Monday, November 3, 2008

Lollipop vs Sucker

This is leftover Halloween business.

We stumbled upon a philosophical question Halloween night after the kids had dumped their monstrous bags of candy on the floor and were sorting the hordes into categorized piles (i.e., "how many Snickers do you have?" "I don't know, but I have 8 Butterfingers," etc).

My youngest son (he's 10) had separated his suckers/lollipops into two piles and we asked him why. He said one pile was suckers and one pile was lollipops. So we asked him how he defined the two. He said suckers are the round blobs of hard candy stuck on the end of a stick, and lollipops are the flat blobs of hard candy stuck on the end of a stick.

My husband and I were amused that he'd even made a distinction. As far as I'm concerned, they're all the same. So, today I spent some time researching lollipops and suckers (yes, I do have a life, but this was moderately interesting, so I wanted to resolve it!)

I discovered that technically speaking, the official term for any blob of hard candy on the end of a stick is lollipop, and that sucker is a synonym and/or dialectic reference to a lollipop which apparently originated in about 1907. I did find an interesting discussion about the subject on which generally seemed to support my son's assertion of the difference between the two, but that's not necessarily a reliable source - more like a poll.

So, I'll tell my son what I discovered when he gets home from school, but I'm sure it won't change the way he defines his candy. He was pretty adamant about it. Let me assure you, if anyone knows about candy, it's a kid and you never want to get between a kid and his candy.

How do you define a blob of hard candy on the end of a stick?


Angie Ledbetter said...

Put me in the sucker list. :) Your son might be a scientific researcher one day. I bet not many kids his age have made that candy distinction.

Embee said...

He is quite genius, and that's not just a proud mom talking. He's definitely into science, especially astronomy and entomology (yuck). He's such a funny little sarcastic unassuming and brilliant kid! (that's the proud mom talking)

Sal said...

Here in England we call it a Lolly (short for Lollipop ). I thought a sucker was an Americanism. A lolly of frozen ice we call an ice lolly ( I believe Americans call them popsicles ) ? I love the differences between our languages, and find them all fascinating.

My Writer's Journal said...

I think your son is on to something. I am sitting at my desk here at work trying to think of how I would eat a lollipop/sucker. And he's right! I usually lick the lollipop but I put the "sucker" completely in my mouth and, well, suck on it. I hope that made sense to you guys because I feel like I am confusing my own self.

Anyway, you are correct. You NEVER come between a kid and his candy.

Anonymous said...

Nice logic for a little one. He keeps that up and you will be on your toes when the teenage years get here.

On a different note, I have added a link to your site on mine. Please add me to yours. I look forward to reading your articles.

Sharron said...

Found your blog whilst researching these words for a book I'm writing. Well, the word lollipop is from around the 1700's. Sucker is from around that same period, but not as a piece of candy. I've decided to use lollipop in my story. Say 'hi' to your son. Congrats for raising such an intelligent one.