A lollipop is a type of confectionery consisting of a sweetmeat of hard candy or water-ice mounted on a stick and intended for sucking or licking. Different informal terms are used in different places, including lolly, sucker, sticky-pop, etc. Lollipops are available in many flavors and shapes.
Lollipops are available in a number of colors and flavors, particularly fruit flavors. With numerous companies producing lollipops, the candy now comes in dozens of flavors and many different shapes. They range from small ones which can be bought by the hundred and are often given away for free at banks, barbershops, and other locations, to very large ones made out of candy canes twisted into a circle.
Most lollipops are eaten at room temperature, but "ice lollipops" or "ice lollies" are frozen water-based lollipops. Similar confections on a stick made of ice cream, often with a flavored coating, are usually not called by this name.
Some lollipops contain fillings, such as bubble gum or soft candy. Some novelty lollipops have more unusual items, such as mealworm larvae, embedded in the candy. Other novelty lollipops have non-edible centers, such a flashing light, embedded within the candy; there is also a trend of lollipops with sticks attached to a motorized device that makes the entire lollipop spin around in one's mouth.
In the Nordic countries, Germany, and the Netherlands, some lollipops are flavored with salmiak.
Lollipops can be used to carry medicines.
Some lollipops have been marketed for use as diet aids, although their effectiveness is untested, and anecdotal cases of weight loss may be due to the power of suggestion. Flavored lollipops containing medicine are intended to give children medicine without fuss.
Actiq is a powerful analgesic lollipop whose active ingredient is fentanyl. This makes for fast action; the lollipop is used, for example, by the military, and is not a way to make medicine palatable to children.
The idea of an edible candy on a stick is very simple, and it is probable that the lollipop has been invented and reinvented numerous times. The history of the first lollipops in America appears to have been distorted over time. There is some speculation that lollipops were invented during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Others believe some version of the lollipop has been around since the early 1800s. George Smith claimed to be the first to invent the modern style lollipop in 1908 and trademarked the lollipop name in 1931. He used the idea of putting candy on a stick to make it easier to eat and reportedly named the treats after a popular racing horse, Lolly Pop. It initially referred to soft, rather than hard candy. The term may have derived from the term "lolly" (tongue) and "pop" (slap). The first references to the lollipop in its modern context date to the 1920s. Alternatively, it may be a word of Romany origin being related to the Roma tradition of selling toffee apples sold on a stick. Red apple in the Romany language is loli phaba.
The first confectioneries that closely resemble what we call lollipops date to the Middle Ages, when the nobility would often eat boiled sugar with the aid of sticks or handles. The invention of the modern lollipop is still something of a mystery but a number of American companies in the early 20th century have laid claim to it. According to the book Food For Thought: Extraordinary Little Chronicles of the World, they were invented by George Smith of New Haven, Connecticut, who started making large boiled sweets mounted on sticks in 1908. He named them after a racehorse of the time, Lolly Pop.
The term 'lollipop' was recorded by English lexicographer Francis Grose in 1796.