Coffee Break Shorts: Origin of the Species
It is not, as popularly thought, related to the Aboriginal word billabong. Billy is first recorded in the s. Burrows Adventures of a Mounted Trooper in the Australain Constabulary : A 'billy' is a tin vessel, something between a saucepan and a kettle, always black outside from being constantly on the fire, and looking brown inside from the quantity of tea that is generally to be seen in it. Billycart is a shortened form of the Australian term billy-goat cart which dates back to the s.
In earlier times the term applied to a small cart, often two-wheeled, that was pulled by a goat. These billycarts were used for such purposes as home deliveries, and they were also used in races. The term was then applied to any homemade go-cart. Billycart is recorded in the first decade of the 20th century.
Winton Cloudstreet : Bits of busted billycarts and boxes litter the place beneath the sagging clothesline. Any of several plants bearing barbed fruits, especially herbs of the widespread genus Calotis ; the fruit of these plants. Bindi-eye is oftened shortened to bindi , and can be spelt in several ways including bindy-eye and bindii. Bindi-eye is usually considered a weed when found in one's lawn. Many a child's play has been painfully interrupted by the sharp barbs of the plant which have a habit of sticking into the sole of one's foot.
Bindy-eye is first recorded in the s. A fight or skirmish; a collision. Bingle is perhaps from Cornish dialect bing 'a thump or blow'. Most other words derived from Cornish dialect in Australian English were originally related to mining, including fossick. The word is frequently used to refer to a car collision. Bingle is first recorded in the s.
Carr Surfie : There was this clang of metal on metal and both cars lurched over to the shoulder and we nearly went for a bingle. A mongrel. A dog or other animal which is made up of a bit of this and a bit of that. This meaning is common today, but when bitser first appeared in the s it referred to any contraption or vehicle that was made of spare parts, or had odd bits and pieces added. The small girl pondered.
My friends call him a "bitzer"', she replied. My favourite was a bitser named Sheila. The black stump of Australian legend first appears in the late 19th century, and is an imaginary marker at the limits of settlement. Anywhere beyond the black stump is beyond civilisation, deep in the outback, whereas something this side of the black stump belongs to the known world.
Although the towns of Blackall, Coolah and Merriwagga each claim to possess the original black stump , a single stump is unlikely to be the origin of this term. It is more probable that the burnt and blackened tree stumps, ubiquitous in the outback, and used as markers when giving directions to travellers is the origin - this sense of black stump is recorded from Tracks have been made, commencing nowhere and ending the same, roads have been constructed haphazard, bridges have been built that had no roads leading either to or from them, railways have terminated at the proverbial black stump.
Beyond the Black Stump. Not shown on the petrol station maps, even. A very unperceptive person; such a person as a type. This term often appears in the phrase even blind Freddy could see that. Although the term may not derive from an actual person, early commentators associate it with a blind Sydney character or characters. Australian lexicographer Sidney Baker wrote in that 'Legend has it that there was a blind hawker in Sydney in the s, named Freddy, whose blindness did not prevent his moving freely about the central city area'.
Other commentators suggest a character who frequented various Sydney sporting venues in the first decades of the 20th century could be the original Freddy. The term itself is first recorded in It applied to a person of great heart, who displayed courage, loyalty, and mateship. To defeat a competitor by a very small margin; to win narrowly. This verb derives from the noun blouse meaning 'the silk jacket worn by a jockey'. As the origin of this word would indicate, much of the evidence is from the sport of horseracing.
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For a detailed discussion of blouse see our Word of the Month article from November This word is a survival of British slang bludger , meaning 'a prostitute's pimp'. The word is ultimately a shortening of bludgeoner. A bludgeoner not surprisingly was a person who carried a bludgeon 'a short stout stick or club'.
It appears in a mid-nineteenth century English slang dictionary as a term for 'a low thief, who does not hesitate to use violence'. By the s the 'prostitute's pimp' sense of bludger is found in Australian sources. In the Sydney Slang Dictionary of bludgers are defined as 'plunderers in company with prostitutes'. Cornelius Crowe, in his Australian Slang Dictionary , defines a bludger as 'a thief who will use his bludgeon and lives on the gains of immoral women'.
Thus bludger came to mean 'one who lives on the earnings of a prostitute'. It retained this meaning until the midth century. From the early twentieth century it moved out to be a more general term of abuse, especially as applied to a person who appears to live off the efforts of others as a pimp lives on the earnings of a prostitute.
It was then used to refer to a person engaged in non-manual labour - a white-collar worker. This sense appears as early as , but its typical use is represented by this passage from D. Whitington's Treasure Upon Earth : '"Bludgers" he dubbed them early, because in his language anyone who did not work with his hands at a laboring job was a bludger'. And so it came to mean 'an idler, one who makes little effort'.
