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The meaning and origin of the expression: Rumpy-pumpy


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Rumpy-pumpy'?

Sexual intercourse, especially that of a casual and saucy nature.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Rumpy-pumpy'?

This reduplicated term sounds as though it might come from one of Shakespeare's more bawdy scenes, but is in fact of quite recent coinage. I can't find any mention of it in print prior to the entry in the 1968 Scottish National Dictionary:

Rump, Rumpie-pumpie, a jocular term for copulation.

Rumpy-pumpyWe don't know who coined the term. Whoever it was didn't need to look far for the inspiration though. The comedy radio show Round The Horne was a a highly popular in the late 1960s. Barry Took and Marty Feldman created the character of Rambling Syd Rumpo for Kenneth Williams and each week he would sing a stream of delightfully nonsensical innuendo, usually to an authentic English folk melody; for example, The Highland Lament - a song of the Highland Turv-croppers, from April 1967:

Ye nurves and bogles of Bonnie Glen Postule
Oft have I greebled amongst your trees
And whirdled my lassie among your nettles
I swore my devotion and stung both my knees

For we bogled and grundled and grundled and bogled
I grottled my muckles for bonnie wee June
And now she's run off with a plumber from Sidcup
So I lurk in the forest and whirdle alone

The use of suggestive comic gobbledegook was used extensively by radio scriptwriters, notably Took/Feldman and Spike Milligan, as a device to sneak 'unsuitable' content past the BBC censor. The sexual imagery of 'rump' and 'pump' leaves little to the imagination and, whilst Rambling Syd Rumpo didn't explicitly list rumpy-pumpy as one of his pastimes, it isn't difficult to imagine that it would have been.

See other reduplicated phrases.

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