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The Australian National University

More additions to the Australian lexicographical record

James Lambert

A brief visit to Australian shores has allowed me to do a bit more research into Australian English and to find a few more tidbits of information that hopefully will find their way into Australian dictionaries.


accident n. (a child that is the result of) an unplanned pregnancy.

1887 Ada Cambridge The Perversity of Human Nature 145 ‘Like! I simply must have it, Robert. Nobody can ever care for it as I shall.’ ‘Then we will keep it,’ said Robert gladly. ‘And you are a noble woman, Lexie.’ ‘I noble! Don't mock me. I am the most wicked creature that ever lived.’ ‘I don't think so. We are none of us perfect, and accidents will happen. You never meant to do any harm. Are you sure you feel able to get up, my darling.’ ‘Yes - O yes; I must get up to see after that sweet child. I will put on my dressing gown only. And, Robert dear, let us have an early tea together to-night, shall we? We and the baby.’

1907 Henry Lawson Send Round the Hat ‘Send Round the Hat’ We’ll have some peace now. There won’t be so many accidents or women in trouble when the Giraffe and his blessed hat are gone.

1910 Henry Lawson The Rising of the Court ‘Mateship Shakespeare’ We’ll pass over the accident that happened to Caesar. Such accidents had happened to great and little Caesars hundreds of times before, and have happened many times since, and will happen until the end of time, both in “sport” (in plays) and in earnest.

1911 Louis Stone Jonah I.ii. 13 That was six months ago, and Ada had returned to the factory, where her disaster created no stir. Such accidents were common.

1934 Thomas Wood Cobbers xv. 174 ‘No; I’m an old maid.’ ‘Whose are the children?’ ‘Mine.’ ‘But I thought you said you’re an old maid?’ ‘So I am; but I’m not a fussy one.’ These are in the true Australian tradition. So are such happy accidents as the translation of ‘Rose, emue, repondit’ – ‘The pink emu laid again,’ and the little girl’s account of Sunday school.

1985 Lyn Richards Having Families xv. 271 We would have been content with two - the third one was an accident.

ibid. xv 269 ‘Accidents’ were therefore often half intended.

Notes: In OED 1932, but recorded earlier in Australia.


Australian dotterel n. the inland dotterel.

1931 Neville W. Cayley What bird Is That? (1935) 222 Australian Dotterel Peltohyas australis Gould.

1934 Henry G. Lamond An Aviary On The Plains i. 10 That’s a stone plover (Australian Dotterel).

1977 Reader’s Digest Complete Book of Australian Birds 178 When approached, Australian dotterels crouch on the ground[.]

Notes: AND has two citations (1843, 1964) for this under the adjectival use of Australian (def. 2). But does it need to be a separate definition? The general style of AND for other adjectival/attributive terms, such as native, mulga, bush, etc., is to give specific definitions, presumably where weight of citational evidence was convincing. In fact there are numerous types of flora and fauna that get prefixed with Australian (and Australasian) – many of these are “official common names” and refer to specific taxa, so it would be nice to see more of these given fuller treatment. Obviously such names change over time, many of them dropping out, but there is a tendency towards regularising these names by the various interest groups involved. However, going down this path would lead to an enormous amount of text and citations. The enormous size of the task can be demonstrated by looking at the current edition of the Macquarie Dictionary– for birds alone it includes the Australian brush turkey, bustard, chat, coot, courser, crake, fernwren, finch, frogmouth, goshawk, ground thrush, hobby, kestrel, king parrot, owlet-nightjar, pelican, pipit, pratincole, raven, ringneck, shelduck, shoveler, spotted crake, warbler, white ibis, wood duck, and the Australian wren. The Macquarie omits Australian dotterel since that term has now been replaced by inland dotterel. Nevertheless, if one is reading a text which includes the term Australian dotterel and they cannot turn to an Australian dictionary to find out what bird it refers to, then that is unfortunate. If dictionaries are to record flora and fauna, shouldn’t they be exhaustive? This is a constant bugbear of lexicography, and of course each dictionary has to inevitably strike a balance between practical considerations of time and money expenditure versus usefulness. See next entry.


Australian grey n. a member of any of the feral populations of the ostrich living around Port Augusta, SA; a grey-necked form possibly arising from hybridisation.

2000 Michael Morcombe Field Guide to Australian Birds 14 Australia’s feral population originated from releases made when ostrich farms were abandoned in the 1920s. Now known in the ostrich industry as the Australian Grey to distinguish it from recently imported African black, red-necked and blue-necked forms.

Notes: Not in AND. A term used in the ostrich trade. Thus, a technical term, outside the scope of the ordinary dictionary – relegated to specialist literature. Once again highlighting the extent of compounds beginning with Australian.


back off the map phr. to vigorously support (a horse, competitor, etc.).

[1933 Raymond Spargo Betting systems Analysed 86 Many times a candidate is backed ‘off the slate’, yet he doesn’t carry a penny of real stable money, except for an odd ‘appearance’ stake.]

1950 Frank Hardy Power Without Glory I. iv. 141 “All right, I'll risk it. I'll send agents to every capital city in Australia, and big country towns in Victoria. I'll back you off the map.”

1975 Frank Hardy & Athol George Mulley The Needy and the Greedy 16 A horse called Coffee was backed off the map.

1988 Clive Galea Slipper viii. 66 They waited a fortnight and at Canterbury in a far stronger field, they backed the beaten horse off the map.

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


battle v.i. to work as a prostitute.

1965 James Holledge The Call-girl in Australia vi. 88 ‘I’ve got six other girls all keeping me now. They are all battling from different hotels round the Cross.’

Notes: Postdating AND 1912.


bear-up n. an amorous approach. Also, as a vbl. n. bearing-up, and agent n. bearer-up.

1901 Henry Lawson Joe Wilson and His Mates 5 “She’s a regular little dumpling, and I like dumplings. They call her Possum. You ought to try a bear up in that direction, Joe.”

ibid. 157 In answer to the suggestion that she ought to have a man to knock round and look after things, she retorted that she had had one, and was perfectly satisfied. Few travellers on those tracks but tried “a bit of bear-up” in that direction, but all to no purpose.

1947 Norman Lindsay Halfway to Anywhere iii. 42 ‘Strength of it was old Ma Randal copped old Randal absolutely doing a bear up in that piece’s bed.’

ibid. vi. 100 ‘She's dead off blokes who do a bear-up with girls.’

ibid. viii. 127 It was not much of an event, but still one that showed decided improvement in Bill’s and Waldo’s technique of bearing-up.

ibid. xiii. 202 Aggrandized as a reckless beer boozer and bearer-up of tough tarts, you were brought to ignominy by homes and social conventions.

1974 Donald Stuart Prince of my Country 63 ‘Can you imagine old John doing a bear-up to a young dolly?’

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND. This charming and now obsolete bit of Aussie slang did make its way into the OED for a brief time. The first supplement of 1933 carried the Henry Lawson citation, but the new 1970s supplements discarded the term, presumably because of the paucity of evidence. The Norman Lindsay citations add some weight to the term’s former status – especially when it is remembered that Lindsay was attempting to record the language of his childhood and adolescence (c.1890—1905). I have not been able to track down any further evidence. Lindsay also provides citational evidence for an even more obscure, but related, term, namely bull up to approach with masculine bravado (in order to organise an amorous assignation); also as a noun, bull-up = bear-up.

1933 Norman Lindsay Saturdee xiii. 148 So Michael proved it after school by bulling up to Elsie Coote and saying truculently, `You an’ me’s doin’ a knock, so don’t you forget it.’

ibid. xviii. 205 ‘Go on Snow; now’s your chance to bull up and do a line with her,’ he said encouragingly.

1947 Norman Lindsay Halfway to Anywhere vi. 101 ‘What about me trying how it would go for a bull-up to Gertie Sparks?’

ibid. iii. 41 ‘Kids will bull up and do anything.’

ibid. iii. 47 ‘Aw, cripes, you just bull up and make a date with them to come for a walk some night.’


bog wagon n. a panel van or 4WD van; a ‘shagging wagon’.

1986 Colin Bowles G’DAY! 1 She comes across for some of Shane’s mates in the back of their bog wagons.

ibid. 4 bog wagon: a panel van with a dashboard lined with imitation fur. The back of the van is generally fully carpeted and even the most rusted-out model will have a top of the range stereo system with graphic equaliser and quadraphonic sound. There is always a mattress in the back. (Also, “shaggin wagon”.)

2006 Australian Motorcycle News xix. 23/3 The Landcruiser in front of me didn’t notice him and pulled out. The first I saw was the brake light silhouette the rear of the bike when the bog wagon cut him off and made him brake.
Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


bomb, had the phr. to be no good, ruined, exhausted, kaput.

1975 ‘Bluey’ Bush Contractors xxviii. 265 ‘The old winch has about had the bomb though it’s at its maximum pull.’

1986 Colin Bowles G’DAY! 9 MACKA: What about we try an con up those two tarts inner corner? SHANE: Nar, I’ve ad the bomb.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


brung v.t. colloquial past tense of bring.

[1903 ‘Tom Collins’ Such Is Life 10 ‘There was some Irish rascals at the pub. thonder, where we stapped las’ night; an’ wan word brung on another, an’ at long an' at last we fell to, so we did…’

1924 Mary Grant Bruce Back to Billabong [100] ‘I rose him from the aig meself,’ said Mrs. Brown, ‘and I don’t think I could ’a’ brung meself to ’ave ’im killed for anythink less than them comin’ ’ome.]

1952 T.A.G. Hungerford The Ridge and the River 122 ‘I brung a brew up for ’em, boss!’ the cook whined, pointing at a couple of giggling kanakas with a huge dixy of steaming tea on the ground between them.

