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Wallop is a colloquial term for ‘beer’ (or loosely, for any ale drink). It is usually regarded as a Briticism, although the first known instance of its use (in 1933) is Australian. It appears to be the same word as wallop ‘hit’: this is etymologically identical with gallop, and was so used in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but by the sixteenth century it had come to be applied to the bubbling motion of boiling water. By extension, it was used as a sort of impressionistic unit of time measurement in cookery for boiling something: George Hartman, in The True Preserver and Restorer of Health (1682), recommends letting a particular preparation ‘only boil five or six wallops’. It seems to have been used in brewing, too, for in a 1743 edition of the London and County Brewer we read: ‘Put as much Salt … as will lie on a Crown-Piece into a Copper … and as it heats and the Scum rises, take it off before it boils in; then, when it has had a Wallop or two, laid two Pailfuls.’ It is possible that the germ of the modern meaning, ‘beer’, lies here.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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