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The Australian National University

British slang

Australian English’s sources for borrowings from British English were not limited to British dialects. There is another group of terms that is marked in the Australian National Dictionary as coming from ‘British slang’, as distinct from ‘British dialect’. Some of these are ‘underworld’ words, and no doubt many of them have their origin in London and its near counties. Given their colloquial nature, many of them have disappeared from Australian English, but some survive, and some others are included in the Australian Oxford Dictionary because of their historical significance. They include:

bludger (1882)
caser (1825)
chiack (1853)
cow (sense 3) (1864)
deener (1882)
dona (1874)
joker (sense 2) (1810)
lumber (verb 5) (1827)
moral (noun 3) (1873)
pebble (sense 4) (1848)
prad (1841)
ripper (sense 3) (1858)
ryebuck (1890)
shake (verb 9) (1845)
sheila (1832)
skinner (sense 3)
stiff (sense 10)
trap (noun 13) (1817)
tucker (noun 2) (1833)

Updated: 18 October 2010/ Responsible Officer:  Centre Director / Page Contact:  Web Publisher