Meanings and origins of Australian words and idioms

banana bender
A Queenslander. The term derives from the joke notion ( as perceived from the southern states of Australia ) that Queenslanders spend their meter putting bends into banana. An article from 15 July 1937 in the Queenslander provides a antecedent to the term when a man is asked by the Queen what his occupation is :
“ I ‘m a banana-bender ”. Further to enlighten her Majesty he explained that banana grew straight on the trees, and so equitable before they ripened, his was the job to mount the ladder, and with a specify writhe of the wrist, put into the yield the grecian bending that was half its charm .
The affiliation of banana with Queensland ( ‘banana nation ‘ ) is based on the extensive banana-growing diligence in tropical Queensland. The Queensland frame has been called the Banana curtain and Brisbane has been called Banana city. Banana bender, in mention to a Queenslander, is first recorded in 1940 and is public treasury normally learn.

1964 D. Lockwood Up the path : We are therefore close to Queensland that I think we should hop over the frame. What do you say to a promptly look at the banana-benders ?
2011 Northern Star ( Lismore ) 11 July : Should the Matilda ‘s [ sic ] have won stopping point night or the Netball Diamonds see off New Zealand, Anna Bligh will doubtless title it was due to the preponderance of banana benders in the squads or at the very least the resultant role of a Gold Coast vacation during their formative years .
bandicoot
soon after white settlement in 1788 the word bandicoot ( the appoint for the indian mammal Bandicota indica ) was applied to several australian mammals having retentive pointed heads and bearing some resemblance to their indian namesake. In 1799 David Collins writes of the ‘bones of little animals, such as opossums … and bandicoots ‘ .
From 1830s the parole bandicoot has been used in assorted distinctively australian phrases as an emblem of privation or bleakness. In 1837 H. Watson in Lecture on South Australia writes : ‘The land here is generally good ; there is a little proportion that is actually good for nothing ; to use a colonial phrase, “ a bandicoot ( an animal between a rat and a rabbit ) would starve upon it ”. ‘ typical examples include :

  • as miserable as a bandicoot
  • as poor as a bandicoot
  • as bald as a bandicoot
  • as blind as a bandicoot
  • as hungry as a bandicoot

probably from the percept of the bandicoot ‘s burrow habits, a raw australian verb to bandicoot arose towards the end of the nineteenth century. It means ‘to remove potatoes from the prime, leaving the tops undisturbed ‘. normally this action is clandestine .

1896 Bulletin 12 December : I must ‘bandicoot ‘ spuds from the cockies – Or go on the path !
1899 Bulletin 2 December : ‘Bandicooting’.. is a long-familiar term all over western Vic. potato-land. The bandicooter goes at night to a plain of ripe potatoes and cautiously extracts the tubers from the roots without disturbing the tops .

