For some reason, perhaps not too hard to guess, English
has far more words to describe noisy
, gluttonous eating
eating. Of these dozen or so gluttonous words, slurp
, first recorded in the mid-seventeenth
century, is the best known and the least offensive
; you can safely chide your spouse for slurping his soup, and you can even refresh yourself afterwards with a slurpee
, a well-known drink of ice-cyrstals.
In contrast, observe the reaction you elicit if you chide your spouse for globbing his soup or try selling a drink named Globbee. The ugly glob and its equally ugly cousin glop, both mean to swallow greedily; these two words are among the oldest of the "gluttony words," having appeared in the mid-fourteenth century. Glob and glop, like many gluttony words, developed from onomatopoeia: they sound like the action they describe. Ramp, gudge, yaffle, slummock - these four verbs also arose as imitations of loud chewing and swallowing sounds; if you say them out loud in succession someone is sure to ask you what you are eating.
Two of these words, gudge and yaffle, originated in the mid-seventeenth century, a time when political upheaval prompted a laissez-faire attitude towards chewing with a closed mouth; ramp, arose about a century before this, and ,slummock about a century after.
Other "gluttony" words developed not from onomatopoeia but from older words. Guttle, first recorded in the mid-seventeenth century, derives from a conscious fusion of gut and guzzle.
Scarf, which appeared in the middle of this century, developed from scoff, which appeared in the middle of the nineteenth century; in turn, scoff developed from scaff, a word dating back to the early sixteenth century when it meant to beg for food in a contemptable manner.
- From Cupboard Love: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities.
Note: In some parts of the world, slurping one's soup is perfectly acceptable, complementary to the cook, in fact. It's a question of how one does it.