In the war newspaper Ack Ack News in we find: 'Who said our sappers are bludgers? Cleary in Just let me be writes: 'Everything I backed ran like a no-hoper. Four certs I had, and the bludgers were so far back the ambulance nearly had to bring 'em home'. And thence to 'a person who does not make a fair contribution to a cost, enterprise etc. Niland writes in The Shiralee : 'Put the nips into me for tea and sugar and tobacco in his usual style. The biggest bludger in the country'. In J. O'Grady writes: 'When it comes to your turn, return the "shout".
Otherwise the word will spread that you are a "bludger", and there is no worse thing to be'. The term dole bludger i. From the following year we have a citation indicating a reaction to the use of the term: Cattleman Rockhampton 'Young people are being forced from their country homes because of a lack of work opportunities and the only response from these so-called political protectors is to label them as dole bludgers'.
Throughout the history of the word, most bludgers appear to have been male. The term bludgeress made a brief appearance in the first decade of this century - 'Latterly, bludgers, so the police say, are marrying bludgeresses' Truth 27 September - but it was shortlived.
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The word bluey in Australian English has a variety of meanings. The most common is the swag i. There's the everlasting swaggie with his bluey on his back who is striking out for sunset on the Never-never track. Goodge, Hits! The association of the swaggie and his bluey continues in more recent evidence for the term:. A swaggie suddenly appeared out of the bush, unshaven, with wild, haunted eyes, his bluey and billycan on his back. Cross, George and Widda-Woman That bluey is later transferred to luggage in general, is perhaps not surprising in an urban society which romanticises its 'bush' tradition:.
Canberra Times 19 Nov. The word has been used to denote another item of clothing - denim working trousers or overalls - but the citation evidence indicates the last citation being that this usage is no longer current. More familiar is the use of bluey to describe a summons, especially for a traffic offence originally printed on blue paper :.
Perhaps the most Australian use of bluey is the curious use of it to describe a red-headed person first recorded in :. Paterson, Shearer's Colt : 'Bluey', as the crowd called him, had found another winner. All red-haired men are called 'Bluey' in Australia for some reason or other. Conquest, Dusty Distances : I found out later that he was a native of New South Wales, called ' Bluey because of his red hair - typical Australian logic.
A more literal use of bluey in Australian English is its application to fauna whose names begin with blue and which is predominantly blue in colour:. Ornithologists refer to them as some species of wood swallow They're all 'blueys' to us. There are two senses of the word bodgie in Australian English, both probably deriving from an earlier now obsolete word bodger.
The obsolete bodger probably derives from British dialect bodge 'to work clumsily'. In Australian English in the s and s bodger meant: 'Something or occasionally someone which is fake, false, or worthless'. The noun was also used adjectivally. Typical uses:. Hardy, Power without Glory : This entailed the addition of as many more 'bodger' votes as possible. Baker, The Australian Language : An earlier underworld and Army use of bodger for something faked, worthless or shoddy.
For example, a faked receipt or false name.. The word bodger was altered to bodgie , and this is now the standard form:. White, Silent Reach : This heap is hot - else why did they give it a one-coat spray job over the original white duco and fix it with bodgie number plates? In the s another sense of bodgie arose. The word was used to describe a male youth, distinguished by his conformity to certain fashions of dress and larrikin behaviour; analogous to the British 'teddy boy':.
This sense of bodgie seems to be an abbreviation of the word bodger with the addition of the -ie -y suffix. Mr Hewett says his research indicates that the term 'bodgie' arose around the Darlinghurst area in Sydney. It was just after the end of World War II and rationing had caused a flourishing black market in American-made cloth. This sense of bodgie belongs primarily to the s, but bodgie in the sense 'fake, false, inferior, worthless' is alive and flourishing in Australian English.
An uncultured and unsophisticated person; a boorish and uncouth person. The early evidence is largely confined to teenage slang. Some lexicographers have suspected that the term may derive from the Bogan River and district in western New South Wales, but this is far from certain, and it seems more likely to be an unrelated coinage.
The term became widespread after it was used in the late s by the fictitious schoolgirl 'Kylie Mole' in the television series The Comedy Company. In the Daily Telegraph 29 November , in an article headed 'Same name a real bogan', a genuine schoolgirl named Kylie Mole 'reckons it really sux' " [i. Someone who wears their socks the wrong way or has the same number of holes in both legs of their stockings.
A complete loser'. The earliest evidence we have been able to find for the term is in the surfing magazine Tracks September 'So what if I have a mohawk and wear Dr Martens boots for all you uninformed bogans? The term has also generated a number of other terms including bogan chick , boganhood , and cashed-up bogan CUB.
She had a quiet, middle-class upbringing in Box Hill, attending a private girls' school. Our geographic reach is flexible; residents of Taree and like communities, for example, may readily qualify for Boganhood, usually with little or no burdensome paperwork. Affectionate, even I'm a bogan because I'm overweight. For further discussions of bogan see our Word of the Month article from Novemeber , and a article 'Bogan: from Obscurity to Australia's most productive Word' in our newsletter Ozwords.