bandicoot: miserable as a bandicoot
extremely unhappy. Bandicoots are small marsupials with farseeing faces, and have been given a role in australian English in similes that suggest sadness or some kind of privation ( see above ). The expression miserable as a bandicoot was first gear recorded in the 1820s .
1828 Sydney Gazette 11 January : On her arrival here she found him living with another woman by whom he had several children, and from whom he was necessarily obliged to part, not, however, without identical honestly forewarning his wife, the award plaintiff, that he would make her arsenic deplorable as a bandicoot .
2005 R. Siemon The Eccentric Mr Wienholt : I am angstrom measly as a bandicoot having to sneak home like this .
banksia man
The bombastic woody cone of several Banksia species, originally as a quality in children ‘s stories. Banksia is the name of an australian genus of shrubs and trees with about 60 species. It was named after the botanist Sir Joseph Banks, who was on the Endeavour with James Cook on his voyage of discovery in 1770. After flowering, many banksias phase thickly woody cones, often in foreign shapes. It was on such grotesque shapes that May Gibbs modelled her banksia men in Snugglepot and Cuddlepie of 1918 : ‘She could see the glitter, wicked eyes of Mrs. Snake and the bushy heads of the bad Banksia men ‘ .
1927 K.S. Prichard Bid me to Love : Louise : .. See what I ‘ve got in my pocket for you … bill : ( diving into a pocket of her coat and pulling out a banksia cone ) A banksia man. Oh ma !
1979 E. Smith Saddle in the Kitchen : Hell was under the well near the cow paddock, deep and murky and peopled by gnarled and knobby banksia men who lurked there waiting for the unguarded to fall in .
barbecue stopper
A topic of capital populace matter to, specially a political one. The term derives from the notion that a subject is so concern that it could halt proceedings at a barbecue – and anything that could interrupt an Aussie barbecue would have to be very significant indeed ! The term was coined by australian choice curate John Howard in 2001 in the context of balancing work pressures with family responsibilities. Barbecue stopper is now used in a wide range of context. For an earlier discussion of the term see our Word of the Month article from August 2007 .
2007 Sun-Herald ( Sydney ) 11 March : Controlled cry is a guarantee barbecue show-stopper among australian parents, more dissentious than the old breast-versus-bottle eating debate .
2015 australian Financial Review ( Sydney ) 1 April : planning and zoning looms as a barbecue plug in leafy suburbs, where many residents and traders will defend to the final breath their quietly use and prisoner markets .
Barcoo
The diagnose of the Barcoo River in westerly Queensland has been used since the 1870s as a shorthand citation for the hardships, privations, and living conditions of the outback. Poor diets were common in remote control areas, with small access to fresh vegetables or fruit, and as a resultant role diseases caused by dietary deficiencies, such Barcoo rot —a form of scurvy characterised by chronic sores—were coarse. Katharine Susannah Prichard writes in 1946 : ‘ They were nothing to the torture he endured when barcoo rot attacked him. The great sores festered on his back, hands and legs : his lips disconnected and were raw and bleeding ’. Rachel Henning, in a letter to her sister in 1864, makes fun of her irish servants ’ fear of abject, for which they eat pigweed, ‘ preferably a nasty godforsaken plant, but supposed to be extremely wholesome, either chopped up with vinegar or boiled ’. Another illness probably caused by hapless diet was Barcoo sickness ( besides called Barcoo vomit, Barcoo spew, or equitable Barcoo ), a condition characterised by vomiting. ‘ Barcoo was prevailing among the kiddies and station-hands ; vomiting attacks lasting for days laid each broken in flex ’ .
happily, Barcoo can besides denote more positive aspects of outback animation : a improvised resourcefulness – a Barcoo dog is a rattle for herding sheep, which can be angstrom elementary as a tin can and a stick – or rough and ready behavior : ‘ The parrot ’ randomness language would have shamed a Barcoo bullocky ’. Barcoo can besides typify the crisp bush brain. Patsy Adam Smith relates the keep up fib : ‘ I see you ’ ve learnt the Barcoo Salute ’, said a Buln Buln Shire Councillor to the Duke of Edinburgh. ‘ What ’ s that ? ’ said His Royal Highness, waving his bridge player again to brush the flies off his face. ‘ That ’ s it ’, said the man from the bush-league .
barrack for
To give accompaniment or encouragement to ( a person, team, etc. ), normally by shouting names, slogans or exhortations. Some claim barrack comes from australian pidgin to poke borak at ‘to deride ‘, but its beginning is credibly from Northern Irish barrack ‘to boss ; to be boastful ‘. By itself barrack meant ‘to jeer ‘ ( and hush does in British English ), but the imprint barrack for transformed the jeer into cheering in australian English. First recorded in the 1880s .
1889 Maitland Mercury 24 August : Old dad was in his aura there – it gave the old man rejoice To fight a passage thro ‘ the herd and barrack for his son .
1971 D. Williamson Don ‘s Party : I take it you ‘ll be barracking for Labor tonight ?
2011 Gympie Times 28 January : He thought it was about time to take the pledge and officially become australian as he had barracked for our cricket team since 1955 .
barrier rise
The opening of the starting gates to begin a horserace. In horseracing the barrier is a starting gate at the racetrack. The news barrier is found in a number of horseracing terms in australian English including barrier blanket ( a heavy blanket placed over the flanks of a racehorse to calm it when entering a barrier procrastinate at the begin of a slipstream ), barrier test ( a practice race for young, inexperienced, or resuming racehorses ), and barrier rogue ( a racehorse that regularly misbehaves when being placed into a starting gate ). Barrier rise is first base recorded in the 1890s. For a more detail discussion of this term see our Word of the Month article from October 2010 .
1895 Argus ( Melbourne ) 11 March : Mr W. R. Wilson ‘s colt Merman, who, like Hova, was relatively friendless at barrier rise .
2011 Shepparton News 27 June : The talented Norman-trained trotter Tsonga, besides driven by Jack, speared across the confront of the field at barrier rebel from outside the front row in the mobile – and from then was never headed .
battler
The word battler has been in the english language for a long time. The word is a borrowing from french in the Middle English period, and think of, literally, ‘a person who battles or fights ‘, and figuratively ‘a person who fights against the odds or does not give up easily ‘. The match English news was feohtan which gives us advanced English ‘to fight ‘. English besides borrowed the son war from the french in the twelfth hundred ; it ‘s the same bible as modern french guerre .
But the word battler, at the end of the nineteenth century, starts to acquire some distinctively australian connotations. For this cause, it gets a guernsey in the australian National Dictionary .
1. It describes the person with few natural advantages, who works doggedly and with little reward, who struggles for a support ( and who displays courage in therefore doing ) .

