Talk:Sherbet (powder)

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Slang: beer or any alcoholic drink[edit]

"The word sherbet apparently has a comedic effect when pronounced in a South London accent."

I hope you guys realize this is one of the reasons why Wikipedia is known for having some of the worst prose on the internet.

I don't know if it is because I am American, but the History section of this article is pretty much unreadable. And Hitler disliked it, is this important information? Can someone who knows more on the topic please FIX THIS? Rachaella (talk) 02:53, 11 November 2009 (UTC)


Dude, if you think Wikipedia has the worst prose on the internet, you must have just bought that computer last week. Wikipedia is head and shoulders above the vast majority of web sites in overall writing quality. M.Neko


Sherbert in the UK is a children's sweet (US candy) that is made of sugar and other ingredients. I'm not familiar with this usage [frozen dessert] at all. Secretlondon 09:33, Nov 17, 2003 (UTC)

==Australian slang==sherbet is made from pigs Can an Australian or someone who's familiar with Australian slang tell me if I have the spelling of sherbert for beer or any alcoholic drink correct. Can it be spelled sherbet as well to mean beer? And does sherbet/sherbert ever mean one of the other two meanings (fizzy powedered confectionery or frozen dessert)? Thanks, fabiform | talk 19:36, 2 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I can confirm that fizzy powdered sherbet is known in Australia. I have never encountered the frozen dessert sherbert - but then, I've never encountered the beer sherbert either, so perhaps you ought not to take my word for it. —Paul A 02:23, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Excellent, thanks Paul. I just looked at it again and I see I didn't even say it was a slang term for beer/alcohol. Whoops. So, I'll add Australia to the British confectionery section. I wonder if any Australians will confirm that sherbert is slang for beer/alcohol, or is it all an elaborate internet hoax?  ;) fabiform | talk 02:38, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Rlandmann, I think you've been too hasty! Here are my sources:

  • "Sherbet – an alcoholic drink, especially beer, 'we’re going to the pub for a few sherberts'" Australian slang guide
  • "sherbet / sherbert - an alcoholic drink (usually a beer). Derives from the Turkish word 'sherbet' which was a cooling drink made from fruit juice. e.g. "Fancy a stroll down the pub for a few sherbets ?"." London slang page
  • "Australian English now uses sherbert, both alone and in compounds, as another name for beer" Guide to American English
  • "Sherbert - "going for a" Going for a drink" Australian slang dictionary
  • "sherbet Noun. An alcoholic drink. Also spelt sherbert. E.g.'I think we should go down to the bar, get some sherbets in and then hit a nightclub.'" [1]

And if that wasn't enough, it's a listed meaning in the OED, and has three supporting quotes, slang, beer or any warm (?) alcoholic drink, although it doesn't say it's Australian.

  • "sherbet (dab) Noun. A taxi. Rhyming slang on cab. (1990s?)" UK slang - I also discovered this meaning in several places, which I'll add.

fabiform | talk 03:03, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

From Australian English:

Various publishers have produced "phrase books" to assist visitors. These phrasebooks reflect a highly exaggerated and outdated style of Australian colloquialisms and they should be regarded as amusements rather than accurate usage guides.

I've never heard beer called sherbert, nor have I heard the verb form. For phrases such as this, the slang dictionaries tend to be the only source -- it's difficult to find an Australian person who has heard them in the wild. -- Tim Starling 03:47, Feb 3, 2004 (UTC)

I hope the article is now more conservative and accurate. You're right of course Tim about slang dictionaries, but the OED list this meaning, here are the quotes (and as you can see, the second two are 'actual' instances of the word being used):

1890: Barrere & Leland (Slang Dictionary), "Sherbet (popular), a glass of any warm alcoholic liquor, as grog, &c. A misapplication."
1917: H. Lawson (Coll. Verse) (1969) "Beer that we called 'sherbet'"
1974: F. Archer Treasure House "He had a strident voice and with a few sherbets under his belt you knew what he was about."

