G is for Gallimaufry

a-to-z-letters-gA mish-mash, hodgepodge, jumble. THAT is gallimaufry. And it sounds wonderful, too. Go ahead. Say it out loud. Listen to it roll off your tongue.

Apparently it also means a “stew” – throw everything into the pot.

I’d like to pretend I’ve always known this word, but it only came into my lexicon recently, when acclaimed British theatre company Cheek by Jowl did a production in Los Angeles  of  John Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore. (A 17th century tragedy). Told you I have a penchant for the dark theatre arts.

No great plot exposition today but any play that’s about incest… well, enough said. Yes?

So here’s the lines from ‘Tis Pity that made me say, “Wow, I must go look up that word. I THINK I can guess the gist of it from the dialogue, but I’d like to know exactly what it means.”

“Must your hot itch and plurisy of lust,
The heyday of your luxury, be fed
Up to a surfeit, and could none but I
Be picked out to be cloak to your close tricks,
Your belly-sports? Now I must be the dad
To all that gallimaufry that’s stuffed
In thy corrupted bastard-bearing womb?
Why must I?”

And yes, her brother knocks her up and yes her husband eventually discovers the transgression. Husband forgives  her, but yes, the poor teenager (yep teenager) lands up dead – murdered by her own brother. Okay, seriously, I promise not to write any more posts about creepy plays. I need to get a life.

Gina Bramhill and Orlando James in Cheek by Jowl's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore' (Credit: Cheek by Jowl)
Gina Bramhill and Orlando James in Cheek by Jowl’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore’ (Credit: Cheek by Jowl)

Nonetheless, I do LOVE the word gallimaufry. I challenge you to add it to  your vocabulary. You never know when you’ll need to deal with a whole higgeldy-piggeldy, mish-mash,  hodgepodge, jumble of things…


  1. jesstopper says:

    Great word – it’s one of those words that, once you know it, you can’t believe you lived without it. I have a ton of British friends that come out with some real zingers – my current favorite is “tickety-boo”, which is kind of their version of our “hunky-dory”.
    Words are weird. LOL
    Jess / Blogging on the Brink

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *