To 'droll on (and on)'

Damien Hall halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue Jan 29 15:37:02 UTC 2008

> Is anyone on the list familiar with verbal 'droll', especially the
> construction 'droll on'?   Is this more common among British English
> speakers?

Not to me.  I can't remember ever having heard the construction before this
thread, with either the syntax 'droll'(V) + 'on something'(PP) (= 'make jokes
about it') or the syntax 'droll on (and on)'(V) (= 'continue to bore everyone

> 1)   "Wright's autobiography, *Spilling the Beans*, just hit the
> shelves<
> >but
> it's not going to be quite as jolly a tale as the Britishisms she
> drolled on *Fat Ladies*."
> I'm not sure whether 'on' is part of the verb phrase in the above
> sentence,
> or part of a prepositional phrase with 'Fat Ladies'. The sense seems close
> to the OED usage and definitely isn't confused with 'drone on'.

I can, however, confirm that in this quotation 'on' is part of a PP with 'Fat
Ladies', so that the last part of the sentence can be glossed '... as the
Britishisms that she consistently used to comic effect on the TV show "Fat
Ladies"'.  I'm not sure of the exact sense of 'droll' here - whether it
includes the idea of 'consistently, persistently' or not - but the verb is
certainly 'droll' and not 'droll on (and on)'.

'Two Fat Ladies', to give it its full title, was a British cookery show:
Clarissa Dickson Wright, in the quotation, and Jennifer Paterson were the two
fat ladies in question.  They rode around the UK on a motorbike cooking stuff.
It was shown on the Food Network in the US as well.

Damien Hall
University of Pennsylvania

The American Dialect Society -

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