To swim or bathe. Bogey is a borrowing from the Aboriginal Sydney Language. The earliest records show the term being used in the pidgin English of Aborigines:. Bogie d'oway. These were Colby's words on coming out of the water. Dawson, Present State of Australia : 'Top bit, massa, bogy,' bathe and he threw himself into the water.
Yes, said Mr Dixon, any two of ye that can swim. Harris, Settlers and Convicts : In the cool of the evening had a 'bogie' bathe in the river. Flory was much puzzled till she found out that a 'bogey', in colonial phraseology, meant a bath. Mackenzie, Aurukun Diary : A bogey is the Queensland outback word for a bath or bathe. A bogey hole is a 'swimming or bathing hole'. The verb is rare now in Australian English. For an earlier discussion of bogey see our Word of the Month article from February A wave that forms over a submerged offshore reef or rock, sometimes in very calm weather or at high tide merely swelling but in other conditions breaking heavily and producing a dangerous stretch of broken water.
The word is now commonly used for the reef or rock itself. Horrobin Guide to Favourite Australian Fish ed. Bombora probably derives from the Aboriginal Sydney Language where it may have referred specifically to the current off Dobroyd Head, Port Jackson. Used allusively to refer to a hasty departure or speedy action.
Bondi is the Sydney suburb renowned worldwide for its surf beach. Trams last ran on the line in , but the phrase has remained a part of Australian English. Bonzer is an adjective meaning 'surpassingly good, splendid, great'.
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In the early records the spelling bonzer alternates with bonser , bonza , and bonzor. The adjective, noun, and adverb are all recorded from the early years of the 20th century:. Yuong Jack Hansen undertook to sit him but failed at every attempt. Jack states he got a 'bonza on the napper', at one time when thrown. Cable By Blow and Kiss : Came back grinning widely, with the assurance that it [ sc. A fool or simpleton; a stupid person; an uncouth person.
Boofhead derives from buffle-headed 'having a head like a buffalo' OED and bufflehead 'a fool, blockhead, stupid fellow' OED. Bufflehead has disappeared from standard English, but survives in its Australian form boofhead. It was popularised by the use of boofhead as the name of a dimwitted comic strip character invented by R. Clark and introduced in the Sydney Daily Mail in May For an earlier discussion of the word see our Word of the Month article from December We get their boofheads so they can have ours.
Boomerang is an Australian word which has moved into International English. The word was borrowed from an Aboriginal language in the early years of European settlement, but the exact language is still uncertain. Early evidence suggests it was borrowed from a language in, or just south of, the Sydney region. While the spelling boomerang is now standard, in the early period the word was given a variety of spellings: bomerang , bommerang , bomring , boomereng , boomering , bumerang [etc]. The Australian Aboriginal boomerang is a crescent-shaped wooden implement used as a missile or club, in hunting or warfare, and for recreational purposes.
The best-known type of boomerang , used primarily for recreation, can be made to circle in flight and return to the thrower. Although boomerang -like objects were known in other parts of the world, the earliest examples and the greatest diversity of design is found in Australia. A specimen of a preserved boomerang has been found at Wyrie Swamp in South Australia and is dated at 10, years old.
Boomerangs were not known throughout the entirety of Australia, being absent from the west of South Australia, the north Kimberley region of Western Australia, north-east Arnhem Land, and Tasmania. In some regions boomerangs are decorated with designs that are either painted or cut into the wood. Very early in Australian English the term boomerang was used in transferred and figurative senses, especially with reference to something which returns to or recoils upon its author. These senses are now part of International English, but it is interesting to look at the earliest Australian evidence for the process of transfer and figurative use:.
By the s the verbal sense developed another meaning: 'to return in the manner of a boomerang; to recoil upon the author ; to ricochet'. Australia's a big country An' Freedom's humping bluey And Freedom's on the wallaby Oh don't you hear her Cooee, She's just begun to boomerang She'll knock the tyrants silly. On 13 November the Canberra Times reported that 'Greg Chappell's decision to send England in appeared to have boomeranged'.
These verbal senses of boomerang have also moved into International English. For a further discussion of boomerang see the article 'Boomerang, Boomerang, Thou Spirit of Australia! The phrase is first recorded in the s. A tax avoidance scheme. In the late s a large number of bottom of the harbour schemes were operating in corporate Australia. The term is usually used attributively. Hyland Diamond Dove : The feller in the dock was some fabulous creature - part lawyer, part farmer - who'd been caught in a bottom-of-the-harbour tax avoidance scheme.
