Posted by Word Camel on April 13, 2005

In Reply to: A LOAD OF CODSWALLOP posted by Gary on April 13, 2005

: : I'm having difficulty remembering where I read this, but I was under the impression that codswallop referred to the stuffing that was used to artificially accentuate the contents a codpiece when it was worn by men with great panache during the 15th and 16th centuries. You could probably use the same expression for the socks that Nureyev used to make his tights look - well - so tight.
: : Its meaning - exaggerated pretences that have no significant substance.

: That's an interesting theory. The origin is uncertain though. See

I looked it up in the OED and it only appears in print in 1963. There is nothing known about its origin but it's probably unlikely that it goes all the way back to the era of cod pieces, otherwise there'd be some evidence. The piece Gary links to is interesting. I imagine it could have been in use before 1963, but probably not for several hundred years.