Our first citation for this, not amazingly, comes from Henry Lawson in While the Billy Boils ( 1896 ) : ‘I sat on him pretty hard for his pretensions, and paid him out for all the trade he ‘d worked off on me .. and told him never to pretend to me again he was a combatant ‘ .
In 1941 Kylie Tennant writes : ‘She was a combatant, Snow admitted ; impudent, hardy, cool, and she could take a “ knock-back ” as though it did n’t matter, and come up to meet the adjacent blow ‘ .
In this tradition, K. Smith writes in 1965 : ‘Everybody in Australia has his military position. approximately speaking, there are three kinds of people in this country : the fat, the middle class and the battlers ‘ .
In the twenty-first century the term has been used in assorted political contests as this quotation in the australian from 1 July 2006 demonstrates : ‘The Prime Minister, who has built his success on an appeal to Australia ‘s battlers, is about to meet thousands more of them in his northerly Sydney induct of Bennelong ‘ .

2. It has besides been used of an unemployed or irregularly employed person .

a : ( in the area ) : a swagman or itinerant worker .
This sense is first recorded in the Bulletin in 1898 : ‘I found mend after patch destroy. Almost everyone I met blamed the unfortunate “ combatant ”, and I put it down to some of the Sydney “ talent ” until … I caught two Chows vigorously destroying melon-vines ‘ .
again in the Bulletin in 1906 we find : ‘They were old, white-bearded, travel-soiled battlers of the cut ‘ .
The parole is not much used in this sense now, but in 1982 Page & Ingpen in Aussie Battlers write : ‘The average australian ‘s effigy of a combatant does seem to be that of a Henry Lawson character : a bushie of the colonial era, complete with quart pot and sag, down on his luck but placid resourceful and cheerful ‘ .
bacillus : ( in an urban context ) : an unemployed person who lives by opportunism .
Frank Hardy in Tales of Billy Yorker ( 1965 ) writes : ‘Any Footscray combatant could get a few chew off Murphy, merely for the asking ‘ .
S. Weller, Bastards I have met ( 1976 ) writes : `He was a combatant, into all the lurks about the place and just one leap ahead of the coppers all the time ‘ .

3. A person who frequents racecourses in search of a live, clairvoyance. from punting. The word is used in Australia with this sense from the end of the nineteenth hundred .

