Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sailor's stew made of meat, vegetables, and hardtack.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A dish of meat stewed with vegetables and ship biscuit.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A combination of meat with vegetables, bread, etc., usually stewed, sometimes baked; an olio.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A dish made of pilot-biscuit, stewed in water with pieces of salt meat.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a stew of meat and vegetables and hardtack that is eaten by sailors

Etymologies

Perhaps dialectal lob, to bubble + scouse, of unknown origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From German Labskaus (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It was what the sailors called lobscouse, a sort of pudding made of ship biscuits, liver, and fish.

    The Land of the Long Night

  • The steward presently brought along from the galley the chief ingredients of the supper, consisting of a pot of piping hot cocoa and a dish of steaming "lobscouse", to be followed, he informed me, by a jam tart.

    The Strange Adventures of Eric Blackburn

  • But long before the cook's husky notes summoned the emigrants 'messmen to the galley, to receive their morning allowance of cocoa and their tins of "lobscouse", all hands were on deck, the emigrants gathered in the waist of the ship, leaning over the lee rail, and devouring with their eyes the beauties of the lovely island, fresh, green, and sparkling with the dews of the past night.

    Overdue The Story of a Missing Ship

  • "lobscouse" which the darkey cook had dished up most appetisingly; after which the good lady retired to her cabin for the night in much more cheerful spirits.

    The Wreck of the Nancy Bell Cast Away on Kerguelen Land

  • Angus ThomsonStreatley, Berkshire• Labskaus (Letters, 19 March) is only an anomalous variation of lobscouse (lapskaus in Norwegian), a sailor's stew with meat and vegetables (without meat, blindscouse) found across northern Europe but most famously associated with Liverpool, being eponymous with its natives, dialect and local dish.

    Letters: Recipe for disaster

  • Dinah HickishSt Asaph, Clwyd• Re the variations of labskaus/lobscouse Letters, 22 March: Liverpool may call its stew scouse, but the word has also travelled down to Stoke, where it's called lobby.

    Letters: Budget food

  • In Liverpool he instantly identifies lobscouse, a stew originally eaten by Baltic sailors and eponymous with the city, while he uncovers the historical link between Wigan and pies.

    Tonight's TV highlights

  • Eating "seemans labskaus" for dinner in Hamburg -- that is, "seaman's lobscouse," a dish Jack and Stephen eat in Patrick O'Brian which of course is why I ordered it.

    The Happy List, Germany edition

  • I could live on lobscouse, or soap and bully, for a year, and thank God for getting more than I deserved.

    Springhaven

  • He declared the Widow Gallup did not know how to make a decent chowder, anyway; and as for lobscouse, or the proper frying of a mess of

    Cap'n Abe, Storekeeper

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Comments

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  • - which I understand is where the dish came from originally.

    May 6, 2009

  • in Bremen and Hamburg this is labskaus or lapskaus -

    May 6, 2009

  • "...this was a rich man's lobscouse, a Lord Mayor's lobscouse. Orrage had been wonderfully generous with his slush, and the liquid fat stood half an inch deep over the whole surface, while the potatoes and pounded biscuit that ordinarily made up the bulk of the dish could scarcely be detected at all, being quite overpowered by the fat meat, fried onions, and powerful spices."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 93

    February 20, 2008

  • "He would not even stop long enough to take in fresh supplies from the bum-boats that came round the ship, observing in his decided manner 'that they were not here to blow out their kites with lobscouse, nor to choke their luffs with figgy-dowdy, but to convey the Catalan troops to Santandero without a moment's loss of time...'"
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Surgeon's Mate, 287

    February 9, 2008