Gumbo in the UK
November 17, 2010 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Does the word gumbo have a slang meaning in the UK / London? Specifically, when referring to a person, as in "Hey gumbo..."
posted by doowod to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: As someone who grew up in South-East London, I can honestly say I have never heard the word outside the "American-Southern-Cuisine-Stew" context. However, there seem to be other meanings; unable to provide a geographical origin.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 5:31 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Are you sure you weren't mishearing "Jumbo"? I've heard that used by older people, particularly as a nickname for larger or smaller people.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:37 PM on November 17, 2010

Could it be a reference to the beloved Gumby? Which is a US show but I often use the term gumby when referring to a particular sort of physical ineptitude.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:46 PM on November 17, 2010

The other Gumby
posted by flabdablet at 7:03 PM on November 17, 2010

Response by poster: hmm... may it have something to do with the dog in EastEnders mentioned on the wikipedia disambiguation page? I've never seen this show but the context of the remark would lead me to believe it was either a term of endearment or a bit of a playful jab. The person who said it is an East London native.
posted by doowod at 7:17 PM on November 17, 2010

My guess is you might be hearing "Hey dumbo". Meaning, "hey, dumbass". I've never heard "gumbo" used in England in any sense other than the usual one.
posted by Decani at 4:56 AM on November 18, 2010

When I used to work in a factory in East London a good few years ago we had an in-joke which referred to a character in this movie called Gumbo. Let's just say that he wasn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. I think the line from the film that we always quoted was "I love you Gumbo". Whether this has made it any further into popular parlance I couldn't say, as I live in Scotland now, but it's certainly a possibilty.
posted by Chairboy at 5:30 AM on November 18, 2010

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