Cornelius Crowe in his australian Slang Dictionary ( 1895 ) gives : ‘ Battlers bedraggled backers of horses even sticking to the game ‘ .
In 1925 A. Wright in The Boy from Bullarah notes : ‘He betook himself with his few remaining shillings to the home of the combatant – Randwick [ a racetrack in Sydney ] ‘ .

4. A prostitute .

In 1898 we find in the Bulletin : ‘A bludger is about the lowest grade of human thing, and is a whorehouse bang-up … A combatant is the feminine ‘ .
C.W. Chandler in Darkest Adelaide ( c. 1907 ) writes : ‘Prostitution though most awful and degrading in any shape or class reaches its most prevent form when marital women are found out battling for cash ‘. And promote : `I told him I would not mind taking on a prostitute myself – an supernumerary good combatant preferred ‘ .

Meanings 2. 3. and 4 have now disappeared from australian English, and it is meaning 1 which has become enshrined in the linguistic process, specially in the phrase little Aussie battler. This is even the person of the Henry Lawson tradition, who, ‘with few natural advantages, works doggedly and with little reward, struggles for a support ( and displays courage in indeed doing ) ‘. But possibly the battler of contemporary Australia is more probable to be paying down a large mortgage quite than working hard to put food on the table !
berley
Berley is ground-bait scattered by an angler in the water to attract fish to a line or bait. Anglers use a diverseness of baits for berley, such as boodle, or pisces heads and guts. Poultry mash and tinned cat food make more unusual berleying material, although this pales beside a Bulletin article in 1936 suggesting ‘a kerosene-tinful of rabbit carcasses boiled to a pulp ‘ as the best berley for Murray collect. Berley first appears in 1852 as a verb – to berley is to scatter ground-bait. The writer observes that the locals are baiting a fish spotlight ( ‘ burley-ing ’ ) with burn fish. The inaugural attest for the noun occurs in the 1860s. The beginning of the password is stranger .
big note
To display or boast of one ‘s wealth ; to exaggerate one ‘s own importance, achievements, etc. The terminus is first recorded in the 1920s. In the 1950s a big note man ( late called a big noter )   was a person who handled or bet big sums of money – big notes. In pre-decimal currentness days the larger the denomination, the bigger the bill. Big-noting rise from the connection between flashing boastfully sums of money about and showing off .
1941 Courier-Mail ( Brisbane ) 18 February : There was no trace that Coates had the revolving door for any sinister aim. He had admitted producing it to ‘big note ‘ himself in the eyes of the new woman and her parents .
2012 D. Foster Man of Letters : He ‘s never been one to big-note himself .
bikie
A extremity of a gang of motorcyclists. Bikie follows a identical common convention in australian English by incorporating the -ie ( or -y ) suffix. This suffix works as an informal marker in the language. In early manipulation bikie much referred to any penis of a motorcycle ( motorbike ) gang or baseball club – much associated with youth culture. In more recent times the term is frequently associated with gangs of motorcylists operating on the fringes of legality. Bikie is first recorded in the 1960s. For a more detailied discussion of the term see our Word of the Month article from March 2014 .
1967 Kings Cross Whisper ( Sydney ) thirty-two : Bikie, a penis of a gang or a clubhouse of people concerned in motor bikes .
2015 Northern Territory News ( Darwin ) 28 May : We need to stop romanticising the impression that bikies are basically good blokes in leather vests. Some bikies procure, distribute and sell drugs through their ‘associates ‘, who in turn sell them to kids .
bilby
The bilby is either of two australian bandicoots, particularly the rabbit-eared bandicoot Macrotis lagotis, a burrowing marsupial of woodlands and plains of dry parts of mainland Australia. The word is a borrow from Yuwaalaraay ( an Aboriginal terminology of northerly New South Wales ) and neighbor languages. The bilby is besides known as dalgyte in western Australia and little finger in South Australia. Since the early 1990s there have been attempts to replace the Easter bunny with the Easter bilby. At Easter it is immediately possible to buy cocoa bilbies. Bilby is first recorded in the 1870s .
