back to article Public tracks down Gordon Bennett

We're pleased to report that eagle-eyed amateur linguistic sleuths have tracked down the earliest sighting yet of Gordon Bennett, whose name has long been held to be a euphemism for "gorblimey", itself from "God blind me". The discovery of Gordon in J Curtis's 1937 book You're in the Racket, Too! ("Gordon Bennett. He wasn't …


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  1. Rob

    Cock and Balls

    when and maybe why as well?

  2. EvilFairy

    dogs bollocks?

    if :- is the dogs bollocks would that make :-) a dick head and happy about it? and what about :-o

    I'll leave other interpretations up to peoples imaginations ;-)

  3. Furry Mark

    Cock and Balls?

    I thought it was Cock and Bull? (which has been around for a long time - a simple search will find you the meaning and origin of this phrase...)

  4. David S


    I'd heard (I forget where... QI, possibly?) that "dog's bollocks" came from some product or another which came in two styles: Box Deluxe, and Box Standard. The deluxe version was spoonerised into Dox Beluxe, and hence into "dog's bollocks", and the standard became known as "bog standard"...

    Now, if I could only back these assertions up with some form of evidence... Ah well, it serves as a useful anecdote on the mutability of language in any case...

  5. Anonymous Coward


    Think they need to research around the Black Country, it's been around for decades, but I guess many round there are to busy sleeping with their cousins to learn to read....

  6. Squits

    Gordon Bennett

    Gordon Bennett 36 Newfoundland Brits London Kensington Curator In Civil Services

    This is from the 1901 census.

    So he must have been born in 1865.

    As for the earliest time his name was used in 'that' way, only the great Odin knows.

  7. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    A colon and a dash...?

    Wouldn't that be the international symbol for a bad curry, insteas?

  8. Nano nano


    Always presumed that it was the dog-lover's version of "the Cat's whiskers"

  9. Simon Greenwood

    The version of Gordon Bennett that I know

    Is derived from a racing driver of the thirties, presumably the same one. There was a pub in Tooting called the Gordon Bennett ( and there is a street in Paris called the Avenue Gordon Bennett next to the Stade Roland Garos. The exclamation came from his driving ability. This may or may not be true.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Pedant alert - "it's the dog's bollocks", or more succinctly "it's the dogs".

    Visual similarity has nothing to do with it. It comes from observation that dogs are always licking their bollocks, so the article at issue must be pretty good.

    Rare for the OED to be wrong. In this case you should refer to Roger's Profanosaurus.

  11. Matt

    @David S re Box Deluxe...

    It was indeed on QI - or at least I saw a similar explanation on QI - the boxes in question were for Mecanno.

    Or so said the QI Master himself, Stephen Fry, and he seems trustworthy!

  12. Rob

    BOG Standard...

    Is actually an old Victorian engineering term, standing for "British Or German Standard." Seems the old boys had a bit of common sense and wanted to ensure that any component came from a reliable engineering nation and not a cheese eating surrender monkey or some kind of giggolo.

  13. Philip Lord

    @Simon Greenwood

    Errmm ........... the Parisian Avenue Gordon Bennett is in honour of an American hack (says so on the name plate - read it on Tuesday - sorry for being pendantic).

    Lord Phil

  14. Bombardier
    Thumb Up

    emoticons in 1949?

    would that be the first recorded use of emoticons? guess not:

    anyway i'm coining 'the elephant's dong' - it's one up on the dog's bollocks :- and can be expressed as 8===>

  15. Sceptical Bastard

    @ Stu Reeves

    Quote: "... the Black Country,... many round there are to busy sleeping with their cousins..."

    That's it, ah. Yo hit the nile on the 'ead (as we say in the west midlands).

    A Black Country virgin is any under-age girl who can outrun her dad and her brothers. Her cousins have to wait til later...

  16. Chief sub

    Gordon Bennett

    Anyone who read Bill Bryson's Made in America (1994) would have known the origin of Gordon Bennett was James GB, the newspaper baron. The exclamation came about because of his party trick of entering swanky restaurants and trying to yank away the tablecloth of the nearest tables, attempting to leave all the crockery, cutlery etc standing. Invariably, he would fail, and he would give the maitre d' a wad of cash to compensate the besplattered and outraged diners. He had a habit of this sort of thing - getting mightily hammered, doing something outrageously annoying to others, and giving them lavish restitution. He was rich, so he could get away with it.

  17. Tibb the Cat

    Gordon Bennett was a real person

    Gordon Bennett was a real person. Among other things he was responsible for founding the Isle of Man TT races. These two websites explain everything,_Jr.

  18. Steve Cooper

    Go do the Gordon Bennett route

    It's in Kildare, Laois and Carlow in Ireland

  19. Nigee


    And there was me thinking Gordon Bennett was the Aussie general who did a runner from Singapore to further his career.

    As for Glasgow Kiss, what about Liverpool? IIRC that was around a lot earlier.

  20. Andy Davies

    the dog-lover's version of "the Cat's whiskers"

    now that has a definite ring of (boring) truth to it.

    AndyD 8-)#

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OED Wiki fiddlers

    This appears to be the OED trying to get some Web2 related publicity. They should leave this stuff to Brewer, who at least was reasonably good at it.

  22. Peter Mellor

    Re: Surely (by Nigee)

    > As for Glasgow Kiss, what about Liverpool? IIRC that was around a lot earlier.

    I seem to remember the phrase "Kirkby kiss" for a head-butt, but then, I'm not from the right area, and I've never given nor received (to date, cross fingers) one.

  23. Tim Lane


    I seem to remember seeing the meccano explanation for Bog Standard and Dogs Bollocks on a program presented by James May about his favorite childhood toys.

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