Area of origin

Britain (nautical)

Area of use

Southern USA

Related terms


  1. (cheifly nautical) A thick sloppy gruel. And hence (derogatorily) the simple cures of a ship’s doctor.
  2. A mire or mudhole, especially one which has a deceptively dry crust obscuring a deep pool of wet sludge.


The meaning of (2.) has derived from (1.). British dialect lob ‘to bubble while in process of boiling, said esp. of porridge’, also ‘to eat or drink up noisily’ ( Eng. Dial. Dict.), lolly (obsolete Devon), ‘broth, soup, or other food boiled in a pot’ ( Eng. Dial. Dict.). It’s by association with the sloppy consistency of the gruel that the word became used for a treacherous mudhole, though this meaning seems to have been added in the US only.

Example locations

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