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?
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
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.
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).
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.
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.
“The Hasty Pudding Club” was also a social club at Harvard. According to the Wikipedia page, the (social) club was founded in 1795.
I assume that "pudding" comes from the French "boudin". "Boudin noir" is the French for black pudding (there's also "boudin blanc" for Weisswurst). Pudding therefore means "sausage" - hence the seventeenth-century meaning of "penis"