An employee responsible for maintaining the outer fences on a station, or a publicly owned vermin-proof fence. This sense of boundary rider is recorded from the s but in more recent years, as a result of changes in technology and modes of transport, this occupation has become relatively rare. Since the s the term has been used of a boundary umpire in Australian Rules Football, a cricketer in a fielding position near the boundary, and a roving reporter at a sporting game. For a more detailed discussion of the original sense of boundary rider and the later sporting senses see our Word of the Month article from December McGinnis Tracking North : Mechanisation had finally reached the open-range country.
There were no more pumpers or boundary riders. Be the unlikely winner of an event; to win an event coming from well behind. For a detailed discussion of this phrase see our blog 'Doing a Bradbury: an Aussie term born in the Winter Olympics' which includes a video of Bradbury's famous win , and our Word of the Month article from August The Socceroos need some of that luck. The practice of improperly increasing the membership of a local branch of a political party in order to ensure the preselection of a particular candidate.
The term is a specific use of branch meaning 'a local division of a political party'. While the practice described by branch stacking has been around for a very long time, the word itself is first recorded in the s. Leaving immediately; making a hasty departure; at full speed. It is likely that this expression was first used in horseracing to refer to a horse that moved very quickly out of the starting gates. Bray Blossom : 'Come on youse blokes! First sign of a better offer and they are off like a bride's nightie. An invitation to bring a plate of food to share at a social gathering or fundraiser.
There are many stories of new arrivals in Australia being bamboozled by the instruction to bring a plate. As the locals know, a plate alone will not do. In earlier days the request was often ladies a plate , sometimes followed by gentlemen a donation. Ladies bring a plate. Please bring a plate. All welcome. A wild horse. The origin for this term is still disputed. Curr in Australian Race gives booramby meaning 'wild' in the language of the Pitjara or Pidjara or Bidjara people of the region at the headwaters of the Warrego and Nogoa Rivers in south-western Queensland.
This is in the general location of the earliest evidence, but the language evidence has not been subsequently confirmed. This origin was popularised by Paterson in an introduction to his poem 'Brumby's run' printed in A common suggestion is that brumby derives from the proper name Brumby. This theory was also noted by E. Morris in Austral English in 'A different origin was, however, given by an old resident of New South Wales, to a lady of the name Brumby, viz. Over the years, various Messrs Brumby have been postulated as the origin. More recently, Dymphna Lonergan suggested that the word comes from Irish word bromaigh , the plural form of the word for a young horse, or colt.
McGinnis Wildhorse Creek : The country's rotten with brumbies. A forlorn hope; no prospect whatever. One explanation for the origin of the term is that it comes from the name of the convict William Buckley, who escaped from Port Phillip in and lived for 32 years with Aboriginal people in southern Victoria. A second explanation links the phrase to the Melbourne firm of Buckley and Nunn established in , suggesting that a pun developed on the 'Nunn' part of the firm's name with 'none' and that this gave rise to the formulation 'there are just two chances, Buckley's and none'.
This second explanation appears to have arisen after the original phrase was established. For an earlier discussion about the origin of the term buckley's chance see the article 'Buckley's' in our Ozwords newsletter. It should have been Buckley. Olympus explains that he altered it because he didn't want the Fitzroy men to have 'Buckley's chance'. A pair of close-fitting male swimming briefs made of stretch fabric.
The Australian term is probably a variation of the international English grape smugglers for such a garment. The term is a jocular allusion to the appearance of the garment. Budgie smugglers is first recorded in the late s. For a more detailed discussion of the word see our Word of the Month article from December That, and a thin pair of Speedos so figure-hugging you can see every goosebump - flimsy togs that are known not-all-that-affectionately by us Brown boys as budgie smugglers! A kind of fine powdery dirt or dust, often found in inland Australia.
Roads or tracks covered with bulldust may be a hazard for livestock and vehicles, which can become bogged in it. It is probably called bulldust because it resembles the soil trampled by cattle in stockyards. The word can also be used as a polite way of saying bullshit.
Both senses of the word are first recorded in the s. This 'bull' dust might be about two feet deep, and cakes on the surface, so that it is hard to penetrate. I told him that nothing would get within a 'bull's roar' of Agricolo to interfere with him, and such was the case. The term is often found in this phrasal form where it now has several meanings: 'to be financially bankrupt, to come to nought; to fail, to collapse, to break down'. These figurative senses of bung emerged in the late 19th century. An amphibious monster supposed to inhabit inland waterways. Descriptions of it vary greatly.
Some give it a frightful human head and an animal body. Many descriptions emphasise its threat to humans and its loud booming at night. It inhabits inland rivers, swamps, and billabongs. The word comes from the Aboriginal Wathaurong language of Victoria. Bunyip is first recorded in the s.
For a more detailed discussion of this word see the article 'There's a Bunyip Close behind us and he's Treading on my Tail' in our Ozwords newsletter. Venture an attempt; give something a try. This is an Australian alteration of the standard English phrase give it a whirl. Give it a burl is first recorded in the early years of the 20th century.
