moments as players change positions or new players come onto the field, it is ideal for a bit of strong backchat. Of course, other sports feature sledging too but it is often much quicker and either forgotten or it escalates into something more physical.

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You can imagine too that emerging from “the gentleman’s sport”, there is considerable pride in finding a particularly sharp and witty insult.  And indeed the internet has webpages where you can read some of the best in cricket (be warned that the sport has its own vernacular that can be hard to understand if you don’t know the terminology).

Some examples: A: So, how’s your wife and my kids?

B: Wife’s fine. Kids are retarded.

Bowler: I’ve been waiting two years for another chance at you

Batsman: Looks like you spent it eating

Bowler: If you turn the bat over you’ll get the instructions mate.

There are countless others with liberal use of the ‘f’ word which may not seem as funny on the page as they doubtlessly did on the field.  Just google “best sledges in cricket or in sport” and you can have a good chuckle.