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Melt / Milt

Posted by Smokey Stover 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?

Milt as the semen or sexual organs of male fish can be found at least as early as 1483 (OED). As usual, however, we must assume that the earliest appearance in print is not the date of earliest use. This is especially true in the earliest period of printing, to which 1483 belongs.