I've thought it had to do with the love that dare not speak its name, to put it ever so coyly, but what does this phrase mean and connote?

And what's the approximate American equivalent?

1 Answer 1


Here's Eric Partridge from the Dict. of Slang and Unconv. English:

sod. A sodomist: low coll.: Mid-C. 19-20; ob.-2. Hence, a pejorative, orig. and gen. violent: late C. 19-20. Often used in ignorance of its origin: cf. bugger.

So your sense of "sod" is on the money. Suffixial "off" marks a general epithet as an insult, as seen in "piss off," "f-ck off," "bugger off," etc., all used in the manner of "please go away." Also note that "sod" in this sense is UK usage only. In US English it only refers to topsoil and turf grass.

  • 4
    Probably worth mentioning that the word "Sod" originally comes from the name of the inhabitants of the biblical city of Sodom, which was known for its sexual debauchery.
    – Urbycoz
    Nov 4, 2011 at 11:48
  • Also 'sod it', 'sod that', 'sod you', 'sod-all' and 'sod's law'. Nov 4, 2011 at 12:38
  • 1
    Not to mention my personal favourite, sod that for a game of soldiers, which gem presumably fails to hit the spot for the average American. Sep 21, 2012 at 14:33
  • This is an interesting one because 'sod off' is clearly a phrasal noun (and anyone who doesn't believe in phrasal nouns can sod off at this point). However, 'sod' as a stand-alone verb is not in common use--except, as FumbleFingers points out, in 'sod that'. So, if FF hadn't pointed that out, I would have taken 'sod off' to be a phrasal verb that doesn't actually contain a stand-alone verb. However, give Barrie England's examples, I guess 'sod' just means 'bugger'.
    – Dunsanist
    Jun 1, 2016 at 6:46
  • Common exclamations of pain / disappointment include Fuck!, Fuck it!, and Sod it! But "standalone" Sod! is not a common utterance in my neck of the woods. Feb 24 at 23:42

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