Posted by Smokey Stover on January 28, 2005
In Reply to: Gullet posted by David FG on January 28, 2005
: : : : : : I was speaking to a friend in California a couple of days ago and describing a problem that I'd recently had with my gullet - I deliberately avoided the correct anatomical term, oesophagus, because many people in the UK don't know that word. However, my friend didn't recognise 'gullet', a bit of a surprise for me. Was this just her, or is 'gullet'uncommon/unknown in the US?
: : : : : Gullet is not unknown here, but is uncommon. I have used it many times but maybe that is because I am from Ireland and heard the word frequently while growing up. I have heard it used here but usually when referring to poultry.
: : : : : SR
: : : : Gullet is known in my part of the country -- West Virginia and Kentucky. Must be the chicken connection.
: : : I'm in California. The word is used here, or it was; I don't remember hearing it recently. I used to hear it with reference to human throats.
: : I might as well post a report for the NE part of the US of A, in particular NY.
: : I know what a gullet is but the word is not used around here. I have not heard it used at all. Even when I used to go crabbing with my father as a child we would use chicken necks for bait, not chicken gullets.
: I think you underestimate the population of the UK. I would say that as many people here know the word 'oesophagus' as in any English-speaking nation (and quite possibly more than in some.)
: 'Gullet' is, I think, rather old-fashioned and not in common use in the UK anymore.
The word gullet used to be in very common use in the U.S., referring at least as often to humans as to chickens. It began to fall into desuetude in the last half-century. I don't think it was primarily a rural word, except that the U.S. was a far more rural country before World War II than it is today. Not only urbanization, but possibly also the influx of urban-dwelling immigrants, has somewhat put the quietus to gullet. The replacement of choice, I think, is throat, even if it is not an exact synonym. The esophagus (American spelling) has had a big press, however, because of pharmaceutical advertising, as well as perhaps the greater emphasis on science in the schools. As for using the gullet as bait, well, the gullet is identified primarily as a hollow or empty tube between walls of flesh. The neck in the chicken provides part of those walls of flesh. SS