Definition of bonnyclabber
Northern & Midland
Did You Know?
In Irish Gaelic, bainne clabair means "thickened milk." In English, the equivalent word is bonnyclabber. Whether or not this bonnyclabber is "the bravest, freshest drink you ever tasted" (as the English Earl of Strafford enthused in 1635) or "would make a hungry parson caper" (to quote English poet Thomas Ward in 1716), it has been a part of country folks' diets for many a year. Today, you might see bonnyclabber as a recommended substitute for buttermilk in a recipe for Irish soda bread (complete with directions for making your own bonnyclabber). The American version of bonnyclabber, brought to U.S. shores by Scots-Irish immigrants, often goes one step further in the thickening process, to produce something more akin to cottage cheese.
Origin and Etymology of bonnyclabber
Irish bainne clabair, from bainne milk + clabair, genitive of clabar sour thick milk
First Known Use: 1605
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