Clob (Kipling)

Jonathon Green slang at ABECEDARY.NET
Sat Dec 9 21:57:49 UTC 2006

Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
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> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Clob (Kipling)
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>> Somewhat earlier we have:
>> 1892 Kipling 'Loot' in _Barrack-Room Ballads_ When from 'ouse to 'ouse
>> you're 'unting, you must always work in pairs -- / It 'alves the gain,
>> but safer you will find -- / For a single man gets bottled on them
>> twisty-wisty stairs, / An a' woman comes and clobs 'im from be'ind.
>> Which surely must be synonymous with the quoted use of _clobber_. But
>> _clob_ does not exist in this def. in OED or EDD, only as a dialect term
>> for a lump (i.e. clod) of earth. The OED has clobber as 'ety.unknown',
>> but is it too far-fetched to see the tossing of a clob - in play, as an
>> attack - as a feasible precursor of the vb. That said, there are no
>> reports of a vb. use of clob itself...
> Hard to say for sure from a single instance, but I think this "clob" is
> likely "club" (verb), the odd spelling likely intended to indicate some
> dialectal pronunciation (there are also "baynick" = "bayonet", "prodooce" =
> "produce", etc., in the same poem).
> At least the noun "club" has been spelled "clobb", "clob", etc. (although
> long ago) [OED, DOST].
> Or it could even be a transcription error or typo.
> -- Doug Wilson
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> The American Dialect Society -
Point taken, although my own assessment of the accent that Kipling is
using is that it is London/Cockney - baynick, sling your 'ook, clo'es,
bloomin', barely an undropped aitch or terminal g, and clob sounds more
agrarian, even Irish (which was, of course the origin of Mulvaney of the
'Soldiers Three). But such things are well beyond my turf, and you may
well be right. Though for whatever reason, I can't really believe it was
as simple as a transcription/typo.


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