UK slang - "drops her trifle"?

I was just re-watching the first season of “All Creatures Great and Small”. In one episode James and his blind date get falling-down drunk at a dance. In a later episode he says of the incident, “And suddenly she goes green, drops her trifle, and passes out right in front of me.” I don’t think she was holding a dish of the British dessert by that name. Then I thought this might mean “vomits”, but that didn’t happen, either.

The only other reference that comes up in Google is at's+TV+WEEK%3A+DEV+GATE+DRIVE.-a0103314605 in a synopsis of a Coronation Street episode (apparently from 2003).

This seems to mean some kind of negative reaction.

So what does this expression really mean?

I’ve never heard it. I think the Coronation Street reference was a real trifle. Stu Francis was the host of Crackerjack, a silly custard pie type of show where contestants played a game where they had to hold prizes without dropping them:

Which episode were you watching? It’s probably on YouTube.

My best guess is that she did, indeed, drop a trifle.

A dance of the type to which he generally took girls would have served a light buffet supper which could easily have included trifle. I’ve never heard it as a euphemistic expression, but even if I had, in this context I’d guess that she actually dropped a plate of trifle.

I’ve never heard it either, so I think I’m also going to vote for the literal interpretation.

They served trifles (biscuits/cookies) at the dance too, go back and read. :slight_smile:


You can put me down as another Brit who has never heard this “idiom”, and I lived in Yorkshire (where ACGAS is set, I believe) for many years.

As you probably know, well as being a dessert, a “trifle” can also mean anything unimportant, so perhaps she dropped something unimportant.

(Biscuits or cookies are not trifles, except inasmuch as they are unimportant.)

Regardless of what was intended, I hereby commit to refer to vomiting as “dropping my trifles” from this moment forward.

It sounds like a British version of “jumped the shark” to me.
“You know, All Creatures Great and Small was never the same after they dropped the trifle.”

I thought trifle was a kind of “wet” dessert that had to be served in a small bowl or perhaps a goblet. I didn’t think biscuits would come under that heading.


It’s layers of spongecake, fruit jelly/jell-o, custard and whipped cream. Usually some fruit such as cherries, raspberries or strawberries in it too. Served in a bowl or glass. Sometimes the sponge is soaked in sherry.

I think Z_C is using “trifles” here in the sense of “small unimportant things” - trifling snacks, perhaps - not the desert trifle. I don’t agree with this interpretation (I too am fairly sure it’s an actual trifle) but I think that’s what he’s getting at.

Luckily, though, it allows jokes such as this: