This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Word To Use Today: piccalilli/piccadilly.

Piccalilli: what a name, eh? It sounds as if it's come from somewhere mysterious and steamy, but it's actually genuinely English.

The most distinctive thing about piccalilli (in Britain, anyway) is its colour, which is a mustard so bright as to seem almost radioactive.

(British piccalilli. In the USA piccalilli is red or green.)

The next most distinctive thing about piccalilli could well be its taste; but I can't be sure about this because the colour (have you ever changed a new-born baby's nappy?) has always prevented me from eating it.

If, however, you should want to try piccalilli for yourself then there's a recipe HERE. The stuff is basically a spicy pickle of random vegetables, often including cauliflower and green beans.

Oh, but piccalilli is such a lovely word...

...piccalilli. Piccalilli. Piccalilli!

Luckily, for pickle phobics, Piccadilly is quite as lovely as a word, and doesn't involve eating anything vinegary.

Piccadilly is the area of London where you can find this famous statue:

The guy with the arrow is usually called Eros, but Alfred Gilbert, who made the statue, meant it to be Eros's brother Anteros.

Quite a few people know it's not really Eros, but most of them tend to think it's The Angel of Christian Charity.

Ah well.

Word To Use Today: piccalilli or Piccadilly. The word piccalilli appeared in the 1700s, originally as piccalillo, and may be based on the word pickle. The bit of London now called Piccadilly was bought by a tailor named Robert Baker from money made selling piccadills, which were stiff collars with scalloped edges and a broad lace border.

There are also Piccadillys in Canada and Australia, as well as a couple of others in England, in Manchester and Warwickshire.


  1. I don't like the colour either ... it's a bit too ... hmm ... lurid? ... for my taste.

    1. If you keep using language like that I'm going to have to go and have a lie down.