fabiform | talk 03:53, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps. Note, however, that many purported guides to Australian English are published more for humorous intent than as a real reflection of the language "as she is spoke". All I can say is that calling beer "sherbert" is either obsolete slang, slang peculiar to one particular part of the country, or both... You've piqued my interest - I'll try and investigate further... -Rlandmann 03:54, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I can't tell from the sources quoted in the OED if the above are from British texts or Australian/American etc. It certainly didn't say is was Asutralian slang there. Try going into your local and asking for a sherbet, and see if they laugh of pull you a pint?  ;) fabiform | talk 03:59, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)
A few quick checks show:
Barrere & Leland doesn't (explicitly) cover Australian English - its full title appears to be "A DICTIONARY OF SLANG, JARGON & CANT, Embracing English, American, and Anglo-Indian Slang, Pidgin English, Gypsies’ Jargon and other Irregular Phraseology." 1
Henry Lawson was a famous Australian poet and short-story writer of the late 19th century
Archer was published in Australia in 1969, but its subject matter is covering the history of a particular Melbourne hotel (the "Menzies"). To me, it seems most likely that the snippet in the OED is from the recollections of an "old-timer".
Seems like this usage is British slang that found its way to the colonies. I'm quite certain that this is not currently in use. -Rlandmann 04:07, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Interesting, thanks for all the clarifications on the sources. I'll do a little bit more digging, but I don't see any need to remove it. You might want to add a note that it might not be current slang (but there's no reason why we should remove it for that reason, people might come across it in older texts).

Two more quotes (both even older):

China-ale, ale flavoured with China-root:

1659 Newton in Brewster Life, "Otiose et frustra expensa, sherbet and reaskes, China ale, Beere."
1718 Lady M. W. Montagu Let. to C'tess Mar, "Sherbet... is the liquor they drink at meals."

fabiform | talk 04:22, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Note that "liquor" did not always exclusively mean an alcoholic drink in English - just a drink. I'm not sure exactly when the meaning narrowed down (it was after Shakespeare's time!), but a quick Google turns up quite a few instances of the phrase "alcoholic liquor" (tautological in modern English). I'm pretty confident that in the 1718 source doesn't help us know if alcohol was present in the drink or not. The full context of the 1659 reference would be interesting... --Rlandmann 05:26, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I know what you mean about quotes sometimes being a tantalising glimpse but not enough. The 1718 quote was under the head word "liquor" and the meaning of the subheading it was under was beverage, now almost always fermented or brewed, so you're right it's not clear where this word falls in the transition of meaning.

I have also discovered that sherbet was an australian music group of some kind, fancy sticking a word or two about them, and a disambiguation link or something? [2]

But... I've been googling and I've found enough evidence of sherbert and sherbet to satisfy me it's a slang word still in use (UK and Australia). Have a look at these:

"Have you had a few sherbets tonight?" (discussing getting drunk) [3]
"Pobably had a few too many sherberts." (discussing a hit-and-run accident) [4]
"go back to the bar for a few sherberts .... Ales were sunk, and the singing started - then blow me but the moustache behind the bar closed it - spot on midnight. Now take a group of British chaps on the piss, and close the bar - that is a recipe for trouble." [5]
"more post pub grub than anywhere I know, too many grubby little kibab houses to mention in the old town, but who cares after a few sherberts!" [6]
"For anyone who’s stumbled around Covent Garden a bit worst for wear after too many sherberts, this place has long been regarded as something of an institution." [7]
"After Dinner: Enjoy some time to yourself or partake of a few more sherberts in the friendly surrounds of the motels cocktail bar." [8]
"Once we were happily settled in at the top of Les Arcs we set about assembling our bikes, enjoying some fine French cuisine and down to a local bar for a few sherberts." [9]
"Drunken Sean. He's been out on the Sherberts again." [10]
"After our food we all met up in the K bar and had a few sherberts, then went back home to bed." [11]
"Not many drink promos, so have a few sherberts before getting there." [12]
"Out now to partake in a few pre-xmas sherberts with the office then on to the Twisted by design christmas special." [13]
"Taxi for Spokesy - well to be fair he had had some sherberts and was desperately trying to pass a dubious fitness test to make his playing rehabilitation a matter of fact not fantasy." [14]
"Apple-Bobbing or one too many sherberts?" [15]
"A visit to the pizzeria after several large sherberts was never the best idea and fat biker, in his wisdom, proceeded to advise the entire restaurant that the waitress had a fantastic arse." [16]
"I sat here, talked about beer and decided time was nigh to "do some", so i shot off and skunked as many sherberts as i could." [17]
"I'm going to see Scholar Green next week so in theory should need a couple of sherberts before hand" (conversation about giving up drinking) [18]
"Syd Sterling: The NT Labor MP fessed up on radio a few years back to being sprung badly on ANZAC Day having had a few too many sherbets and losing his licence. Then the radio announcer, Darwin's own Fred McCue, fessed up that he'd been done some years before too. Maybe it's a Darwin thing." [19]

