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Being "in the pudding club" seems to mean "being pregnant" in British English.

What is the origin/etymology of this phrase? Where is it used nowadays?

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What's with food and children? Another colloquial way (US only?) to say that someone is pregnant is "to have a bun in the oven." –  gbutters May 16 '11 at 22:19

4 Answers 4

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Partridge's A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English gives this entry:

pudding club, put in the. To render pregnant: low: late C. 19-20. James Curtis, The Gilt Kid, 1936. See also pudding, with a bellyful of marrow.

pudding, with a bellyful of marrow- : in the pudding club. Pregnant: low : C. 19-20; ob. Cf. pudding, n., 2. The latter, esp. as put in the pudden club, to render pregnant, is still current : witness James Curtis, The Gilt Kid, 1936.

That entry (interior emphasis my own) leads us to pudding, entry 2:

pudding 2 n. Coïtion; the penis; the seminal fluid: low coll.: from Restoration days. Wit and Mirth, 1682

So it comes from pudding in the sexual, coital sense given above.

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Thanks for providing the etymology. Can you tell, where this phrase is used nowadays (Region, social class)? –  mbx May 16 '11 at 9:28

I can't tell you whether it's used today, but it was still current in 1976. I'm watching a rerun of a British sitcom (originally aired in May 1976) in which the phrase was used; the character who used it, and the two who understood it, are urban (London), are lower-middle class economically, and are middle-class in outlook (they value outward respectability and the upholding of middle-class social norms).

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George and Mildred? –  David Aldridge Jul 1 '13 at 21:51

In the 1828 AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE you can read definitions for pudding: "what bulges out, a paunch." So a pregnant woman had a "bulge" for her tummy same as a "paunch."

I was just watching "Last Tango in Halifax," a British sitcom, and the phrase "he put her in the pudding club" was used as it if was commonly understood.

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It wasn't merely a sexual reference; more of a play on words since there used to be (and still are in a few places) Christmas clubs, in which everyone paid a small amount each week and received a hamper at Christmas, and bottle clubs, in which the reward for your subscription was a bottle of whisky. So presumably the lady in question had received a package as a result of her efforts...

And the shortened version, in the club, is still used in Britain (or in London, at least). I would advise caution, since it is very colloquial bordering on the vulgar; but I would think it would be understood everywhere.

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