1962 Xavier Herbert Soldiers’ Women (1978) xvii. 206 ‘Look what they brung, but!’

1972 Thomas Keneally The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith x. 97 ‘We brung all our food,’ Mort sang.

1972 Rhys Pollard The Cream Machine ix. 109 And in reply, ‘Leapin’ Jesus! Who brung him?’

1973 David Williamson Don’s Party 24 MACK: Who brung him?

1973 Harold Lewis Crow On A Barbed Wire Fence iii. 23 ‘I seen them throw you out of O'Byrne’s,’ she said, ‘so I brung you home.’

1978 Robert J. Merritt The Cake Man 25 Used to do it, till they went ’n brung them Balt bastards in...Wog bastards.

1979 Lance Peters The Dirty Half-Mile (1989) v. 32 ‘Now!’ he shouted, ‘all persons on said premises will be happrehended [sic] and brung down to the station[.]’

1982 Hesba Brinsmead Longtime Dreaming I. viii. 63 ‘It was him that brung her!’

1983 Morris Lurie Seven Books for Grossman 86 ‘And I brung four kegs for payment,’ his pappy said.

1986 Archimede Fusillo in A Bundle of Yarns 162 ‘That was the first flower he ever brung ya love...Member that...’

1987 Kathy Lette Girls’ Night Out (1995) 174 ‘I brung you this.’ A gold chain slithered down the front of my shirt.

Notes: In OED as a dialect form, which the early examples above are representing, probably with little accuracy. This is a common error in children’s speech (bring/brang/brung on the analogy of sing/sang/sung), but also common among adults, especially as a feature of in ethnic Englishes and ‘Westie-speak’ or “uneducated” Australian English.


bubbler n. a drinking fountain.

1968 Betty Preston What shall I do now? x. 84 Toilet blocks should not be entered unless the child is accompanied by an adult, and the use of bubblers for drinking water discouraged.

Notes: Predating AND 1970.


bundy v.i. to record the start or finish of work by using a Bundy clock. Contrs. With on/off. By extension, bundy off can mean ‘to die’.

1957 Weekend (Sydney) 1 Jun 7/1 A 6 a.m. he bundies on for his first job as a garage mechanic and toils happily until knock-off time at 8.30 p.m.

1971 David Ireland The Unknown Industrial Prisoner 147 Pixie, seeing him bundy off, called the police. They found him in the cark park, sitting in his car, too stewed to drive.

2001 John Bryant Real Aussies Drive Utes II 164 But in this case, the old bloke, McEnrow, had bundied off behind the wheel of his ute.

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


burl n. a short drive.

1983 Elizabeth Jolley Mr. Scobie’s Riddle 127 ‘No? eh? Well how’s about a little burl in the vehicle then, oh, hullo er hem, Miss Price.’

1986 Richard Beckett The Dinkum Aussie Dictionary 28 Go for a burl: To take the family car out illegally for a high speed run involving the forces of law and order at some stage. After one has been for a burl one’s father ‘beats the shit’ out of one.

1990 John Blackman The Aussie Slang Dictionary 17 Indeed, when you test drive a car you are buying, you generally take it for a burl around the block!

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


burl v.i. to drive quickly.

[1826 Charles Tompson, Jnr. Wild Notes, from the Lyre of a Native Minstrel 62 The sportive streamlet, as it burls along, / Laving, with modest kiss, its verdant steep…]

1953 Coralie Rees Spinifex Walkabout 241 Trucks nudged for space at the gutters or burled along the reddish roads; trucks that had been driven in for supplies from station or mission.

1983 Bruce Dawe Over Here, Harv! 98-99 Then he got himself a '38 Chev, and coming back from Mass on Sunday the mob of us would stand staring at him, burling along with Marge, her hair and laughter floating out after them.

1990 John Blackman The Aussie Slang Dictionary 17 But if a car is burling down the street, it is going pretty fast.

2005 Sean Dooley The Big Twitch ii. 18 Upon hearing of a rarity, they would jump on their pillion passenger motorbike and burl across the countryside in pursuit.

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


button bird n. the little button-quail, Turnix velox.

1934 Henry G. Lamond An Aviary On The Plains iv. 20 There’s a buff-coloured streak bulleting towards us. It’s a button bird (Little Quail).

Notes: Not in AND.


button-quail n. originally, the little button-quail, Turnix velox; now, any bird of the order Turniciformes.

1931 Neville W. Cayley What bird Is That? (1935) 193 Little Quail … Also called Button Quail…

1969 An Index of Australian Bird Names (CSIRO) 63 Little quail…[also] button quail…

1999 Simpson & Day Field Guide to the Birds of Australia 341 Most button-quail species prefer to live in grassland and appear to be nomadic.

2000 Michael Morcombe Field Guide to Australian Birds 103 Red-breasted Button-quail in flight, shows buffy brown wing coverts as pale panels on otherwise dark wings.

2005 Sean Dooley The Big Twitch v. 55 I was here specifically that day chasing up a report of Red-Breasted Button-quail.

Notes: Not in AND. So called from their small size and compact shape. The term button-quail is standard English, or at least the “common name” used by ornithologists and birdwatchers for all birds of the Turnicidae family, order Turniciformes. These birds superficially resemble quails (family Phasianidae) and in Australia were formerly classified and named as such, but are now (since 1970s??) know as button-quails. It would seem that in Australia button quail was for a long time used only for Turnix velox, before becoming used for all Turnix spp.


cark interj. representing the call of a crow; hence, n. a crow’s call; v.i.(and v.t.) (of a crow) to call; vbl. n. carking.

1946 Frank Dalby Davison Dusty 222 Railey came across the body the next day, his attention drawn by the carking of crows.

1947 Frank Clune Roaming Around Australia 95 [A] mob of crows came around, squatting on dead trees and going cark, cark.

ibid. 224 Overhead in the gloom I could hear crows carking, in anticipation of the best feed they'd had for years.

1953 Ion L. Idriess The Red Chief xxi. 123 Even the “Cark! Cark!” of the camp crows seemed but occasional and dispirited.

1965 John O’Grady Aussie English 6 Aussie English has very little music in it. It is generally delivered, in tones as tuneless as the bleat of a sheep, or the kark of a questing crow.

ibid. xxiii. 131 A crow, from away back on the timber line, carked inquiringly.

1971 Frank Hardy The Outcasts of Foolgarah 10 "What? Be your age," the Black Crowe carked, as if he'd been invited to the Lord Mayor's Ball, "someone's playin' a joke on yer."

1977 Colleen McCullough The Thorn Birds 325 The sound she had so missed but never thought to miss, crows carking desolately.

1980 Bob Jewson Stir i. 2 The bleak atmosphere, the cracked latrine bowl, the metal jug, the narrow creaking bunk, and that familiar carking of the Botany Bay seagulls outside - all seemed somehow homely.

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes; in AND (1932). Here are some extra citations. Note 1980 used of seagulls (silvergulls, Larus novaehollandae). This term is often cited as the potential etymon of the Australian English slang term cark (it) = die. None of the citations actually lend any direct support to this supposition. The other common suggestion is that cark (it) is related to the word carcase. The following citations add some potential support in that direction, though, once again, nothing conclusive.

1903 ‘Tom Collins’ Such is Life 231 ‘An’ young Tregarvis, he swore he was watchin’ with a telescope, an’ seen a white bullock o’ theirs yarded with some more, an’ all the rest turned-out; an’ he kep’ his eye on that white bullock all the afternoon; an’ he heard the shot, an’ went up with his ole man an’ the trooper; an’ he seen the raw hide hangin’ on the fence, an’ the head in the pig-sty, an’ a couple o’ fellers hoistin’ the carkidge on the gallus.’

1915 C.J. Dennis The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke `A Spring Song’ I’m sick of that cheap tart / ’Oo chucks ’er carkis at a feller’s ’ead / An’ mauls ’im...

ibid. ‘Beef Tea’ I turns away, / An’ yanks me carkis out into the yard, / Like some whipped pup; an’ kicks meself reel ’ard.

1977 Jim Ramsay Cop It Sweet! 51 KARK: abb. rhym. See PARK THE CARCASE.
ibid. 68 PARK THE CARCASE: Sit down; Rest.

Notes: Ramsey’s little glossary is occasionally too abbreviated, sometimes to the point where one is unable to detect the exact term is he recording, as in this case. His “abb. rhym.” = “abbreviated rhyming slang”, but does that mean one could use kark as a verb meaning ‘to sit’? Or was it the phrase park the kark?


carn vb. ‘Come on!’

1965 William Dick A Bunch of Ratbags xviii. 310 “Carn Goodway,” I screamed out as the emotion I felt for Mr Huntington began to build up. I brought myself back into present time with that yell and started again to watch the game with interest.

Notes: Predating AND 1968.


chew and spew n. a cheap fast-food food outlet.

1977 Jim Ramsay Cop It Sweet! 22 CHEW AND SPEW: Cheap cafe.

[1983 ‘Ryan Aven-Bray’ Ridgey Didge Oz Jack Lang 23 C[h]ew it and Spew it - Cheap restaurant.]

1985 Alan Veitch Drunk, Insane or Australian? 30 Long-time Crossites probably recall that The Pink Pussycat was right next door to a greasy-spoon-type café called the Hasty Tasty, which was more affectionately known, perhaps, as The Chew ‘n’ Spew.

1986 Bill Hornadge The Australian Slanguage (2nd ed.) 283 CHEW AND SPEW A cheap café.

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND. Not well attested, but well-known.


Chinaman, must have killed a phr. a phrase noting bad luck.

1983 Ian Chappell and Austin Robertson Smile Sport! 45 Well, the first day of the Saturday afternoon show on Channel 9 couldn’t have had more problems if we had walked under a ladder, smashed a mirror and crashed into a Chinaman all on the same day.

Notes: extra evidence.


clinking currawong n. the Tasmanian subspecies of the grey currawong, Strepera versicolor arguta; formerly considered a full species S. arguta.

