Plum crazy, plum job, plummy

Why is being plum crazy bad and getting a plum job good? It seems that the plum in crazy has lost it’s “b” somewhere along the way. A plumb is a lead weight, and offers two possible explanations here: that lead poisoning could drive one mad; or that a plumb-bob measures something that is exact or absolute.

A plum job or role on the other hand comes from the definition of plum as desirable. Whether this is just because plums are delicious and refreshing on a hot day, or because they were an exotic fruit and thus highly sought after is unclear, as the meaning has been around for a very long time.

Plum also became slang for a thousand pounds, and so a plumb job might be one that paid well.

Plummy voices are those of the British upper class, those which are particularly mellow and rich. Some suggest this is to do with the sugary tones, others that it’s to do with the round, plum sized, shape of the mouth.


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