Spotted Richard

I see the House of Commons has changed the name of their Spotted Dick to Spotted Richard, in order to avoid embarrassing people.

The etymology of Spotted Dick

Whilst the first part of the name is self-apparent – the dessert is “spotted” with raisins – the origins of “dick” is a point of historical debate.

Although several food historians believe it is derived from “puddick”, Old English for pudding, Victorian journals and diaries are also filled with birds and small mammals which are referred to as “Dick”.

Examples include the Diary of Colonel Peter Hawker, published in 1893, which refers to a nest of “long-tailed Dick”, believed to be a small bird.

The coarse use of the word, meaning penis, is not thought to have emerged until the 1890s, nearly 50 years after the first recipe for Spotted Dick was published.

It is thought its association with penis evolved through usage by men serving in the British Army.

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Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

2 thoughts

  1. That dessert reminds me of my childhood. I used to love it with warm custard or vanilla ice-cream.

    I honestly think that the allusion to the meaning of “dick” in the sense of “penis” is far fetched. Of course there will always be people who will see sex everywhere but apart from the name, nothing (shape…) evokes a penis.

    That is my own opinion, of course, and I want to keep in mind the sweet memories of that desert back in my childhood and not some perverted allusion.

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