So there you go! :) fabiform | talk 06:18, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Wow! OK - that's pretty conclusive evidence... :) The group you're referring to, Sherbert, was one of Australia's most prominent rock groups of the 1970s. I figure I owe you that disamb! --Rlandmann 07:00, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Cheers, I love delving into language so I was quite happy to poke around the net with google's help!
I'm another Australian who wasn't familiar with its usage for alcohol. I'd guess it's still in use, but not common, and probably more common in some regions. --Singkong2005 04:44, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Sherbet powder[edit]

just wanting to know if anyone knows what the thing that you moisten with your toungue then stick into the sherbert so that the sherbert sticks to it is called?

it's a dip-dab --Timetrial (talk) 02:02, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Frozen dessert[edit]

It's fascinating to me that the use of the word sherbet as a frozen dessert is relatively unknown. Yes, I'm American, but I do have some concept of the differences between Englishes. Anyway, in case any of you were in doubt, yes, sherbet is the common American usage for a certain type of frozen dessert resembling ice cream. Some, including Martha Stewart, if I remember correctly, have defined the difference between sorbet and sherbet as one containing milk and the other being milk-free, but most consider this difference superfluous. 03:17, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

The American usage should have first dibs on the Sherbet article, with the other one being Sherbet (UK), but perhaps we could have a disambiguation, like pudding.

I agree, this is totally a strange article because it makes no mention of what sherbet means in American English. In the US sherbet is a fruit and milk-based frozen desert. It is distinguished from ice cream by the use of milk vs. cream and from sorbet by the use of milk vs. water.-- (talk) 11:49, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

This article should have the US definition as a major focus, because (of course) the US has a majority of ALL first-language speakers of English in the world. Canada, Australia, the UK, et cetera, have fewer speakers of the language, combined. The idea that the use of a word that MOST native speakers of English would recognize is not the focus of the article is utterly laughable. --Kaz (talk) 02:53, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, this argument typically falls on deaf ears. Regardless of the fact that the majority of English speakers speak US English, and that the US is a Europe-sized union of semiindependent states and diverse cultures, UK English speakers on Wikipedia often seem to care only that the US is one "country", and treat Standard American English usage as a "regionalism" (this is especially frustrating when SAE agrees with other major English dialects, but the Standard British English is used anyway, as in Corn, which is at "maize" despite the fact that US, Canadian, and Australian English all agree it's "corn", and UK usage is mixed). I understand that there's resentment over perceived and actual US cultural imperialism, but it's often invoked where it doesn't actually belong.Elmo iscariot (talk) 17:35, 21 August 2008 (UTC)


I removed the following comment from the article: "The most important thing to remember when eating sherbet is not to sneeze! (It either goes up your nose and hurts, or half of the powder is blown down your front and around the room).". I do not believe that it bears any relevance to the article. If you think that it does, feel free to change it back. Ajwebb 19:41, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Turkish origin?[edit]

I heard (from a traveller) that sherbet is a Turkish word (derived from Arabic). See Sorbet. Something about the origin of the word could be copied from Sorbet, if accurate?