1931 Neville W. Cayley What bird Is That? (1935) 54 Clinking Currawong Strepera arguta Gould … derives its name from its call, a loud ringing series of notes “Clink, clink,” or “Klang-klang.”

1969 An Index of Australian Bird Names (CSIRO) 63 Clinking currawong Strepera arguta.

1974 Gerald Murnane Tamarisk Row 64 While she presses her surly face against the wire he describes the colours of priests' vestments…black of clinking currawongs for the souls in purgatory to remind people of the dark grid of the edges of days that God has marked out on His holy calendars that are meant to warn Catholics and Protestants alike…

1999 Simpson & Day Field Guide to the Birds of Australia 250 Race arguta (B, ‘Clinking Currawong’, Tas) darkest race, almost black.

2000 Michael Morcombe Field Guide to Australian Birds 314 ‘Clinking Currawong’, race arguta, SE Aust.: a large, very dark form confined to Tas. and Bass Str. Islands.

Notes: Not in AND.


cob n. an abbreviation of ‘cobber’?

1960 J.E. MacDonnell Don't Gimme the Ships ii. 38 ‘You watch it, cobs. You don't wanna clew up as cox’n of a pram.’ ‘She'll be apples.’

ibid. i. 13 ‘I tell yer, cobs, it’s them flamin’ caps. They don’t let no air in, and they keep the sun out.’

1962 John Wynnum Tar Dust x. 118 ‘I shouldn't worry if I were you. The cobs weren’t expecting to get off here.’

1979 Lance Peters The Dirty Half-Mile (1989) xvii. 175 ‘Too right I will, cob.’

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND. Is this common? The use in 1960/1962 are in plural form and both in nautical contexts, so perhaps cobs is some different nautical slang term, though I cannot find it listed in any other dictionary.


come in, spinner! phr. a phrase used to let someone know they’ve been duped.

1963 Ray Slattery As You Were! v. 88 The howls of derision drowned him out, after which Jimmy’s grin threatened to open his ears. ‘Come in, spinners,’ he said.

Notes: This usage not in Wilkes, AND. Extended use of two-up jargon (AND 1943). In 1957 John O’Grady seemed to use it simply to mean ‘begin’, ‘start’:

1957 ‘Nino Culotta’ (John O’Grady) They’re A Weird Mob (1958) viii. 117 ‘Know the words?’ He began to play. ‘Yes. I know the words.’ ‘Come in, spinner.’

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND in these metaphorical senses. I am familiar with the first usage from conversation, despite being unable to find much written evidence.


cone n. a conical attachment to a bong or pipe in which marijuana is placed; hence, a cone’s worth of marijuana. Hence, cone head, a habitual marijuana user.

1982 Tracks Mar 5 I am sitting here smoking cones / Thinking of you Sydney clones...

1986 Tracks Mar 3 Anyone who can write about listening to Hendrix after pulling ten cones would surely have to be a person endowed with more than one penis.

1988 Sydney Morning Herald 9 Nov 8 He had also smoked four cones of marijuana, not mixed with tobacco, which was more than he had ever smoked before.

1987 Kathy Lette in Sydney Morning Herald (Good Weekend) 3 Jan 7/2 ‘Bong brains’ or ‘Cone heads’ derive their names from inhaling vast amounts of marijuana smoke.

1994 Passing Show (Sydney) vi. 23 The ultimate Being of which there is nothing greater in magnitude, knowledge and presence must indeed be able to conceive of a cone larger than the capacity of his Holy Lungs.

1995 Harrison Biscuit The Search for Savage Henry 60 He lit up, drew the cone and shotgunned it[.]

1998 Underground Surf Crossover (Sydney) #2 78/2 He made Speedy Gonzales look like Cliff Young after a backy cone.

2001 John Bryant Real Aussies Drive Utes II 113 A Few Cones in the Back of a Ute [heading]

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


der interj. a mocking exclamation indicating faked and exaggerated stupidity or bewilderment; equivalent to the US duh. Hence, adj. obvious even to a fool.

1979 Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette Puberty Blues 46 ‘Sprung!’ cried Jeff Basin, the local dubbo. ‘Oh der,’ moaned Boardie sarcastically.

1988 Sydney Morning Herald 17 Mar derr obvious, self-evident.

1989 Dolly July 71 DERR - adj. Obvious, self-evident.

ibid. 70 I feel like a humungous dweed [sic] now because when I think about it, it is so derr.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


dero n. a derelict.

1963 John Duffy Bully Beef and Lace ii. 23 ‘Yer in the Army now, not wanderin’ the streets of Sydney like a mob of deros.’

Notes: Predating AND 1971.


dill-brain n. a dill. Hence, dill-brained.

1975 Colleen McCullough Tim xxiii. 168 ‘So you see, Mary,’ Ron continued, ‘if a cat can have feelings, so can a dill-brain like Tim, and more feelings, because Tim’s not all that bad.’

ibid. 167 They reckon that the kid's so dill-brained it can’t feel anything the way us ordinary people do.

1986 Colin Bowles G’DAY! 108 The dillbrains he’s with get him on the slops and put him on a train.

1999 Robert G. Barrett The Wind and the Monkey 44 ‘Did you say that dillbrain author was smoking a joint out on his sundeck?’

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


dim sim n.

a1957 Dept. of Health, Victoria Accidents in the Home [27] [advert.] The GOLDEN STAR CHINESE CAFE offers unrivalled service for tasty, succulent Oriental and continental Meals. Our unique “take away” service applies to anything on the menu. Spring Rolls and Dim Sims available fresh daily. Phone B 5598 for reservations. 209 Sturt Street, Ballarat.

1964 George Johnston My Brother Jack xiii. 294 It began one evening at supper, which we were eating in the dining-room, and she had gone to some trouble preparing a menu of what she called “Chinese chow,” and there were dim-sims and spring rolls she had bought from a Chinese restaurant in Little Bourke Street…

1968 Colin Sinclair Tall, Bronzed and Handsome 90 “One illegal bandit suburb of Brisbane crossed the borders of the People’s Republic in deliberate violation of our sovereignty,” the Chinese Ministry for Friendly Relations said in an angry communiqué. “It was driven off with Dim Sim air-to-air missiles fired by a Chow Mein fighter of the People’s Air Force.”

1975 Xavier Herbert Poor Fellow My Country 502 Then she rushed to the door and out, through the crowd swarming like flies over dung round those dispensaries to the gustatory needs of the common herd: Finnucane’s temporary gold mine, Ah Loy’s hot-pie and dim-sim foundry, Ali Barba’s Russoyee.

1977 Phillip Adams The Unspeakable Adams 22 Tea, from the people who brought us the dim-sim, the penny bunger and the archaeological exhibition.

1978 John Hepworth John Hepworth: His Book 95 As dusk fell you might see inscrutable tongmen slipping out of the sinister looking lair of the Kuomintang, clutching their precious little parcels of illicit dim sims.

1984 James McQueen Uphill Runner 181 On Saturdays he buys dim sims or sweet and sour pork from the Chinese take-away.

2005 Mark Latham The Latham Diaries 196 Dallas Donnelly almost choked on his dim sim.

Notes: ? Predating AND 1961. The pamphlet Accidents in the Home has a foreword by the then health minister of Victoria, the Hon. E.P. Cameron, M.L.C. – but I could not find out on the Internet when he was incumbent. However, another advertisement in the pamphlet, for the Hospital Benefits Association, states that “Early in 1957 we hope to move to 390 Little Collins St.” With these clues a more exact date might be able to be arrived at. The AND only has two citations for dim sim, here is also some extra evidence. Wikipedia states: The “dimmy” as it is colloquially known, was developed in Melbourne by Chinese chef William Wing Young for his restaurant “Wing Lee”. Other websites claim the same originator and date it to 1945. AND’s etymology from Cantonese seems very dubious. Perhaps it is merely an semi-Anglicised rhyming reduplication (suited to Australian pronunciation) based on Cantonese dim sum ‘a snack or dumpling’.


dishlicker n. a dog, especially a greyhound.

1988 Sydney Morning Herald 26 Feb Glebe. Inside, it's just like a bonsai Randwick and yes, you can bet on the greyhounds (affectionately known as dishlickers) if you're game.

1992 Doug Walters Two For The Road 98 We snapped that up and sat back in the committee room waiting for our dishlicker to win so we could collect.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


the dogs are barkingphr. of a racecourse tip, to be widely touted or well known. Also, of a rumour.

1933 Raymond Spargo Betting Systems Analysed 13 Number 2 sent us two unplaced horses, Number 3 sent us a winner that ‘the dogs were barking’, a 6 to 4 shot, and one very rough unplaced outsider.

1961 Xavier Herbert Soldiers’ Women (1978) xii. 118 ‘Wait, Lolly…tell me what you heard about wangling privileges.’ `The Air Force dogs are barking it.’

1986 Richard Beckett The Dinkum Aussie Dictionary 21 Dogs are barking: A hot racecourse tip as in, ‘Everyone know’s he’s got a chance, all the bloody dogs are barking.’

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


donk n. the penis.

1974 Searchlight (Sydney) #84 8 She also kept looking and looking at the horse’s giant donk.

1975 Xavier Herbert Poor Fellow My Country 584 ‘I know,’ said Eddy, assuming some of the old leeriness. ‘You know what they call you?’ ‘Yeah, yeah...the Donk with the Biggest Walloper in the Team.’

1978 John Hepworth John Hepworth: His Book 52 Maybe he was waving his donk in the air with playful bawdiness, or some such.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


fibro n. a house constructed of fibro-cement.

1969 Sue Rhodes And when she was bad she was popular 27 Does it , mean a penthouse and a $300 monthly allowance or a block of land and a fibro but out in the sticks?

