Green’s Dictionary of Slang

gawdelpus n.

[SE excl. God help us!]

1. (also gordelpus) an impoverished labourer [‘from his ordinary excl. “Gordelpus – what’s a cove to do?”’ (Ware)].

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 145/1: Gordelpus (Street). A ‘starver,’ or casual, who has obtained this name from his ordinary exclamation – ‘Gordelpus (God help us) what’s a cove ter do!’.

2. (also Gawd-help-us) an irritating or helpless person; often used of a child, e.g. You ’orrible little gawdelpus! [unstated is ‘what shall we do about you?’].

[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 151: You deliberately assert that you loved that weird Gawd-help-us?
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 37: She is the sloppiest, mushiest, sentimentalist young Gawd-help-us.

3. a generally miserable looking person.

[UK]A.N. Lyons Arthur’s 112: Standin’ there with your toes turned in like two-penn’orth of Gawdelpus!
[UK](con. WW1) P. MacDonald Patrol 85: ‘We’re all layin’ rahnd like a lot o’ lumps o’ Gawd-’elp-us tied up ugly . . . We do look ’appy!’.
[US]Piqua Dly Call (OH) 22 Apr. 4/8: To continue our Aussie Double-Talk list [...] Threepen’orth of god help us: a useless person.