Webster 1913 Edition



Same as

Webster 1828 Edition



A compound drink made of wine and milk; a different orthography of sillabub.

Definition 2023




A variety of syllabub (dessert) made with cream and goat's cheese, lemon juice and zest, and honey
A late-18th-century glass for serving syllabub or jelly manufactured in the United States (probably Pennsylvania), from the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California

Alternative forms


syllabub (plural syllabubs)

  1. A drink dating back to the 16th century consisting primarily of milk curdled with an alcoholic beverage or some acid such as lemon juice, which is usually then sweetened and spiced. [from 16th c.]
  2. Also everlasting syllabub or solid syllabub: a dessert pudding derived from the drink. [from 16th c.]
    • c. 1537, Thersites; published in Joseph Haslewood, editor, Two Interludes: Jack Jugler and Thersytes, Kent: Printed at the private Press of Lee Priory; by John Warwick, 1820, OCLC 32861772, page 65:
      Mother by hys sonne he hathe sende me a letter / Promysynge hereafter to be to vs better / And you and I with my greate clubbe / Muste walke to him and eate a solybubbe / and we shall make merye / and synge tyrle on the berye []
    • 1800, H. Glass [Hannah Glasse]; Maria Wilson, “Syllabubs, Blanc-mange, Flummery, &c.”, in The Complete Confectioner; or, Housekeeper's Guide: To a Simple and Speedy Method of Understanding the Whole Art of Confectionary; [...], London: Printed by J. W. Myers, No. 2, Paternoster-row, London, for West and Hughes, No. 40, Paternoster-row, OCLC 642210949, pages 183–184:
      To make Everlasting Syllabubs. Take three pints of the thickest and sweetest cream you can get, a pint of rhenish, half a pint of sack, three lemons, near a pound of double refined sugar, beat and sift your sugar, and put it to the cream; grate off the yellow rind of three lemons, put that in, and squeeze the juice of the three lemons into your wine; put that to the cream, beat all together with a whisk just half an hour, then take it up all together with a spoon, and fill your glasses.
    • 1824, “a lady” [Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell], “Everlasting, or Solid, Syllabubs”, in A New System of Domestic Cookery; Formed upon Principles of Economy: and Adapted to the Use of Private Families, new corr. edition, London: John Murray, Albemarle-Street, OCLC 15055519, page 287:
      Everlasting, or Solid, Syllabubs. Mix a quart of thick raw cream, one pound of refined sugar, a pint and a half of fine raisin wine, in a deep pan; put to it the grated peel and the juice of three lemons. Beat, or whisk it one way, half an hour; then put it on a sieve with a bit of muslin laid smooth in the shallow end till next day. Put it in glasses. It will keep good, in a cool place, ten days.
    • 1873 December 6, “A London Pilgrimage among the Boarding-Houses. VI. An Artistic Shelter.”, in Charles Dickens, editor, All the Year Round. A Weekly Journal, volume XI, number 262, London: Published at No. 26, Wellington Street; and by Messrs. Chapman & Hall, 193, Piccadilly, published 1874, OCLC 29960472, page 135, column 2:
      "Oh, I do dote on custard," remarks Mrs. Goram, with a mincing smirk, "it is such an improvement to a tart." / "I dote on syllabub," interposed Miss Jemima, sentimentally.
    • 1957 November, Agatha Christie, 4.50 from Paddington, London: Published for the Crime Club by Collins, OCLC 937213793:
      Mushroom soup. Curried chicken and rice. Syllabubs. A savoury of chicken livers and bacon.
  3. (figuratively) Something lacking substance; something frothy, insubstantial, or lightweight.
    • 1831 February 4, Rowland Hill; Edwin Sidney, “Letters of Mr. Rowland Hill”, in The Life of the Rev. Rowland Hill, A.M., London: Baldwin & Cradock, Paternoster Row, published 1834, page 367:
      I like Paul's plain style best. Better to feed the appetite of the hungry, than to tickle the fancies of the whimsical. This breed of preachers are apt soon to preach themselves out of breath, and come to nothing. May you and I never be the retailers of such whipt-syllabub divinity—better keep a cook's-shop to satisfy the craving appetite, than a confectioner's-shop to regale the depraved appetite of the dainty. Good brown-bread preaching is the best after all.

Usage notes

Not to be confused with syllabus.