1986 Colin Bowles G’DAY! 25 If you haven’t got The Necessary they repo your wheels and turf you out of your fibro.

1988 Peter Corris The Baltic Business 57 Crawley waited, trying to imagine the setting. Double-fronted fibro, skimpy garden, wide concrete drive, carport.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


fish and chippie n. a fish and chip shop; a fish and chip shop proprietor.

1982 Gerald Sweeney Invasion 208 And America’s immigration quota of cab drivers and fish-and-chippies had apparently been full since 1931.

1986 Colin Bowles G’DAY! 33 The stove is on the bung so Shane has volunteered to go down Nick’s Fish and Chippie to get tea.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


flash as a rat with a gold tooth phr. flagrantly ostentatious or ‘flash’.

1983 Ian Chappell and Austin Robertson Smile Sport! 16 The occasion was a special dinner, black tie and all, and Bertie, at the head of the table, was bunging on more side than a rat with a gold tooth.

1986 Bill Hornadge The Australian Slanguage (2nd ed.) 79 Other well known Australian similes include … Flash as a rat with a gold tooth.

1995 Crackers Keenan Australia’s Funniest Racing Yarns (2003) xxviii. 182 ‘I’m putting on more side than a rat with a gold tooth, I’m just about royalty up here.’

1998 John Clark Across Country 57 He still favours dark pinstripe suits and hats. When he’s dressed up and smoking his cherry wood pipe at the races he looks as flash as a rat with a gold tooth.

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


flaming adj. damned, ‘bloody’.

1901 Henry Lawson Joe Wilson and His Mates ‘Poisonous Jimmy Gets Left’ “What the flamin’ sheol do you mean by swiggin’ my beer…”

1902 Barbara Baynton Bush Studies 128 “‘Never mind no blarsted acquaintance,’ I sez, ‘w’en are yer goin’ ter take yer flamin’ jumbucks orf my lan’?’ I sez.”

1907 Henry Lawson Send Round the Hat ‘Two Sundowners’ “Look here, Brummy,” he said frankly, “where the hell do you keep that flamin’ stuff o’ yourn?”

1915 CJ Dennis The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke I’m crook; me name is Mud; I’ve done me dash; / Me flamin’ spirit’s got the flamin’ ’ump!

1938 Xavier Herbert Capricornia 216 ‘Only ones’t got a victory outer that flamin’ war was the blasted wowsers!’

1962 Ray Slattery Wait for it! ii. 25 “Shut flaming up!” Harry’s voice shook the earth beneath our feet.

1962 Ray Slattery As You Were! (1965) i. 16 ‘Well, don’t stand there looking at me as I’m the wicked uncle in Mother flaming Goose!’

1968 Walter Gill Peterman Journey (1970) 14 ‘You an’ yer flamin’ dope!’

1968 Barry Humphries The Wonderful World of Barry McKenzie 13 ‘How am I flamin’ well going to get back to Earls Court I haven’t got a blessed razoo!’

Notes: Predating British usage, 1922, as recorded in OED. Originally a euphemism, but now used as an intensive in its own right. See flogging and ruddy.


flat n. the area in the centre of a racecourse.

1975 Xavier Herbert Poor Fellow My Country 1243 He came to the salute as the Band on the flat before him struck up God Save the King.

1977 Hugh Buggy The Real John Wren 107 He was an unregistered bookmaker who wagered on The Flat with a perilously lean capital.

Notes: Postdating AND 1971.


flogging adj. damned, ‘bloody’.

1927 Frederick C Biggers Bat-eye: a tale of the northern coalfields 15 ‘Well, stone the floggin’ crows!’

1955 D'Arcy Niland The Shiralee 122 ‘Cripes, this floggin’ rain’d make you cry, wouldn’t it? Can’t the duddy weather office give us a bit of a change?’

1966 Graham McInnes Humping My Bluey 63 ‘Hey Nugget, this kid’s ringin in a lot of floggin’ greenies.’

ibid. 68 ‘You bloody floggin barstid,’ cried Alister, launching himself at Rose like a windmill.

1981 Paul Radley Jack Rivers and Me 78 ‘Shut your floggin’ mouth,’ Peterdunny said.

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND. This emphasiser seems to have originally been a euphemism for fucking, though more context for the 1927 citation would be needed to get a better feel for this. Certainly it seems to be acting as a literary substitution in Niland, especially as duddy seems to be a substitution for some other harsh swearword. Although it seems familiar enough to me I cannot definitely remember ever hearing it in conversation. At any rate, it has never been very common. See flaming and ruddy.


garbo n. a garbage bin. Also, garbo bin.

1966 Sidney J. Baker The Australian Language (2nd ed.) x. 213 garbo, a garbage collector; a garbage tin.

1987 Kathy Lette Girls’ Night Out (1995) 109 Mouche lathered up one armpit in silence, retrieved a discarded razor from the garbo and carved her way through the foam.

2006 Sunday Telegraph 2 July 101/5 With all this brouhaha about high profile TV jobs, makes you wonder if anyone else who isn't cutting the mustard in other gigs (like emptying garbo bins) would still garner the same press.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


grog n. a glass or drink of ‘grog’.

1960 J.E. MacDonnell Don’t Gimme the Ships ix. 138 ‘It must be torture for the poor old coot to stay on board without a grog.’

1962 W.R. Bennett Target Turin iv. 82 `I had a couple of grogs with him before I left.’

1967 Sue Rhodes Now you’ll think ‘'m awful (1968) 83 ‘Ya wanna grog?’ he invited me.

1969 Geoff Wyatt Saltwater Saints iii. 77 ‘I think you better come up and have a grog with us,’ Evan said.

1973 Kit Denton The Breaker 16 Everyone wanted to shout a grog for Harry Morant.

1985 Barry Dickins What the Dickins 107 After a few grogs the Mum was told, ‘No babies!’

1995 Marianne Wood Just a Prostitute 70 ‘She’s had a few grogs. Is somebody in there with you?’

Notes: This count noun sense in not recorded in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


grog shop n. a shop selling alcohol.

1799 William Noah A few Remarks of the County of Cumberland in New South Wales 70 [T]he Town Dayly Increases in Wealth & in a few Year More it will be Inhabited by a Vast number of Individual here is a Vast number of Grog Shop some Licenced other not but no Gambling[.]

a.1878 Charles R. Thatcher in Keesing Old Bush Songs 116 To a grog-shop then we would repair, and drink with other chaps[.]

1917 ‘Henry Handel Richardson’ Australia Felix 7 And so, since no more washdirt would be raised from this hole, the party that worked it made off for the nearest grog-shop, to wet their throats to the memory of the dead, and to discuss future plans.

1933 G.B. Lancaster Pageant II.viii. 147 Adam, with all the instincts of his grandfather except determination, was a handful for any young country and was slightly more popular in the whaling grog-shops of the Hobart Town waterfront than in a lady’s drawing-room.

1975 Anne Summers Damned Whores and God’s Police II. 356 [S]mall wonder that the out-patients department was regarded as a free grog shop.

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


ground lark n. the Australian pipit, Anthus australis or A. novaeseelandiae.

1931 Neville W. Cayley What bird Is That? (1935) 191 Ground-Lark (Pipit) Authus australis Vieillot.

1934 Henry G. Lamond An Aviary On The Plains iv. 23 A ground lark (Australian
Pipit) rises, flickering like an uncertain candle-flame in the air.

1938 Norman Lindsay Age of Consent xiv. 134 Beyond a grunt of greeting from him, and a twist and wriggle from Cora in return, they exchanged no other intimacy in trudging on side by side, with Edmund trotting a pace or so ahead, letting ground-larks and sandpipers go to the devil.

1972 Ray Ericksen West of Centre 131 Elegant ground larks, which usually run-fly away on approach, prospected the ground with quick, graceful movements within a few feet of where I sat beside the van.

1981 Albert Facey A Fortunate Life 89 There were hundreds of the common magpie, and also the ground-lark, a small grey and light brown bird that wouldn’t sit on a tree, but flew from ground to ground.

Notes: Not in AND.


guts n. in Australian Rules Football, the centre of the field, as opposed to the flanks.

1982 Lawrence Money The Footy Fan’s Handbook iv. 21 Up the Guts (1) - Team kicks straight up the ground into the goal

1983 Ian Chappell and Austin Robertson Smile Sport! 43 ‘You go centre ’alf back and I’ll play in the guts.’

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


had to put a man/boy on phr. (of a man) experiencing a busy sex life.

1945 Sidney J. Baker The Australian Language vi. 124 The Australian has devised numerous expressions for love-making... Here are a few...the jocular greeting between man and man, getting’ any? which draws such set replies as climbing trees to get away from it! got to swim under water to dodge it! and so busy I've had to put a man on!

1950 ‘Thirty-Five’ in Simes A Dictionary of Australian Underworld Slang 23/2 ‘Getting any’ ‘I’ve had to put a boy on.’

1951 Dal Stivens Jimmy Brockett 102 ‘Getting any, Jimmy?’ he’d asked me a couple of nights ago. ‘You bet,’ I told him. ‘I have to put an extra man on.’

1966 Sidney J. Baker The Australian Language (2nd ed.) xvii. 371 The Australian has devised numerous expressions for love-making... Here are a few...the jocular greeting between man and man, getting any? which draws such set replies as climbing trees to get away from it! got to swim under water to dodge it! knocking it back with a stick! and so busy I've had to put a man (or a boy) on!

1986 Colin Bowles G’DAY! 37 Among single Australian males the facetious ‘Getting any lately?’ should be responded to with: ‘Yeah, hadda putta man on.’

2006 Crackers Keenan on Stuie’s World website ‘I was a sex symbol, in fact I had so many women that I had to put a boy on to help me out.’

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


inland dotterel n. a small, endemic Australian dotterel, Charadrius (formerly Peltohyas) australis.