We'll give it a burl, eh? We wanted to give it a burl and see how it went. We'd do it again. What do you think this is, bush week? These senses of bush week go back to the early 20th century. The phrase originally implied the notion that people from the country are easily fooled by the more sophisticated city slickers. The speaker resents being mistaken for a country bumpkin. Glassop Lucky Palmer : I get smart alecks like you trying to put one over on me every minute of the day. What do you think this is? Bush Week? Murray Goodbye Lullaby : They had already been warned about the breastfeeding business Beat it, you two!
The act or process of criticising the Australian Government and its bureaucracy. Canberra , the capital of Australia, has been used allusively to refer to the Australian Government and its bureaucracy since the s. The term Canberra bashing emerged in the s, and is also applied in criticisms of the city itself. For a more detailed discussion of the term see our Word of the Month article from February Politicians on both sides have shown a willingness to put the boot into a national capital. In a political context a decision made by a party leader etc. This term also takes the form captain's call.
Captain's pick is derived from sporting contexts in which a team captain has the discretion to choose members of the team. The political sense emerged in Australian English in For a more detailed discussion of this term see our Word of the Month article from January To die; to break down; to fail. Also spelt kark , and often taking the form cark it.
The word is probably a figurative use of an earlier Australian sense of cark meaning 'the caw of a crow', which is imitative. Beilby Gunner : 'That wog ya roughed up - well, he karked. A derogatory term for a person who espouses left-wing views but enjoys an affluent lifestyle. It is modelled on the originally British term, champagne socialist , which has a similar meaning. The term chardonnay socialist appeared in the s, not long after the grape variety Chardonnay became very popular with Australian wine drinkers.
Williamson Emerald City : I'm going to keep charting their perturbations.. A checkout operator at a supermarket. This term usually refers to female checkout operators hence chick , an informal word for a young woman , but with changes in the gender makeup of the supermarket workforce the term is occasionlly applied to males. Checkout chick is first recorded in the s. For a more detailed discussion of the term see our Word of the Month article from May A domestic fowl; a chicken.
Chook is the common term for the live bird, although chook raffles , held in Australian clubs and pubs, have ready-to-cook chooks as prizes. The term has also been transferred to refer to other birds, and often in the form old chook it can refer to a woman. See our Word of the Month articles 'chook run' and 'chook lit' for further uses of chook. Was he looking after the housemaid or the little chookies?
A jocular curse. This expression recalls an earlier time when many Australians kept chooks domestic chickens in the backyard and the dunny was a separate outhouse. Although I must say this is a very cunning, contrived piece of legislation, if that is what they set out to do. May their chooks turn into emus and kick their dunnies down. To vomit. Chunder possibly comes from a once-popular cartoon character, 'Chunder Loo of Akim Foo', drawn by Norman Lindsay for a series of boot polish advertisements in the early s. It is possible that 'Chunder Loo' became rhyming slang for spew.
Chunder , however, is the only form to be recorded. The earliest evidence is associated with Australian troops in action to the north of Australia during the Second World War. Makes you chunda. Something that is largely illusory or exists in name only; a poor substitute or imitation. For a more detailed discussion of the word see our blog 'The evolution of a word - the case of Clayton's'.
Pung Growing up Asian in Australia : My bikini top is crammed so full of rubbery 'chicken fillets' I'd probably bounce if you threw me. These Clayton's breasts jiggle realistically when I jump up and down on the spot. An unbranded animal. In the pastoral industry an animal that has not been branded with a mark identifying the owner can easily be stolen or lost. The word is first recorded in the s. There are several transferred and figurative senses of cleanskin that evolved from the orgininal sense. In the first decade of the 20th century cleanskin began to be used to describe 'an Aboriginal person who has not passed through an initiation rite'.
From the s cleanskin was also used of 'a bottle of wine without a label that identifies the maker, sold at a price cheaper than comparable labelled bottles; the wine in such a bottle'. Keenan The Horses too are Gone : In the rangelands an unbranded calf becomes a cleanskin and cleanskins belong to the first person capable of planting a brand on the rump. A friend, a companion. It is likely that these terms, as well as cobber , found their way into London slang especially from the Jewish population living in the East End , and from there, via British migrants, into Australian English.
Cobber , now somewhat dated, is rarely used by young Australians. A small-scale farmer; in later use often applied to a substantial landowner or to the rural interest generally. Cocky arose in the s and is an abbreviation of cockatoo farmer. This was then a disparaging term for small-scale farmers, probably because of their habit of using a small area of land for a short time and then moving on, in the perceived manner of cockatoos feeding. A person sentenced in the British Isles to a term of penal servitude in an Australian Colony.
The foundations of European settlement in Australia are based on the transportation of tens of thousands of prisoners from the British Isles. While in America convict is still used to refer to a prisoner, in Australia it is now largely historical. For a further discussion of this word see our blog 'A long lost convict: Australia's "C-word"? Angas Description of the Barossa Range : No convicts are transported to this place, for South Australia is not a penal colony. Originally a call used by an Aboriginal person to communicate with someone at a distance; later adopted by settlers and now widely used as a signal, especially in the bush; a name given to the call.
