phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by R. Berg on December 10, 2007

In Reply to: Spleen posted by RRC on December 10, 2007

: : : : : What is the origin and meaning of the Liverpool expression "Cow's Melt"?

: : : : I've never heard the expression. Can you tell us when and how Liverpool people use it? In my London childhood you could still buy "melts" from the butcher, usually for the dog; they were offal, but I don't know exactly which bit of the animal they were. Does "piece of internal organ of cow" seem to fit? (VSD)

: : : Google book search brings up one hit for "cow's 'melt' (?lung)"

: : : I vaguely remember the term from my youth in the Midwest US during WWII when rural people slaughtered there own animals. It has been so long and I was so young that I do not remember what "melt" was. I believe it was discarded to the dogs.

: : Webster's Second Intl. shows "melt" as a "now dialectal" variant of "milt," and one of its definitions for "milt" is "the spleen." In the Oxford English Dict., "milt" meaning the spleen of mammals goes back to the year 700, approx. ~rb

: So...(if I dare ask) what's the age of milt for the male reproductive organs/fluid of fish?

The OED's earliest quotation for the fishy sense is dated 1483, but other northern European languages had similar words with the same meaning much earlier. ~rb