1959 Neville W. Cayley What bird Is That? (3rd ed.) 243 Inland Dotterel Peltohyas australis.

1969 An Index of Australian Bird Names (CSIRO) 21 Australian dotterel Peltohyas australis Deseret plover, dotterel, inland dotterel.

1994 Christidis and Boles The Taxonomy and Species of Birds of Australia and its Territories 15 Charadrius australis Gould, 1841 Inland Dotterel.

1999 Simpson & Day Field Guide to the Birds of Australia 320 Emus, chats, birds of prey, Banded Lapwings, Inland Dotterel and Australian Pratincoles may be seen on gibber plains.

2005 Sean Dooley The Big Twitch xxvii. 242 Two evenings later I was out on the Nullabor Plain looking for Inland Dotterel.

Notes: Not in AND.


light globe n. a light bulb.

1948 Ruth Park Harp in the South i. 6 It was almost as though Miss Shelly were as transparent as a light globe, and the very force of her bitter spirit illuminated her.

1949 Ruth Park Poor Man’s Orange 74 “If I was Mrs Kilroy I’d put bits of light-globes into his porridge.”

1960 Sutton Woodfield A for Artemis ii. 22 Eyes like ice cubes in a refrigerator – you know one of those where the tiny light globe pops on if you want to see if there is anything to eat.

1976 David Ireland The Glass Canoe 1 We don’t get fireflies down the back of the Southern Cross; fireflies were street light globes.

1977 Phillip Adams The Unspeakable Adams 76 The drama unfolded behind locked doors, in the arcane glow of a Moon made from a circle of waxed paper and a light-globe.

1998 John Clark Across Country 23 Inside, a single light globe burned fiercely on the low timber ceiling.

Notes: Not exclusively Australian, but as common as light bulb here, and quite uncommon elsewhere.


littley n. a kid.

1953 Coralie Rees Spinifex Walkabout xiii. 171 And the dust! With thirteen lorries in convoy and some of the ‘littlies’ suffering from diarrhoea, the journey was a nightmare.

Notes: Predating AND 1965.


mate n. a work partner.

1768 James Cook Journal 1768—71 (1893) i. Wednesday, 30th. Punished Robert Anderson, Seaman, and William Judge, Marine, with 12 Lashes Each, the former for leaving his Duty ashore and attempting to desert from the Ship, and the latter for using abusive language to the Officer of the Watch, and John Reading, Boatswain's Mate, with 12 lashes for not doing his Duty in punishing the above two Men.

1770 ibid. x. Wednesday, 20th. Fresh Gales and clear weather. Variation per Azimuth 12 degrees 15 minutes West. This morning the Carpenter and his Mate set about repairing the Long boat, being the first day they have been able to work since we left Princes Island.

ibid. ix. Wednesday, 7th. Employ'd getting ready to heave down in the P.M. We had the misfortune to loose Mr. Monkhouse, the Surgeon, who died at Batavia of a Fever after a short illness, of which disease and others several of our people are daily taken ill, which will make his loss be the more severely felt; he was succeeded by Mr. Perry, his mate, who is equally as well skilled in his profession.

1788 A. Kippis Narrative of the Voyages Round The World, Performed by Captain James Cook ii. There were buried, in the course of about six weeks, Mr. Sporing, a gentleman who was one of Mr. Banks's assistants; Mr. Parkinson, his natural history painter, Mr. Green, the astronomer; the boatswain, the carpenter, and his mate…

1793 Watkin Tench A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson v. Stimulated, however, by a desire of acquiring a further knowledge of the country, on the 26th instant, accompanied by Mr Arndell, assistant surgeon of the settlement, Mr Lowes, surgeon's mate of the Sirius, two marines and a convict, I left the redoubt at daybreak,

Notes: AND 1834; the examples here are of the specific nautical meaning ‘an assistant to a particular functionary on a ship’ (OED), however, could this be the origin of the Australian colonial usage?


mouth/tongue like the bottom of a cocky’s cage phr. a symptom of a hangover, or other illness. Rarely as cocky caged ppl.a., as in 1971.

1953 Ian Hamilton Till Human Voices Wake Us 79 Don’t go no a hunger strike after a spell of bread and water. Your tongue’s like the bottom of a cocky’s cage.

1963 Frank Hardy Legends From Benson’s Valley 18 I awoke with a mouth like the bottom of a cockie's cage and a head like an over-pumped football.

1971 David Ireland The Unknown Industrial Prisoner 8 His tongue was still cocky caged from the night before.

1981 David Foster Moonlite xx. 196 ‘Struth, what have you done to your tongue!’ ‘Ar it always feels like the bottom of a fuckin cockie’s cage.’

1986 Richard Beckett The Dinkum Aussie Dictionary 15 One is said to have ‘a mouth like the bottom of a cocky's cage’ when one is suffering from a terminal hangover.

1989 Allan Skerman Beyond Indigo 283 ‘And the condition your mouth must be in, anything’d taste like the floor of Cocky’s cage. One of these days I won't be around to get you on your bunk when you've got the blind staggers. You’ll lie on the ground and all those pink elephants’ll run over you and tramp you to death.’

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


muttai n. on the north coast of NSW, a corncob.

1946 Kylie Tennant Lost Haven x. 135 “That makes fifteen in the team,” Alec reckoned. “Five sacks of potatoes, three of mutt-eyes, another three of pumpkins and the bedding and pots.”

1953 Sidney J. Baker Australia Speaks iv. 104 Here, by way of contrast with these examples, is a group of popular slang terms used to describe food of one type or another … mutt-eye, corn…

1966 Sidney J. Baker The Australian Language (2nd ed.) xvii. 371 mutty or mutt-eye, a green cob of maize.

1982 Nancy Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 116 As to ‘muttai’ which is green corn boiled (often in corned beef water) and eaten on the cob, the name is certainly local to the New South Wales North Coast.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


nark n. something that causes annoyance.

1911 Steele Rudd The Book of Dan i. 7 ‘That’s a nark!’ the engine-driver said, with a pathetic look at his employer.

Notes: Predating the earliest example in the Oxford Dictionary of New Zealand English and OED (1918).


narkie n. the Tasmanian native hen, Gallinula mortierii.

1969 An Index of Australian Bird Names (CSIRO) 19 Tasmanian native hen…[also] Narkie, native hen, water hen.

2001 East Coast Natureworld website ( Narkie is another name for the native hen you will see at Natureworld. They make a rasping hacksaw-like cacophony when disturbed and can run very fast, but can’t fly.

Notes: Not in AND. A wonderful regionalism.


no worries phr. don’t worry! it’s not a problem!

[1938 J.G. Hides Savages in Serge 14 But his lot is a carefree, easy one. If he has his one pound in hand ready for the year’s Government tax, keeps away from other men's wives, and obeys the few simple government laws regulating native life, he has no worries.

1953 Nevil Shute In The Wet 256 “I’ll be right. I’ve got a straight job with no worries, nothing to lose sleep over.”

1958 Olaf Ruhen Naked Under Capricorn x. 164 “No, I’m staying. And sending for Mother. She’s had her time nursing and she'll be glad to come. So you’ll have no worries.”

1964 George Johnston My Brother Jack xvii. 365 “No worries for you, though,” Gavin said. “You’ll be right.”]

1962 ‘Nino Culotta’ Gone fishin’ viii. 121 ‘Did you think Tommy would shoot you if you touched his boat?’ ‘He ought to be on the stage, that little feller. He had me in.’ ‘Yes. I was becoming worried.’ ‘You know what the doctors said. No worries. You shouldn’t have tried to put one over on him.’

Notes: Predating AND 1967, though the sense here is “You are not to worry”, as a piece of medical advice; plus some early exx. of the collocation before being worn down to its present ungrammatical form.


no wucking furries phr. a deliberate spoonerism of “no fucking worries”. Shortened to no wuckers and no wucks.

1986 Colin Bowles G’DAY! 37 The other standard responses are absolutely imperative for anyone wishing to master basic Australian are “She’ll be right” and “No worries” (known in some impolite circles as “no wucking furries”).

1996 Linda Jaivin Rock n Roll Babes From Outer Space 143 She did this no wucken furries at all.

1996 James Lambert The Macquarie Book of Slang 266/2 no wucking furries, an expression of confidence that all will go well. Also, no wucks, no wuckers.

1997 Sick Puppy Comix (Syd.) #5 13 ‘Sorry, mate. Guess I wuz as full as a family poe [sic].’ ‘No wucking furries, matey.’

1997 John Birmingham The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco 31 ‘No wuckin’ furries,’ he said. ‘But you’ll owe me a six pack.’

1998 Janice Slater Across Country 149 ‘No wuckin’ ferries. We gunna ’ave a good time t’night.’

2000 June Factor Kidspeak 228/2 wuckers! Excl. expression of reassurance No wuckers!

Notes: Not in Wilkes.


Ockerish adj. typical of an Ocker.

1974 Helen Frizell in Bill Hornadge The Ugly Australian (1975) 198 The Ockerish audience seemed to love this, but then the film was made about Ockers for Ockers.

1983 Ian Chappell and Austin Robertson Smile Sport! 16 Not for him the Ockerish practice of ordering the first thing on the menu, or the first thing that came into his head.

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


pig-root n. an instance of pig-rooting.

1962 Elizabeth Lane Mad As Rabbits (1973) xiii. 105 …the pig-root that followed dislodged Renie, and she dragged Ann off with her.

1982 Joe Andersen Winners Can Laugh vi. 76 Without warning the horse released a violent pig-root and depsoitied his rider on the turf in front of him.

Notes: Postdating AND 1960.


Pitt Street n. a major street in Sydney, proverbial for being crowded.

[1950 George Farwell Land of Mirage 209 Every soul in Birdsville, Bedourie, Boulia and Windorah might be accommodated in a big city hotel. They would be lost in a Pitt Street shopping crowd, which is no doubt why the region has so long been neglected, its roads and amenities so poor. But one does not gauge the importance of an area simply by counting heads.]