Also that in times past wealthy or high status Turkish people would set up a kiosk (another Turkish word, it was said) to give out free sherbet. --Singkong2005 04:50, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Additional Pop culture reference?[edit]

In early episodes of The Goodies (BBC comedy show) Bill Oddie's character gets high on lemon-flavoured sherbert. (The powder-with-straw kind). I'll write some words on this for the pop-culture section. I can't see anyone will mind. Or notice. :) Jodievdw 22:11, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Australian spelling (and slang)[edit]

I've just had a quick check in the Macquarie Dictionary and the preferred (and only) spelling is "sherbet" . There's a "see also" to "sorbet" for the frozen dessert definition. But there is no word spelled "sherbeRt". Taking this into consideration I'd be surprised if it's ever spelled with the second R in New Zealand but perhaps a New Zealander could confirm and make the change, if necessary. (Also, referencing above discussion on slang for beer, it is listed in the Macquarie Dictionary as being a colloquilism for beer.) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:18, 15 May 2007 (UTC).

Comparison to pop rocks[edit]

Sherbet is nothing like pop rocks. Pop rocks contain the carbon dioxide under pressure, sherbet produces it through a chemical reaction. Liam Markham 21:22, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

I'm with you, I'm gonna be bold and remove that.Mad031683 17:56, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Derbyshire slang[edit]

When I was young in 'forties and 'fifties Derbyshire Sherbert was known as "Kali Powder". Being drunk was often known jokingly as "being kalied" Chevin 15:03, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Fizzy Powder or traditional cold drink?[edit]

The intro says: "This article is about the fizzy powder. For other uses, see Sherbet (disambiguation).". In "Ingredients" it is clearly stated that the article concerns the fizzy powder.

Why then does the article begin "Sherbet (Turkish: Şerbet) in Turkey is a traditional cold drink prepared with..." ? Can someone please help. Recently we discussed this re the German Brausepulver, and User:Obersachse created the new article Sherbet_(powder), which is probably redundant to Sherbet. --Awilms (talk) 10:18, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

If Sherbet means two different things, there should probably be two articles.--Michig (talk) 10:42, 16 November 2008 (UTC)


Merge Sherbet (powder)[edit]

Sherbet (powder) went through an AfD in November which was closed as "no consensus to delete" when there was some consensus to merge it into Sherbet. However nothing more seems to have been done, so I'm tagging them accordingly. Andy Dingley (talk) 23:09, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

As Michig said "If Sherbet means two different things, there should probably be two articles." I think, Sherbet does mean two different things. --Obersachse (talk) 09:57, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


Since it's not going to be deleted, I've put the disambiguation as the main page for sherbet.--Farry (talk) 17:24, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

The separate articles hangs together better now, but it leaves the references to the slang and historical meaning sherbet=alcohol in this article. Not quite sure what to do about that.--Farry (talk) 18:14, 6 April 2009 (UTC)


As a Northern Britisher, who specifically looked up this page for a comparision between Sherbert and Kali, I think there is a distinction between the two.

Sherbert is a powder and Kali is Crystals (for example "Rainbow Crystals").

I cannot cite this, and indeed certain sweet shop websites do seem to use the terms interchangeably, but I am sure I am right! (talk) 10:35, 29 May 2009 (UTC)


The photo is no longer relevant since it depicts the drink sherbet, not the sweet. (talk) 22:26, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Flying saucers[edit]

"citation needed" on flying saucers using rice paper as edible paper. The package I bought today as well as the following link: only show maize starch as ingredient but not rice, thus it seems more likely that the shell is edible paper made out of maize starch. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:47, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Correction requested[edit]

Both sherbet and kali may be fizzy. The above is incorrect. I was brought up in Bolton (now in Greater Manchester), and I can assure you that kali, being flavoured granulated sugar, is never fizzy.

Decorator functions

Sherbet is incorporated into other sweets. For example it is used to give gum based sweets an interesting surface texture and zing (notably cola bottles, fruit strips). The above here is also incorrect since fruit strips and fizzy cola bottles also employ granulated sugar. Sheogorath (talk) 18:53, 19 July 2014 (UTC)