Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Word of the Week 2022 – Coffin Dodger (Codger)

Is describing the likes of bungling billionaires like Bernie Ecclestone and Rupert Murdoch as ‘coffin dodgers’ or ‘codgers’ acceptable? Matthew Steeples says MOST DEFINITELY YES

Titty feeding twerp Tamara Ecclestone once charged at me as I sat minding my own business at the bar of a Pavilion Road, Chelsea restaurant enjoying a glass of vino. This modern-day Bet Lynch lookalike, clad in some kind of especially louche leopard skin number, screamed like a banshee and demanded: “Why do you call my dad a ‘coffin dodger’?”


Clearly surprised at this awkward ambush by a birdbrained bimbo, I simply responded: “Because that’s just what he is” and of this most unpleasant encouter I was reminded in recent days when somebody told me off on Twitter for using the very same description of the soon to be divorced for a fourth time old ‘codger’ Rupert Murdoch.


Said to be an alternative way of describing an “elderly person” or “crinkly” and sometimes abbreviated to ‘codger,’ this is a somewhat derogatory description that is representative of someone “good at avoiding death” but also is the name of an alcoholic beverage that is “sometimes drunk as a hangover cure.”


With even a beer named in its honour also, here is a phrase that should be used more widely and today we invite readers to suggest the names of other famous antique beings who quite frankly live on forever in the hope of simply annoying the rest of the bloody planet for as long as they possibly can.


Pictured top – Ultimate “coffin dodgers” Putin loving Bernie Ecclestone and maniacal media mogul Rupert Murdoch; here is a pair of very rich, very miserable, very tempestuous men who think they can do and say whatever they want. The vast majority of the planet most definitely won’t miss this pair of rotten toerags when they thankfully pass.


This is a description that should be more widely used.
The description is sometimes abbreviated though some claim ‘codger’ to have an entirely different meaning. Of this someone named Raeanne Dimick suggests: “The origin of [codger] seems to lie in the complex links between [cadger] and codger (not as a contraction of coffin-dodger, as one of my more inventive correspondents has suggested). In some parts of England the two words were used interchangeably, whereas in other regions they were separate words, one meaning beggar and the other eccentric/grotesque fellow. The latter meaning is the one used in an early example of old codger, David [Garricks] [farce] [Bon] Ton, 1775: [My Lords] servants call you an old out-of-fashiond [Codger]. Men who had fallen on hard times and had resorted to any means possible to keep body and soul together were often those who were too old to find work. A cadger was likely to be a [grizzled] character wanting to borrow or steal from you; a codger was a peculiar and unfashionable chap, and both were likely to be old. Old codger is most likely to be the linguistic merging of all those images.”
Amusingly, this response came in on Twitter to the poll I started about whether the description was acceptable or not today. The “late granny” was most “clearly a legend” indeed and I do think that this way of referencing nasty old antiquities should be more widely used.
Mugs emblazoned with the term and beer named for such antiquities can be bought online.
TV show
A 2013 TV short takes the description as its title. It starred John DiMaggio and was directed by Dwayne Carey-Hill.
Tamara Ecclestone and Jay Rutland
Often clad in leopard skin banshee Tamara Ecclestone – pictured with her not especially bright and banned from the city husband Jay Rutland approaching Scalini restaurant in Walton Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW3 – does not like the description being used of her deranged dwarf-like daddy.
Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.


  1. Interestingly, the writer Frederick Forsyth describes himself in his Twitter bio as a “self-confessed old codger”

  2. Cliff Richard is deffo a coffin dodger. Anyone that reaches a certain age, most definately falls into the ‘coffin dodger’ category. It’s not a title that one should be insulted about. These coffin dodgers need to be reminded that they should be thankful to still be alive instead of feeling insulted. Btw, did anyone see the pictures of the other coffin dodger Danny Glover frolicking in the water on a amazing beach with an elderly lady with the most fab body I’ve ever seen on a female coffin dodger in my life …RofLol

  3. I believe that the Duck may fall into that category as well. Now way back in them olden days in my home town of Ross-on-Wye, bus loads of them used to arrive from S. Wales and even more far flung parts.
    We used to refer to them as” grockles”, and also the delicious term “crumblies”. I can thus come to terms with being a codger and crumbly, but I would not normally be a grockle.


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