1962 Ray Slattery Wait for it! v. 86 “Stone the crows!” Jimmy chuckled. “It’s like Pitt Street on Friday. Everyone’s anxious to see the famous film star before she leaves us tomorrow.”

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


… for PM n. an expression of admiration for the person (usually a politician) mentioned.

1991 Herald Sun (Melb.) 1 May 13 BOB HAWKE is under pressure and showing it. [Headline] It's not the sort of "Keating for PM" pressure that comes from a few disgruntled Left-wing MPs and the lobbying of Paul Keating's closest mates.

1997 John Birmingham The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco 31 ‘The whole Bronwyn Bishop for PM thing was a very difficult time for me.’

2005 Mark Latham The Latham Diaries 113 She floored them by pointing out, ‘Listen, you blokes, I have had more rubber up my cunt than you’ve got on those tyres.’ Rose for PM.

Notes: With reference to the Joh for PM campaign.


pub n. a public hotel.

[1848 William Augustus Miles The Registry of Flashmen 82 Joe Abrahams gave him some Skeleton Keys to fit Boyds front door. Is to rob some Pub House in Castlereagh St May 26th [18]44 sent to Jail as a rogue and vagabond.

ibid. 59 Dublin Jem lives in a house up some steps in Sussex St two doors beyond Linden’s Pub: House - In the day he wears a brown coat.]

c.1882 Slang Phrases (The Detectives’ Handbook) 10 A man who robs in company with a prostitute and his woman enticed a victim into the “Deadhouse” (cant name for a certain low pub) and while he was paying for the drinks picked his pocket of three crowns and a sixpence.

1889 in Nancy Keesing Old Bush Songs (1956) 214 At Ryan’s pub he felt all right, / And yet he was, before the night, / Lambed down.

1891 Bulletin 11 July 17 When politician J.D. Young ran the pub at the corner of King and George Streets, a man employed there turned “rusty” one day, when J.D. gave him the “father of a dressing.”

1895 A.B. (Banjo) Paterson ‘The Geebung Polo Club’ Till the terrified spectator rides like blazes to the pub -- / He’s been haunted by the spectres of the Geebung Polo Club.

1897 Mary Gaunt Kirkham’s Find xxii. 262 ‘Jenkins over at the pub there was talking to me only this morning.’

1901 ‘Miles Franklin’ My Brilliant Career 14 Pride forbade her appealing to her neighbours, so on me devolved the duty of tracking my father from one pub to another and bringing him home.

1903 ‘Joseph Furphy’ Such Is Life 142 The sight of the pub. – a white speck in the distance – suggested to my mind an expedient, which, however, I had to dismiss.

1913 Norman Lindsay A Curate in Bohemia viii. 112 “There's a pub up the road,” he said, looking at the curate, “where the beer’s grand.”

Notes: Not recorded in AND as it is originally British (recorded in the OED from 1859). Nevertheless, this term is very common in Australia. Here are a few early examples. The 1848 exx. are taken from a handwritten notebook and are thus perhaps merely shorthand and not representative of spoken language.


rooster n. a man; a bloke.

1976 David Ireland The Glass Canoe 172 He was forty-nine and only three days out of jail. Tough little rooster.

1983 Ian Chappell and Austin Robertson Smile Sport! 27 ‘So I back off from the rooster standin’ on the mark and this puts me about 85 yards out.’

1999 Robert G. Barrett The Wind and the Monkey 102 ‘What’s this Maxwell rooster look like?’ asked Les.

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


ruddy adj. damned, ‘bloody’. Also, as an adverb, and in the adverbial form ruddy well.

1914 ‘Lance Corporal Cobber’ The Anzac Pilgrim’s Progress (1918) 15 An’ here’s a slap-up party they are givin’ out in France / With ruddy goose-step Prussians for yer partners in the dance.

1959 Arthur Upfield Bony and the Mouse viii. 60 ‘There were thirty of ’em, and we only lost one, and that was chewed up by the ruddy goats.’

1962 Ray Slattery Wait for it! iii. 61 ‘A mob of flaming ruddy Japs!’

1962 Ray Slattery As You Were! (1965) i. 12 ‘I don’t ruddy well see!’

ibid. ii. 46 ‘Let’s have a little courtesy or we’ll take our business else ruddy where!’

1965 Johnathan Burke Pattern of Shadows vii. 79 ‘I never ruddy well laid a finger on her.’

1967 Jean Brooks The Opal Witch (1970) i. 11 ‘It’s too ruddy hot to argue.’

Notes: Predating British usage, 1916, as recorded in OED. Well-known in British and Australian English. This isn’t much of a predating, and so perhaps not originally Australian, despite this evidence. See flaming and flogging (above).


run of outs phr. a succession of bad luck or unfortunate events, especially in gambling or sport.

1933 Raymond Spargo Betting systems Analysed 96 But, mind, there is always the possibility of a long run of outs!

1962 W.R. Bennett Night Intruder i. 12 ‘After the run of outs I’ve been having lately, Sheridan’s starting to get the crazy notion I’m accident prone.’

1966 James Holledge The Great Australian Gamble ii. 26 O’Brian did well to limit his losses to that amount over such a run of outs.

1982 Roy Higgins and Tom Prior The Jockey Who Laughed 13 At the time, as it happened, I’d been having a run of outs on Turf Ruler, a big, black stallion which was a bit headstrong[.]

1983 Ian Chappell and Austin Robertson Smile Sport! 53 World billiards champion Rex Williams well remembers an exasperating run of outs during an exhibition at the Naval and Military Club in Simonstown, South Africa.

1992 ‘Roy Slaven’ Five South Coast Seasons 81

Notes: in Baker 1966; not in Wilkes, AND.


set v.t. to arrange (a wager), esp. in two-up.

1911 Louis Stone Jonah 160 “Get set! - get set!” cried the boxer, lolling in his seat with a nonchalant air; and in a twinkling a bright heap of silver lay in front of each player, the wagers made with the gaffers opposite.
ibid. 162 “Wot d’ye set?” he cried to Chook. “The lot,” cried Chook, and spun the coins.

Notes: pre-dating AND 1915.


set v.t. to arrange a wager with (a person).

1963 Frank Hardy Legends From Benson’s Valley 56 The bookmaker from the Grand Hotel set him quick and smart.

Notes: post-dating AND 1915.


spunk off v.i. to orgasm.

1974 Searchlight (Sydney) #84 8 I wanted to spunk-off all over her then.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


spunkette n. a sexy woman.

1987 Sydney Morning Herald 18 May The Guide 6 They are a couple of ravishing young spunkettes straight out of a Jane Fonda exercise video...

1992 People (Sydney) 30 Mar 6/3 Profumo, a keen pants man, couldn’t resist bedding 19-year-old spunkette Christine Keeler after meeting her on a posh country house weekend.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


spunkiness n. sexual attractiveness.

1987 Kathy Lette Girls’ Night Out (1995) 76 That kind of spunkiness doesn’t come naturally. He must have been taking handsome lessons.

1993 Peter Wilmoth Glad All Over 94 Back in the seventies, Palinthorpe was lost in a sea of overt spunkiness.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


spunk rat n. a sexy person. Also, spunk bandit, spunk bubble, spunk bucket.

1982 Sydney Morning Herald 19 June 43 ‘Gee, you know, that was great. And what about that spunk bucket, Edmund!’

1986 Colin Bowles G’DAY! 87 Spunk bandits are always in like Flynn and never get a knock-back.

1987 Kathy Lette Girls’ Night Out (1995) 214 And reassured each other that your men were either total sleaze schmuckos or hot spunk rats.

1988 ‘Kylie Mole’ (Maryanne Fahey) My Diary 12 Jason Donovan is a spunkrat.

1992 People (Sydney) 9 Dec 41/1 Spunkbubble Sophie Lee has been at a bit of a loose end since Sex came grinding to a halt. The TV program, that is.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND. Colloquially spunk rat is the commonest term.


stiffener n. a fortifying drink.

1948 Ruth Park Harp in the South xiii. 146 ‘I’ll bet Hughie’s got a few under his belt. Ain’t like him to carry a pall without getting in a few stiffeners first,’ chuckled someone coarsely.

1956 Arthur Upfield The Battling Prophet 16 I was thinkin’ then that if Ben didn’t come out from them funny sort of hoojahs pretty quick, I’d break our rule and give him a stiffener to keep him going.

1962 Elizabeth Lane Mad As Rabbits (1973) vii. 61 The woman had apparently turned back for a stiffener when she was half-way across the paddock, and had never reached the phone.

Notes: Postdating AND 1940.


streaker’s excuse n. the time-worn excuse ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time.’

1985 Alan Veitch Drunk, Insane or Australian? 37 When the magistrate asked Allana the reason why she streaked down the Randwick straight, she made the much-publicised reply: ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time’. This rather flippant response has now become firmly established in the Australian idiom and is known as ‘The Streaker’s Excuse’. In 1981, former Attorney General, Senator Gareth Evans, was reported to have used ‘The Streaker’s Excuse’ when he said his decision to order a RAAF spy plane over the Gordon-below-Franklin Dam ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’.

2005 Cool Running Australia website ( 26 Apr I suppose I could use the streakers excuse “seemed like a good idea at the time”, but in reality it is my own personal Mt Everest.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND. The streak that serves as the origin of this term was performed by Dave Cook and Allana Kereopa on Easter Saturday of 1974 during the Doncaster Handicap held at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse. More citations for this could presumably be found by reading the original newspaper reports of the incident.


Struth! / Strewth! interj. Gorblimey! Also, with rhyming expansion, Strewth, Ruth!