The iconic call of the Australian bush comes from the Aboriginal Sydney language word gawi or guwi meaning 'come here'. Cooee is recorded from the early years of European settlement in Sydney. It is often found in the phrase within cooee meaning 'within earshot; within reach, near'. Cunningham Two Years in New South Wales : In calling to each other at a distance, the natives make use of the word Coo-ee , as we do the word Hollo , prolonging the sound of the coo , and closing that of the ee with a shrill jerk.
Lambert Watermen : If I ever see you within coo-ee of my boat again, I'll drown you. The word is a borrowing from Yuwaaliyaay and neighbouring languages , an Aboriginal language of northern New South Wales. In the earlier period it was was spelt in various ways, including coolabah , coolobar , and coolybah. It is term for any of several eucalypts, especially the blue-leaved Eucalyptus microtheca found across central and northern Australia, a fibrous-barked tree yielding a durable timber and occurring in seasonally flooded areas.
Coolibah is first recorded in the s. Bad, unpleasant or unsatisfactory: Things were crook on the land in the seventies. Crook means bad in a general sense, and also in more specific senses too: unwell or injured a crook knee , and dishonest or illegal he was accused of crook dealings. All senses are recorded from the s.
Pratt Wolaroi's Cup : Most stables.. Clune Roaming Round the Darling : My cobber, here, used to sing in opera. He's a pretty crook singer, but he'll sing for you. Used to indicate the need for a rest in order to settle down, solve a problem, etc. The phrase now often with some variations was originally the title of a a revue at the Phillip Street Theatre in Sydney Not anymore. A native-born Australian. These terms are now obsolete. These were called currency. An unfashionable person; a person lacking style or character; a socially awkward adolescent, a 'nerd'.
These senses of dag derive from an earlier Australian sense of dag meaning 'a "character", someone eccentric but entertainingly so'. Ultimately all these senses of dag are probably derived from the British dialect especially in children's speech sense of dag meaning a 'feat of skill', 'a daring feat among boys', and the phrase to have a dag at meaning 'to have a shot at'. Dag referring to an unfashionable person etc. Never ever wear a striped suit, a striped shirt and a striped tie together - just dreadful You look like a real dag.
Hurry up, get a move on. When a daggy sheep runs, the dried dags knock together to make a rattling sound. The word dag originally daglock was a British dialect word that was borrowed into mainstream Australian English in the s. Thorne Battler : C'mon Mum, rattle yer dags - the old girls are hungry! To pull down or remove the trousers from a person as a joke or punishment. Dak derives from another Australian term daks meaning 'a pair of trousers'. The term is first recorded from the early s but is probably much older than that.
For a more detailed discussion of dak see our Word of the Month article from July His family didn't know about it until he was dacked during a game this year. A simple kind of bread, traditionally unleavened and baked in the ashes of an outdoor fire. Because it was the most common form of bread for bush workers in the nineteenth century, to earn your damper means to be worth your pay.
Bisley Stillways : We made damper out of flour and water, squeezed it around green sticks to cook over the coals. A commemorative ceremony held at dawn on Anzac Day.
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Anzac Day, April 25, is a national public holiday in Australia commemorating all those who have served and died in war. While commemorative services have been held on April 25 since , the term dawn service is not recorded until the s. The didgeridoo is a wind instrument that was originally found only in Arnhem Land in northern Australia. It is a long, wooden, tubular instrument that produces a low-pitched, resonant sound with complex, rhythmic patterns but little tonal variation.
In popular understanding many Australians probably believe that this is an Aboriginal word. Subsequent research has cast doubt on this etymology, and in the following statement was made in Australian Aboriginal Words in English : 'Although it has been suggested that this must be a borrowing from an Australian language it is not one. The name probably evolved from white people's ad hoc imitation of the sound of the instrument'. This argument is supported by two of the earliest pieces of evidence for the term:. It produces but one sound - 'didjerry, didjerry, didjerry -' and so on ad infinitum.
First recorded in this sense It came to France when the sandgropers gave up digging on the goldfields of W. They include a major who planned an 'unprecedented operation' to capture a rogue Afghan sergeant who murdered three Australian diggers. Reliable; genuine; honest; true. This word is a shortening of fair dinkum which comes from British dialect.
The adjective is first recorded in Australia from the s. For a more detailed discussion of dinkum see the article 'The Story of Dinkum' on our blog. The starting point is to make the debate more dinkum. The phrase was first recorded in This may give a clue to the source of the phrase. If you are done like a dinner , you are completely and efficiently demolished. Bride Letters from Victorian Pioneers : The horse swam for a quarter of a mile down the river with the cart after him.. To inform upon someone ; to incriminate someone. The word is probably related to British dialect dob meaning 'to put down an article heavily or clumsily; to throw down', and 'to throw stones etc.