1877 Riverine Grazier ( Hay ) 6 June : There is besides all over this part of the country a small animal which burrows in the ground like a rabbit : it is called a rabbit-eared bandicoot, and is found everywhere, about, astir here, in great numbers .
2015 Centralian Advocate ( Alice Springs ) 10 April : mining action can besides cause direct and indirect mental disorder to sites inhabited by bilbies .
billabong
An arm of a river, made by water flowing from the independent pour ( normally only in meter of deluge ) to form a backwater, blind brook, anabranch, or, when the water grade falls, a pool or lagoon ( much of considerable extent ) ; the dry bed of such a formation. Billabongs are often formed when floodwaters recede. The son comes from the south-western New South Wales Aboriginal speech Wiradjuri : bila ‘ river ’ + slam ( a suffix probably indicating a continuance in clock time or distance, or functioning as an intensifier ), the combination signifying a watercourse that runs only after rain. First recorded in the 1830s .
1861 Burke & Wills Exploring dispatch : At the end of a identical long waterhole, it breaks into billibongs, which continue splitting into arenaceous channels until they are all lost in the earthy territory .
2015 Northern Territory News ( Darwin ) 13 May : It will soon offer more activities including fish at a nearby billabong once the area is declared croc-free .
billy
A vessel for the boiling of water, making of tea, etc., over an open fire ; a cylindrical container, normally of can, enamel consume, or aluminum, fitted with a hat and a telegram handle. It comes from the scots dialect son billy-pot intend ‘ cooking utensil ’. possibly reinforced by bouilli tin ( record 1858 in Australia and 1852 in New Zealand, with discrepancy bang-up tin recorded in New Zealand in 1849 but not until 1920 in Australia ), an vacate canister that had contained preserved beef bouilli ‘bully gripe ‘, used as a container for cooking. It is not, as popularly think, related to the Aboriginal word billabong. Billy is first recorded in the 1840s .
1859 W. Burrows Adventures of a Mounted Trooper in the Australain Constabulary : A ‘billy ‘ is a tin vessel, something between a saucepan and a kettle, constantly black outside from being constantly on the fire, and looking embrown at heart from the measure of tea that is by and large to be seen in it .
2005 Australian ( Sydney ) 12 November : The green ants, we learn late, are a form of bush medicine that others choose to consume by boiling the nest in a truncheon and drinking the agonistic and distill contents .
billycart
A child ’ mho four-wheel handcart. Billycart is a shorten phase of the australian terminus billy-goat handcart which dates back to the 1860s. In earlier times the term applied to a little cart, often two-wheel, that was pulled by a goat. These billycarts were used for such purposes as home deliveries, and they were besides used in races. The terminus was then applied to any homemade baby buggy. Billycart is recorded in the beginning decade of the twentieth century .
1952 J.R. Tyrrell Old Books : As boys, Fred and I delivered books round Sydney in a billycart .
1991 T. Winton Cloudstreet : Bits of break billycarts and boxes litter the position beneath the sagging clothesline .
bindi-eye
Any of respective plants bearing barbed fruits, particularly herbs of the far-flung genus Calotis ; the fruit of these plants. Bindi-eye is oftened shorten to bindi, and can be spelt in several ways including bindy-eye and bindii. The parole is from the Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay Aboriginal languages of northerly New South Wales. Bindi-eye is normally considered a weed when found in one ‘s lawn. Many a child ‘s play has been painfully interrupted by the abrupt barb of the plant which have a habit of sticking into the sole of one ‘s foot. Bindy-eye is beginning recorded in the 1890s .
1894 Queenslander ( Brisbane ) 11 August : Fancy him after working a throng of sheep through a patch of Bathurst Burr, or doing a day ‘s exercise in a paddock where the grass seed was bad and bindy-eyes thick .