1905 Norman Lindsay in The Comic Art of Norman Lindsay (1987) 115 ‘Gov, struth, I thought this was a temperance hotel!’

1908 John H. Garth The Australian Magazine 1 Nov ‘Strewth!’ was the reply, ‘it was dead lively!’

1911 Louis Stone Jonah 9 “’Strewth!” cried Chook, looking at him in wonder. “Wot’s the game now?”

1915 CJ Dennis The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke “Wot's in a name?” she sez. ‘Struth, I dunno. / Billo is just as good as Romeo.’

ibid. [glossary] ’Struth – An emaciated oath.

1925 Erle Cox Out of the Silence 252 ‘Struth! I thought I was seein’ things when that tart showed up.’

1957 ‘Nino Culotta’ They’re a Weird Mob (1958) xii. 173 ‘Strewth!’ said Denis. ‘Wot’s wrong with ’er?’

1963 John Duffy Bully Beef and Lace i. 20 ‘Struth,’ grunted Ricker.

1982 Joe Andersen Winners Can Laugh ii. 13 ‘Struth, what’s ’e doin’ ’ere?’

2001 John Bryant Real Aussies Drive Utes II 103 ‘Strewth, Ruth!’ I exclaimed, bouncing out of my chair.

Notes: Not recorded in AND as it is originally British (recorded in the OED from 1892, in Rudyard Kipling). Nevertheless, this interjection is very common in Australia and identified as typically “ocker”. Here are a few early examples.


stumper n. the Jacky Winter, so called from its habit of perching on stumps.

[1931 Neville W. Cayley What bird Is That? (1935) 64 Jacky Winter…Also called Peter-Peter, Post-boy, Post-sitter, White-tail, Stump-bird, and Spinks.]

1932 A.H. Chisholm Nature Fantasy in Australia 161 …thus came the names ‘Jacky Winter’…and ‘Stumper’, familiar now to school-children in many parts of Australia.

1934 Henry G. Lamond An Aviary On The Plains xxxiv. 166 Goodness only knows what ornithologists call it, but when we were small boys, and with the peculiar aptitude for descriptive nomenclature which small boys possess, we called those birds “stumpers”.

Notes: Not in AND.


sweet pretty (little) creature interj. a fanciful representation of the call of the willy-wagtail.

1931 Neville W. Cayley What bird Is That? (1935) 68 It has a pleasant call resembling “Sweet pretty little creature,” frequently uttered during the day or night, especially on moonlight nights.

1934 Henry G. Lamond An Aviary On The Plains iii. 16 …Willie flits up, catches another insect, drops unconcernedly to his perch again, runs along the bullock’s back in his bounding-jockey act, swallows his meal and announces he’s a “sweet-pretty-little-creature!”

1939 Dorothy Wall The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill vi. 121 There she was, covered in sand from head to foot and some impertinent young fellow, who I really believe was Willie Wagtail, called out at the top of his voice: ‘Sweet pretty little creature’.

1940 Bernard O’Reilly Green Mountains 66 The scent of Dad’s beloved lilacs is in the air; a willy-wagtail pipes “Pretty little creature!” from the acacia tree.

1958 Olaf Ruhen Naked Under Capricorn ii. 34 There was a bird singing insistently, a willie wagtail repeating his call-sign over and over: “Sweet pretty creature, sweet pretty creature” – in the purest notes that ever issued from a feathered throat.

1959 Neville W. Cayley What bird Is That? (3rd ed.) 78 The chief call resembles the phrase “Sweet pretty creature”; it is frequently uttered during the day or night, especially on moonlit nights.

1962 Judith Wright Collected Poems 173 “Sweet-pretty-creature” – yes, but who is the one he sings it to? Not me - not you.

1999 Simpson & Day Field Guide to the Birds of Australia 230 A chattering, musical song (traditionally) ‘sweet, pretty creature’.

Notes: Not in Baker, Wilkes, AND.


tall poppy syndrome n. the tendency (of Australians) to be negative about people who are successful.

1983 Cairns Post 28 Oct 1 ‘Some people say it is the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome.’

1989 Adrian McGregor Wally and the Broncos xi. 153 To Arthur Summons he was a victim of the tall poppy syndrome.

1992 Robert G. Barrett Davo’s Little Something 51

2001 William Dodson The Sharp End iv. 47 To some extent Woodham has been a victim of the tall poppy syndrome, having his fair share of admirers as well as plenty of detractors among the prison officers he has commanded.

Notes: AND records tall poppy from 1902, but not this compound. Not in Wilkes either.


thumbnail dipped in tar phr. used allusively.

[1895 AB Paterson ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected, / (And I think the same was written with a thumbnail dipped in tar); / ’Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it: / ‘Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are.’]

1962 Dymphna Cusack Picnic Races (1978) vi. 69 There it is today, framed and hung in our hall – not too strong on the spelling, and written a bit in the thumbnail-dipped-in-tar style.

1973 John Larkins Australian Pubs 84 ‘Got a ciggy paper an’a thumbnail dipped in tar, eh?’

1978 John Hepworth John Hepworth: His Book 146 It was on a torn piece of thin rubbery material and the words looked as though they may very well have been written with a thumbnail dipped in a strong solution of Condy's crystals.

2002 Southwest Internet System website ( Send in stories, photos, letters to the editor. Write them with a thumbnail dipped in tar if you have to but contribute if you can.

Notes: Not in AND.


tiggy n. the child’s game of tip chasings (as opposed to tackle).

1976 Dorothy Hewett This Old Man Comes Rolling Home 23 Playin’ tiggy along the tramlines in the dusk.

1989 Hugh Lunn Over the Top with Jim 47 So they could always catch you at tiggy and could escape being hit by the ball at brandy[.]

Notes: Not in AND.


tiggy tiggy touchwood n. the child’s game of tip chasings (as opposed to tackle). Hence, applied derisively to AFL games with many penalties given for minor infringements. Also, tiggy touchwood, tiggy touch.

1934 Norman Lindsay Saturdee xiv. 152 ‘Tiggee touchwood’s a good game,’ he said at length. ‘Give you a game of tiggee touchwood.’

1970 Norman Lindsay My Mask (1973) v. 45 The small girl emerging, we played a game of tiggy-tiggy-touchwood, and after that, lolling on the grass, the subject of that notable difference between boys and girls was touched on[.]

1983 Jack Hibberd and Garrie Hutchinson The Barracker’s Bible 210 tiggy touchwood AR (peurile) [sic] Describes what is perceived as an unwarranted free kick, awarded because of some trivial infringement of a mild physical nature. A ‘tiggy touchwood’ game features cautious and uncourageous play. ‘Tiggy tiggy touchwood’, as a noun, is a game which features such play; invariably the fault of the central umpires.

1993 Herald Sun 30 May 44 I reckon there's enough umpires out there already! You don’t want it to be too tiggy touch.

1994 Traven Collins The Easy A-Z Footy Book TIGGY TOUCHWOOD - a form of play scorned by serious-minded commentators.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


top of the wozzer n. 1. the head serang. 2. adj. excellent, top quality.

1986 Colin Bowles G’DAY! 108 Marshall’s old man is top of the wozzer at some oil company.

1993 Bulletin 24 Aug 25 ‘Where,’ writes Wayne Grant, of Perth, ‘does the expression ‘top of the wozza’ come from?’ Apparently, according to Grant, the expression, is often used in Perth to describe something as the ultimate, the best. The derivation is rather on the scruffy side. The Wazza, or Wazzer, was the scene of two ‘battles’ between overexuberant Australian troops and Egyptians in 1915. The Wazza was the low native quarter. How the expression came to mean something good instead of something on the crook side is a mystery only Perth can unravel.

2003 Numbat IT Services website ( The United States of America may think it is top of the wozza and enforce it's will over the rest of the world. This is dangerous.

2003 Alice Springs News 5 Nov FEDERAL ON TOP OF THE WOZZER. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS. Federal cricketers continued their unbeaten run in the new season by accounting for Rovers with a first innings win at Albrecht Oval on Saturday.

2004 Micks Web Site ( The Interior was replaced with all new Ford XF Fairmont trim and Stratos seats, along with an Alpine and Rockford Fosgate stereo system and of course with a car like this a top of the wozza alarm system.

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


willie n. the willy-wagtail; also used as an affectionate name.

1934 Henry G. Lamond An Aviary On The Plains iii. 14 There, as the whistle starts, Willie flits up after some minute insect, catches it and returns to his walking perch as the whistle ends.

1939 Dorothy Wall The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill ix. 159 “Thank you very much,” Willie replied. “You know it is very difficult to gather the necessary materials for nest right here in the middle of the bush.”

1948 John Fairfax Run O’ Waters 121 But Willie cannot flirt with the black death which is the little falcon, the only bird capable of following and killing the green parrakeets as they tear through the foliage like feathered projectiles.

1968 Keith Weatherly The Roo Shooter (1969) 38 At night when they had done the evening run on their traps they would return home, and, as soon as they built up the camp fire, willie would welcome them with his cry of: “Oh my, what a pretty creature!”

Notes: Not in AND.


who’s up who, and who’s paying the rent? phr. What are the sexual and monetary relationships of such-and-such?

1966 Sidney J. Baker The Australian Language (2nd ed.) viii. 172 who’s up who (and who’s paying the rent)? Just what is happening? Who’s in Control? e.g. “Nobody knows who’s up who” etc., said of a complete mess-up.

1971 Frank Hardy The Outcasts of Foolgarah 5 Nine to five as the lowest of the low stamp money and petty cash clerk, humble, lick-spittling, yes-sirring, but quick to learn the ins and outs of the who’s up who in the rule ridden dung-heap of local government.

ibid. 147 “Try turning it on the other way, Mr. Meanswell, the public’s pipe has a female thread, while the tanker hose is fitted with a male thread (that’s so its clear who’s up who and who’s paying). That's better.”