Dob is first recorded in the s. For a more detailed discussion of this term see the article 'The Story of Dob' on our blog. Bisley Stillways : He used to sell single cigarettes to kids, and although it was common knowledge, he had never been busted and no one ever dobbed on him. This example illustrates the way the origins of words and phrases can be lost with changes in technology. The expression has several variants including fed up to dolly's wax , and its meaning does not always denote being 'full' with food.
First recorded in the early 20th century. And I am fed up to dolly's wax with them. In a preferential system of voting a vote recorded by allocating preferences according to the order in which candidates' names appear on the ballot paper; such votes viewed collectively. First recorded in the early midth century.
In South Australia this vote - the 'donkey vote' - will go to the Anti-Communists. A parliamentary question asked of a Minister by a member of the party in government to give the Minister the opportunity to deliver a prepared reply. It comes from Dorothy Dix , the pen-name of Elizabeth Gilmer , an American journalist who wrote a famous personal advice column which was syndicated in Australia.
Her column came to seem a little too contrived, as if she was writing the questions as well as the answers. For a discussion about the use of Dorothy Dixer in rhyming slang see the article 'Dorothies and Michelles' in our Ozwords newsletter. One of those came from Mr Hutchin, and there were cries of 'Dorothy Dix' when he asked it When a Minister is anxious to make some information available, or to answer some outside criticism, he will often get a private member to ask a question on the subject.
And it was not her husky voice or hair or makeup that stopped traffic, but the rows and rows of pearls.. In traditional Aboriginal belief a collection of events beyond living memory that shaped the physical, spiritual, and moral world; the era in which these occurred; an Aboriginal person's consciousness of the enduring nature of the era. The term also takes the form dreaming. Dreamtime is a translation of alcheringa - a word from the Arrernte Aboriginal language of the Alice Springs region in central Australia. Attenborough Quest Under Capricorn : Although the Dreamtime was in the past, it is also co-existent with the present, and a man, by performing the rituals, can become one with his 'dreaming' and experience eternity.
It is to seek this mystical union that the men enact the ceremonies. A fool, a simpleton, an idiot. There is also a bird called a drongo. The spangled drongo is found in northern and eastern Australia, as well as in the islands to the north of Australia, and further north to India and China. It is called a drongo because that is the name of a bird from the same family in northern Madagascar. The spangled drongo is not a stupid bird.
It is not a galah. One book describes it thus: 'The spangled drongo catches insects in the air, chasing them in aerobatic flight'. There is one odd story about the drongo, however: unlike most migratory birds, it appears to migrate to colder regions in winter.
Some have suggested that this is the origin of the association of 'stupidity' with the term drongo. But this seems most unlikely. So what is the true story? There was an Australian racehorse called Drongo during the early s. It seems likely that he was named after the bird called the 'drongo'. He often came very close to winning major races, but in 37 starts he never won a race. In a writer in the Melbourne Argus comments: 'Drongo is sure to be a very hard horse to beat.
He is improving with every run'. But he never did win. Soon after the horse's retirement it seems that racegoers started to apply the term to horses that were having similarly unlucky careers. In the s it was applied to recruits in the Royal Australian Air Force. It has become part of general Australian slang. Buzz Kennedy, writing in The Australian newspaper in , defines a drongo thus:. A drongo is a simpleton but a complicated one: he is a simpleton [of the] sort who not only falls over his feet but does so at Government House; who asks his future mother-in-law to pass-the-magic-word salt the first time the girl asks him home In an emergency he runs heroically in the wrong direction.
If he were Superman he would get locked in the telephone box. He never wins. So he is a drongo. The origin of the term was revived at Flemington in when a Drongo Handicap was held. Only apprentice jockeys were allowed to ride. The horses entered were not allowed to have won a race in the previous twelve months. Goode Through the Farm Gate : I can't believe my drongo of a father is asking such ridiculous questions.
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A jocular name for an imaginary animal similar in appearance to a koala, with very sharp jaws and teeth, that is said to devour tourists etc. The term is often associated with the fooling of gullible international tourists, and has accordingly been used this way in television advertisements. There are suggestions that the term drop bear emerged in the Second World War period see quotation below but the first record is from the s.
Keesing Lily on a Dustbin : The 'drop bears' are creatures of a tall story - they were invented during World War II for the benefit of gullible American servicemen. It is alleged that 'drop bears' are a dangerous kind of koala and that they drop out of trees on the heads and shoulders of bush walkers and hug them to death. Colbert The Ranch : The other Harry has got a head like a drover's dog and always wears a hat. Courtenay: We'd heard Nancy say he'd come back like a drover's dog all prick and ribs. Look out - female approaching! A warning cry from a male as a signal to other men that a woman is approaching a traditionally all-male environment.
