Though this is now used mainly in a figurative sense of a mixture or miscellany, it was first attached in English to a dish of chopped meat, anchovies and eggs, garnished with onions, lemon juice, oil and other condiments. A gastronomic dog’s breakfast, you may think.
We know that the word came to us in the seventeenth century from the French salmigondis, of which older spellings in that language were salmiguondin and salmingondin. Here the trail of linguistic footprints ceases, and we must cast about to pick up the route again. One theory is that it was a dish first prepared for the French king Henri IV (or Henri VI in another version) by a nobleman’s wife, after whom it was named. Another, more prosaic but more plausible, is that it derives from the Italian phrase salame conditi, “pickled meat”. Yet another says it comes from the French salemine, “salted food” and condir, “to season”.
In English the name was corrupted to Solomon-gundy in the eighteenth century, and it’s probable that it’s related to the name in the children’s rhyme: “Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday, christened on Tuesday, married on Wednesday, took ill on Thursday, worse on Friday, died on Saturday, buried on Sunday, that is the end of Solomon Grundy”, which was first set down by James Orchard Halliwell in 1842.
Search World Wide Words
Recently added or updated
By hook or by crook; Polish off; Loggerhead; Lame duck; But and ben; Logomaniac; Type louse; Corium; Lie Doggo; Fewmet; Dingbat; Kibosh; Caucus; Oryzivorous; Kick the bucket; Satisficer; Beside oneself; Words of the Year 2015; Peradventure; Sconce; Orchidelirium; How’s your father; Goon; Emoji; Thank your mother for the rabbits; Nonplussed; Bob’s-a-dying; Methinks; Bill of goods.
Support World Wide Words!
Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.
Buy from Amazon and get me a small commission at no cost to you. Select your preferred site and click Go!