1986 Richard Beckett The Dinkum Aussie Dictionary 54 Up who: Short form of ‘who’s up who and who’s paying the rent?’ An expression of general bewilderment in a bewildering situation; one where no one is in control and matters are entirely out of hand.

2005 Mark Latham The Latham Diaries 187 He’s not interested in the small talk of Labor politics – who’s up whom, who’s rooting his secretary and all that…

Notes: Not in AND. According to Baker this is WWII military slang.


upya interj. ‘Fuck you!’, ‘Get Stuffed!’

1972 Kings Cross Venus 1 Nov 20 ‘I am Professor Hup-Yu-Tu! Did’t you knock pletty rady?’

1976 David Ireland The Glass Canoe 211 When someone didn't leave promptly on closing time he told him to get out. Naturally the guy said up ya, he'd never had to do such a thing before.

Notes: Postdating AND 1955.


up you for the rent phr. ‘Fuck you!’, ‘Get Stuffed!’

1955 D'Arcy Niland The Shiralee 101 No, he said, I won't truckle to you. Upya for the rent. I'm as tough as the next one and I'll go out where the world is wide.

1968 Barry Humphries The Wonderful World of Barry McKenzie 1 ‘Up you for the rent, sport!!’

1971 Frank Hardy The Outcasts of Foolgarah 48 “Up the Garbos? It will depend on the emphasis: up the Garbos for the rent,” This with a vigorous Churchill gesture. “Or up the Garbos forever,” With a raised fist.
Ibid. 64 Others, like Chilla, driven forward, forced to flow out where they could tear up the rule books, ask the right questions, close all the options, burn all the bridges, giving the up-them-for-the-rent finger sign to the world of they, and see how many will join the world of we, there to declare that we are a pack of bastards, bastards are we - and what are you going to do about it?

1977 Jim Ramsay Cop It Sweet! 93 UP YOU: Contemptuous ejaculation of contempt [sic]. Also UP YOU FOR THE RENT.

1979 Derek Maitland Breaking Out 318 ‘You are, after all, the wife of a Government Minister, even if you do behave like a randy Neapolitan street slut in private.’ ‘Up yours for the rent,’ Celia reposted, hardly moving her soft, beautiful lips.

1986 Colin Bowles G’DAY! 35 Well jeez…orright then. Up you for the rent!

Notes: Postdating AND 1955.


wank n. a pretentious person or thing; pretentiousness.

1973 Kit Denton The Breaker 205 Gretel ‘Mark you, he’s fair! Got to be truthful – he’s a wank and an arsehole, but not an unfair man!’

1978 Overland 70 8 He took out the program. ‘Professor this and that,’ he said, ‘a bloody wank they are.’

1984 Sun-Herald 10 Jun 156 ‘That sounds like a wank, doesn’t it?’

1988 Peter Corris The Baltic Business 72 ‘Haven't seen you since that wank at the Institute.’

1992 Tracks Oct 66 After looking at what he does and how he does it, it's safe to say Trev has more guts than a Waimea regular, more heart than a dozen politicians, and a love of surfing that makes ASP glory look like a self-indulgent wank.

2001 Sydney Scope Magazine Feb 21/1 Unwieldy success aside, Tropfest retains its might as filmmaker’s protoplasm and a jolt of art wank orthodoxy.

Notes: See notes at wanker.


wank interj. denoting pretentious behaviour, attitude, etc.

1988 Tracks Oct 9 The pay-offs were excellent ie. Newport is a ‘nasty, tiring, frustrating spot’ and ‘if you can surf a spot like the Peak, you can surf just about anywhere’ (wank, wank). Gee golly whiz, Mr Carroll[.]

Notes: See notes at wanker.


wank on vi. to speak pretentiously.

1988 Passing Show (Sydney) #7 The MUSC election saw a great deal of wanking on - the type they say I know all about[.]

1988 Passing Show (Sydney) #7 Even when you do have your copy of Capital don’t read it. Instead, simply read the index and memorise the buzz words. These can be used to wank your way through highbrow Marxist polemics.

1993 Arena (Sydney) #2 16 I’d like to complain about the article in Arena (Vol.26 No.1) that wanks on endlessly about theatre at Macquarie.

Notes: See notes at wanker.


wanker n. a pretentious person.

1975 Ribald #140 20 I don’t feel bitter about these wankers ruling the roost though, I reckon each party would be capable of creating equal messes.

1978 James Barnett Head of the Force (1982) 37 If that collection of intellectual wankers cannot masturbate their egos within the privacy of their own offices when I need space for an operational enquiry, then surely they can use the briefing-rooms.

1984 Dorothy Johnston Tunnel Vision 43 ‘They come here to save your soul.’ She replaced the receiver. ‘What’s a nice girl like you. Blah-blah. They don't fool me, the wankers.’

1986 Richard Beckett The Dinkum Aussie Dictionary 56 Wanker: The literal translation is mental masturbator. Someone who is having himself on, thinks he’s pretty good, and doesn’t really know what he is talking about.

1987 Kathy Lette Girls’ Night Out (1995) 56 ‘You look like a suburban wanker getting round in that clobber.’

1988 Passing Show (Sydney) #7 To call someone a ‘wanker’ is not usually a reference to their masturbatory practices but rather an insult to their intelligence or character. In fact the work in this form is so far removed from the association with that taboo subject that in the 1970’s Paul Hogan could have a character appear on national television named Leo Wanker.

1989 Juke (Sydney) 1 Apr 12 The average person dismisses uni students as a bunch of wankers, and why not?

1991 Tim Winton Cloudstreet 84 Somewhere behind her, Ted was shouting at Chub not to be such a wanker and that he could flaminwell carry his own bag.

1990 John Blackman The Aussie Slang Dictionary 107 wanker - A bloke whose stupidity is only exceeded by his over-inflated opinion of himself. You can see these guys coming a mile away!

1999 Revolver (Sydney) 14 Jun 5 And one more thing every band and music person in Sydney is A CUNT, and an up themself WANKER[.]

1999 Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend 9 Oct 19 They started out as small-screen address books and mutated into the personal assistant model represented by the man's handbag, the Palm Pilot (a euphemism for wanker if ever there were one).

Notes: Originally British slang (since the 1950s), literally meaning `a (male) masturbator’, and in British English it is extended mean ‘an objectionable or contemptible person’ (OED 1972—1981). In Australia is has both of these meanings, but the primary sense is that of ‘pretension’, something that is particulary objectionable to the average Aussie, and intrinsically related to the tall poppy syndrome. It would seem from OED’s citations that this sense of preteniousness is also extant in British English, but it seems that there wanker is much more strongly negative and mostly restricted to the basic pejorative sense.


wankery n. pretentiousness. Also, wankerdom.

1993 Arena (Sydney) #2 17 Call it compassion, call it self-indulgent wankery, call it what you won’t change my motives.

2004 Sydney Morning Herald 5 Apr (website) And he was reluctant to do this interview because, first, his co-hosts deserve equal credit for Sunrise's success and, second, it might be a step down the road to wankerdom.

Notes: See notes at wanker.


wanky n. pretentious.

1979 National Times 15 Dec 4 ‘It was not a wanky actor thing of saying I became the character. It was a case of being the character. There was no way out.’

1981 Alex Buzo Meet the New Class 73 If you quote think unquote that bike riding is just another kind of wanky dot dot dot for the Cyril hyphen Smythes e t c and devoid of any quote significance unquote and you won't be moved then fair enough full stop[.]

1987 Kathy Lette Girls’ Night Out (1995) 103 ‘He’s such a wanker.’ ‘You know what? There's nothing wankier than sitting around calling everybody a wanker.’

1988 Passing Show (Sydney) #7 editorial I had hoped - as wanky, idealistic editors of uni magazines always do - to step over the boundaries and encourage you lot to move your immobile frames to a position where the world could be examined from a truly original, unconstructed perspective (shock value as art and all that.)

1992 Sydney Star Observer 21 Feb 36 How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? Fernandes: Rich and real really. Raye: Beautiful. Davis: Had this question not been so wanky I'd have said it was a privilege.

Notes: See notes at wanker.


wind wanker n. a sailboarder. Hence, wind wanking.

1987 Kathy Lette Girls’ Night Out (1995) 191 ‘Aren’t you a wind wanker, mate?’ Bruce interrogated, hostile as buggery.

1992 Tracks Oct 46 When it is two foot dribble and a screaming trade wind is playing host to 50,000 wind wankers you might start to feel left out of it.

ibid. 46 It’s not that bad, except they’re usually European windkooks who deck the room out with posters of their heroes and play wind-wanking videos all night!!

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.


Winnie n. a colloquial shortening of Winfield brand cigarettes.

2001 Gretel Killeen Hot Buns and Ophelia get shipwrecked 13 She then took a straw and blew the limp-bubble, algae-like substance from the rim of her latter and onto the hair of the pooing child’s mother, who was smoking a Winnie Blue while squatting on the lino.

2006 Daily Telegraph 3 Jun 22/5 In his heyday he would smoke Malboro Red. These days I think he’s on the Winnie Blues.

Notes: Not in AND.


wood duck n. a fool; specifically, a used-car customer who is easily duped.

1981 Sun (Melbourne) 23 May 8 A wood duck is the trade’s name for a naive customer who accepts a car and the asking price without question.

1984 Australian Penthouse July 36 Its purpose is to attract customers to the dealership by offering a bait which appears to represent astonishing value, then switching the wood duck into a much more expensive vehicle later.

1986 Richard Beckett The Dinkum Aussie Dictionary 57 Wood duck: Technically the Australian wood duck is classified as a maned goose. Thus anyone who is called a wood duck is a goose. An idiot.

1986 Colin Bowles G’DAY! 113 He’s decided to move to the Gong and work for his brother, stitching up wood duck in a car yard.

1995 Paul Vautin Turn It Up! 6

Notes: Not in Wilkes, AND.

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