It is a reminder that the men should modify their language and behaviour to avoid giving offence. It was first used in shearing sheds, but is now heard in other places, especially in a pub. While the first written evidence comes from the early s the phrase probably goes back several decades earlier. Fatty Vautin and Peter Sterling reportedly held angry meetings with their producer declaring they would not speak to Wilson if she was hired.
A toilet. The dunny was originally any outside toilet. In cities and towns the pan-type dunny was emptied by the dunny man , who came round regularly with his dunny cart. Dunny can now be used for any toilet. First recorded in the s but dunnekin is attested in Australian sources from the s.
To subject a person to a torrent of words; to talk at great length to; to harangue. While not a physical beating of the ears, most people can sympathise with a person who has sustained a long taking to an ear-bashing by a boring or obnoxious windbag an earbasher. The verb is first recorded from the s, and possibly comes from Australian military slang of the Second World War period.
Most Australians are surprised to discover that this is an Australian term. First recorded from the s. The ALP contains many influential spokesmen who advocate disengagement of governments from existing agricultural assistance measures.. The act or process of picking up litter; a group of people doing this; the act or process of searching an area of ground for something. This term developed out of an earlier verbal form recorded in the s , emu-bob , meaning 'to pick up pieces of timber, roots, etc. By the s the verb had developed a more specific sense: 'to pick up litter'.
By the s the verbal form had developed into the noun. A portable insulated container in which food and drink are kept cool. A common sight at barbecues, beaches, parks, and camping grounds in the summer months. The Esky Auto Box keeps drinks and food cold and fresh wherever you go.
Will fit in the boot of any car. Winton Dirt Music : They have a folding table and esky out here on the sand beside the fire. A prison for the confinement of female convicts. Also known as a female factory. The first such factory was established in at Parramatta in New South Wales. It was a place of punishment, a labour and marriage agency for the colony, and a profit-making textiles factory where women made convict clothing and blankets. There were eight other factories in the Australian convict settlements.
Australia often sees itself as an egalitarian society, the land of the fair go , where all citizens have a right to fair treatment. It is often used as an exclamation: fair go Kev, give the kids a turn! Sometimes it expresses disbelief: fair go—the tooth fairy? For further discussion of this term see the article 'Australia - the land of the fair go' on our blog. Both men turned pale, but struggled, calling out, 'Read the warrants to us first'. Inspector Ahern said, 'You can hear them later', and the police seized the prisoners.
Both appealed to Mr. Ranking, crying out, 'Do you call this a fair go, Mr. Her baby brother sat on the floor eating the bits that fell off the table. Steady on, be reasonable. In Australian opposition leader Kevin Rudd famously used a variant of the phrase: 'fair shake of the sauce bottle'. Fair suck of the sauce bottle is first recorded in the s. For a further discussion of the origin of the phrase see the article 'Folk Etymology in Australian English' in our Ozwords newsletter.
As elsewhere, in Australia feral describes a domesticated animal that has gone wild. But in Australia the adjective has another meaning ' especially of a person wild, uncontrolled; unconventional; outside the conventional bounds of society; dirty, scruffy. Feral is also used as a noun to mean 'a person living outside the conventional bounds of society; a wild or uncontrolled person. The Australian senses of the adjective and noun are first recorded in the s. The women clashed with media crews and politicians in a series of well-documented incidents They were quite happy with the 'feral' tag.
They have invaded people's homes and maliciously destroyed victims' property. A firefighter. Firie follows a common pattern in Australian informal English whereby a word is abbreviated in this case firefighter or fireman and the -ie or -y suffix is added. Other examples include barbie a barbecue , Chrissy Christmas , and rellie a relative.
Firie is recorded from the s. Ostentatious, showy and a bit too flashily dressed. This phrase is usually used of a man, and implies that although he may be well-dressed and well-groomed, there is also something a bit dodgy about him. In spite of a superficial smartness, he is not to be trusted. In spite of the gold tooth, he is still a rat. Eddie is as flash as a rat with a gold tooth. McNab Dodger : What brought him unstuck were his brazen schemes and lavish lifestyle. He was as flash as a rat with a gold tooth.
Extremely busy, at top speed. The literal sense is to lie fully stretched out like a lizard , and the figurative sense means as fast as possible. The phrase also alludes to the rapid tongue-movement of a drinking lizard. Higher taxes were imposed on coffee, leading to a black-market-type situation of coffee consumption among the Swedes. But he also worried that these secret coffee meet-ups would lead to plans to overthrow the monarchy.
In an ironic twist, both twins outlived the doctors monitoring their health, and the king was assassinated in , prior to any results being revealed. Understandably, multiple failures of the ban resulted in its removal in the s, when coffee drinking skyrocketed. Nowadays, the Swedes generally take two fika breaks a day: once in the mid-morning, and again around 3 p.
The word fika actually derives from the 19th-century slang word for coffee, kaffi.