Cor Blimey

Meanings of “Cor Blimey”

The phrase “cor blimey” is British slang and it used to express exclamation, amazement, wonder, or surprise. Cor blimey also means God blind me, which was used when someone’s attire was unusual. 

Origin of “Cor Blimey”

The phrase “cor blimey” is stated to have been derived from the phrase “God blind me” to be used as a euphemism. However, its first print record has been found in A Dictionary of Slang and Jargons written by Barrere and Leland. The dictionary was published in 1886 but its first use was made as a short phrase as “gawblimy” in A Child of the Jago, a story written by Arthur Morrison. Later, James Joyce is stated to have used it as God blimey in his famous novel, Ulysses. Afterward, the phrase has become popular as “cor blimey” and has been in use since then.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Paris Cor Blimey by Benjamin Clementine

Pandemonium, whoa
Pandemonium, whoa

Paris’ friend had a little pen
A little pen
Paris’ friend had
If Paris’ friend had a little pen
Then where is the pen Paris’ friend had?
Paris’ friend kept her little pen
Everyday under her little bed
One day, right before dawn
She got up only to find that her pen was gone
And Paris’ friend looked everywhere
Yet couldn’t find it anywhere

There’s a pandemonium, whoa
Pandemonium, whoa

These ironic lines tell about the twists and turns in the singer’s friend’s life who lives in Paris. These twists and turns have transformed into pandemonium for the speaker in that he is almost amazed to erupt it to tell what has happened to the Parisian friend as well as his lifestyle of having a little pen about which there is a confusion about where he has placed it. This confusion and surprise have been inserted in the title as “cor blimey.” Therefore, the phrase shows its implicit but metaphorical usage through these lines.

Example #2

A Poet’s Notebook: With New Poems, Obviously by Stewart Henderson

For example, studying the sorrowful oddness of a half-submerged piano in a canal. Why wheel it all the way along a towpath? Why was an upright made to walk a gravel plank? What solace tunes and arias remain in its drowning cherry-wood heart? “Cor blimey” music hall ditties? Cocktail-hour sentimental ballads? Who did such a thing to this dear instrument? And oddball literalist who’d had enough of Handel’s Water Music? And so with such a spotting, the poetic process can start; what Paul Muldoon, 1994 winner of the T. S. Elio Prize for poetry, describes as “allowing a poem from wherever it comes from … getting it into the world..”

This passage questions all the poetic inspirations including “Cor Blimey” in which the poets show their exclamations, wonder, or amazement at some things such as Wordsworth about daffodils. By questioning all, the writer has also included this phrase that shows its literal meanings.

Example #3

Comrade Heart: A Life of Randall Swingler by Andy Croft

Written in the guise of a recruiting pamphlet, the pamphlet advertised army life as ‘really one long holiday’ in the jocular, cor-blimey-Comrade style of the cartoons. Swingler was keep to dispel helpful rumours about army pay, poor food and inadequate leave, and to explain the intricacies of the class system in the British army.

Comrade Heart speaks about the army life and the ideas of the character, Swingler, about salary, food and tough lifestyle. He has commented on the British army and its class system but has also pointed out that it seems a cartoon type of life where “cor-blimey-Comrade style” pervades. The phrase has been used in its sense of spreading wonder and amazement. Therefore, it is again literal use of the phrase.

Example #4

From Home by David Storey

Marjorie: Going to rain and catch us out here. That’s what it’s going to do. (Puts umbrella up: worn, but not excessively so.)
Kathleen: Going to rain all right, i’n’t it? Going to rain all right…Put your umbrella up – sun’s still shining. Cor blimey. Invite rain that will. Commonsense, girl…Cor blimey….My bleedin’ feet…(Rubs one foot without removing shoe.)

Here the speaker, Kathleen uses the phrase in her conversation with Marjorie. She is of the view that they are going out in the rain and that Marjorie should take her umbrella with her. However, Kathleen taunts her for doing this as it is not raining as yet and she is of the view that common sense demands that she should invite the rain. However, she utters cor blimey phrase to express her amazement. Therefore, the phrase has been used in its literal sense.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Although Ramen says cor blimey when he is hears any new perspective, he doesn’t show real interest.”

Example #2: “Cor blimey, Ron! I just overhead the new lockdown rules and it’s in our favor.”

Example #3: “What is she wearing? Asked Julia ‘Cor blimey! I can’t bear that color even on a summer day.”

Example #4: “Did you think I would miss your birthday? Cor blimey! That’s a wonderful dress you’re wearing.”

Example #5: “Father was surprised at his new car. ‘Cor blimey, I never expected a car for me birthday,’ he said.”