According to research people are more likely to experience bouts of depression during the winter months. I’ve written about having the blues here on the Blind Pig before-you know things like the baby blues, the love sick blues, and even the I’m grounded and can’t go contra dancing blues.
I’ve heard other words or phrases used to describe someone who is suffering from the blues:
- sad and down and out
- in the doldrums
- down in the dumps
- had the mopes
- a bad case of the miseries
But I had never heard someone who had the blues described as having the mollygrubs until Jim Casada shared that his Grandpa Joe used the word in that manner. After doing a little research on the word usage I discovered there are variations of the word: mollygrubs; mulligrubs; mulligrumbs; mollygrunt; and mullygrubs to name a few.
The Free Dictionary has this entry for mullygrubs: Rur. to feel depressed. She had the mullygrubs because her husband was out of town. Joe had the mullygrubs. We tried to cheer him up.
Dictionary.com has this entry:
mul·li·grubs [muhl-i-gruhbz] Show IPA
noun ( used with a singular or plural verb ) Southern U.S.
ill temper; colic; grumpiness.
1590–1600; earlier mulligrums, apparently alteration of megrims
Meriam Wesbster has this entry:
mul·li·grubs noun plural
Full Definition of MULLIGRUBS
: a despondent, sullen, or ill-tempered mood : sulks, blues
: a griping of the intestines : colic
Variants of MULLIGRUBS
mul·li·grubs or mul·ly·grubs also mol·ly·grubs
Origin of MULLIGRUBS
alter. (prob. influenced by grub) of earlier mulliegrums, perh. alter. (perh. influenced by obs. E mully dusty, moldy, fr. E 1mull + -y) of megrims, pl. of 1megrim
The T FOR TRANSLATION website has an interesting post about the word-you can go here to read it in its entirety. The post tells about the history of the word mullygrubs and discusses how it has fallen out of use in most of the US. However, according to the article, the word is still very popular in the country of Australia, where a 1990s television show was titled Mulligrubs.
T FOR TRANSLATION also shares three interesting quotes from past writings.
- Idleness lies in bed sick of the mulligrubs where industry finds health and wealth. (Brave Men and Women by O.E. Fuller)
- ‘Tis the maddest trick a man can ever play in his whole life, to let his breath sneak out of his body without any more ado, and without so much as a rap o’er the pate, or a kick of the guts; to go out like the snuff of a farthing candle, and die merely of the mulligrubs, or the sullens. (Don Quixote, by Miguel De Cervantes)
- As for myself, while I have scarce stirred to take exercise for four or five days, no wonder I had the mulligrubs. (The Journal of Sir Walter Scott by Sir Walter Scott).
Just in case you’re suffering from the mollygrubs here’s a song from The Pressley Girls about keeping the blues way.
I hope you enjoyed the old Delmore Brothers song and the fascinating information about the word mollygrubs. Even though I had never heard the word before Jim mentioned it, the word seems to capture being down in the dumps perfectly.
*Sources: The Free Dictionary, Dictionary.com, T FOR TRANSLATION website, Meriam Wesbster, More Mulligrubs by Bruce Todd, Jim Casada.