Meanings of “Codswallop”

The word “codswallop” means something that is untrue, or foolish or nonsense. The phrase is usually used as ‘a load of codswallop’.

Origin of “Codswallop” 

The word “codswallop” is stated to have an ambiguous origin. One of the stories involving its origin is that Hiram, an 18th-century drink maker, is stated to have contrived a marbled bottle technique called “The Codd Bottle.” It is stated that this later transformed into “codswallop.”

However, another theory of its origin is that it has been a slang term used in the middle of the 20th century and published in The Nottingham Evening Post, a newspaper, in its publication of March 1930 where it goes as; “Any orders, gents, for hops and wallop?” However, later it evolved into “codswallop” and since then it has been used in the same meanings.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

A Load Of Old Codswallop by Scarborough Gypsy

An arm and leg it cost her
The tortoise an impostor
Left to see a man about a dog
With a lot of “how’s your father”
Nan decided that she’d rather
Go home and polish brass or clean the bog

A Load of Cobblers you might say
Is what I’ve told you here today
But on my life I swear that it is true
So let me rabbit on a bit
Before I put a sock in it
And shut my cake hole now the stories through.

True to its titular thematic strand, this poem “A Load of Old Codswallop” by Scarborough Gypsy states many things that a tortoise proves to be an impostor, while a man is dogging others, asking the condition of fathers. However, Nan has decided that she would rather clean the bog of her house, while this load of cobbling makes the poet put on his socks to create new things. The placement of contradictory and nonsensible things with each other clarifies what the poet wants to say. Therefore, the word has been used as an extended metaphor.

Example #2

Souls Reborn by Renee Vincent

“Lucky for you I did. Flanagan was pulling out all the stops with the poetic Irish codswallop. He would’ve blithered on and on.”
She put the win in the refrigerator and narrowed her gaze. “Let me guess. The fiery redhead preferred the poetic codswallop and went running back to Flanagan.”

These two excerpts occur in the novel, Souls Reborn, by Renee Vincent. The character of Flanagan is stated to pull out the stops with a sense of poetic Irish codswallop that shows the stupidity of the action of pulling out stops. The word has been repeated in the second excerpt which shows good use of repetition with direct meaning.

Example #3

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

“Some say he died. Codswallop, in my opinion. Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die. Some say he’s still out there, bidin’ his time, like, but I don’ believe it.”

These lines occur in, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling. The words spoken by Hagrid here shows that he wants to tell that it is nonsense to think that Dark Lord has died. As the story progresses, Hagrid’s words come true that Voldemort is alive.

Example #4

The Old Contemptibles by Martha Grimes

Fellowes laughed. “You’re one of the few people in that house who does. And you appear quite an authority, to boot.”
Just a fast reader, thought Melrose. “You don’t honestly think all of that codswallop in Lyrical Ballads is true?”
Fellowes frowned. “What’s true?”
“The similarity of purpose. That ‘seeing the mystical in the ordinary’ stuff. Wordsworth simply couldn’t deal with snakes and albatrosses, that’s all.

These lines occur in, The Old Contemptibles, by Martha Grimes in which she has presented Fellowes discussing Lyrical Ballads by Coleridge with Melrose about whom she thinks that he is an authority but asks him whether all the talk about snakes and albatross by Coleridge is nonsense to which he replies that it is only a similarity of purpose.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Graham’s friends had a hard time believing anything he said as his entire conversation seems to be just a load of codswallop.”

Example #2: “Following many attempts to write a good and organized essay, Nathan decided to write something funny and came up with a story that is like a codswallop.”

Example #3: “When going through the tunnel, they saw a light by its end. They ran to it and talked little until they came out of it. Then abruptly, Jason uttered ‘codswallop’ and went silent while his friend stood speechless.”

Example #4: “A few moments of history is nothing but a load of codswallop because you can’t prove the facts.”

Example #5: “Sam’s career was compared to a load of codswallop by his Uncle because there was no stability.”