2015 Australian ( Sydney ) 3 January : You know it ‘s summer when the frangipani flower in their happy colours, when the eucalyptus flower provides a feast for the rosellas – and when the bindi-eyes in your lawn punish you for going barefoot .
bingle
A crusade or brush ; a collision. Bingle is possibly from cornish dialect bing ‘a thump or shock ‘. Most other words derived from cornish dialect in australian English were originally related to mining, including fossick. The password is frequently used to refer to a car collision. Bingle is first recorded in the 1940s .
1966 R. Carr Surfie : There was this clang of metallic element on metallic and both cars lurched over to the shoulder and we closely went for a single .
2015 Daily Telegraph ( Sydney ) 12 April : In fact some of Hughesy and Kate ‘s listeners are laughing so arduous they have to pull over in their cars or risk having a single on the way second from work .
bitser
A cur. A chase ( or early animal ) which is made up of a act of this and a bit of that. This mean is common today, but when bitser first appeared in the 1920s it referred to any appliance or vehicle that was made of spare parts, or had odd bits and pieces added. Bitser is an abbreviation of ‘ bits and pieces ’, and in the bastard sense is first recorded in the early 1930s .
1934 Advertiser ( Adelaide ) 14 May : ‘Well, what kind of chase is it ? ‘ he asked. The little female child pondered. ‘I think he must be a bite of everything. My friends call him a “ bitzer ” ‘, she replied .
2005 Herald Sun ( Melbourne ) 27 November : We had lots of cats and dogs. My favorite was a bitser named Sheila .
black stump
The black stump of australian legend first appears in the late nineteenth hundred, and is an complex number marker at the limits of colony. Anywhere beyond the black stump is beyond civilization, deep in the outback, whereas something this side of the black stump belongs to the known earth. Although the towns of Blackall, Coolah and Merriwagga each claim to possess the original black stump, a single stump is improbable to be the origin of this term. It is more probable that the burn and blackened tree stumps, omnipresent in the outback, and used as markers when giving directions to travellers is the origin – this feel of black stump is recorded from 1831 .
1898 Launceston Examiner 5 November : The mistake in the past has been the bit-by-bit and patchwork nature of our public oeuvre policy. 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 .
1967 J. Wynnum I ‘m Jack, all right : It ‘s manner back o ‘ Bourke. Beyond the Black Stump. not shown on the gasoline place maps, even .
2003 Sydney Morning Herald 29 July : Our own wine writer, Huon Hooke, does n’t know the wine but suspects it comes from a region between Bandywallop and the Black Stump .
Blind Freddy
A very unperceptive person ; such a person as a type. This term much appears in the phrase even blind Freddy could see that. Although the condition may not derive from an actual person, early commentators associate it with a blind Sydney character or characters. australian lexicographer Sidney Baker wrote in 1966 that ‘Legend has it that there was a blind falconer in Sydney in the 1920s, named Freddy, whose blindness did not prevent his moving freely about the central city sphere ‘. early commentators suggest a quality who frequented versatile Sydney sporting venues in the first decades of the twentieth hundred could be the original Freddy. The term itself is first recorded in 1911 .
1911 Sydney Sportsman 19 July : Billy Farnsworth and [ Chris ] McKivatt seem to suit one another down to the crunch as a pair of halves, but then Blind Freddie could n’t help taking Chris ‘s passes .
2013 S. Scourfield As the River Runs : Blind Freddie could see Emerald Gorge is a natural dam locate .
blood: your blood’s worth bottling
You ’ re a actually valuable person ! You ’ re a firm friend ! This is one of the many Australianisms, along with terms such as ‘ power shovel ’, ‘ Anzac ’ and ‘ Aussie ’, that arose during or immediately following the inaugural World War. It applied to a person of capital kernel, who displayed courage, loyalty, and mateship. It is now used in many contexts – ‘ Those firefighters—their blood ’ s worth bottling ! ’
blouse
To defeat ( a rival ) by a very small margin ; to win narrowly. This verb derives from the noun blouse meaning ‘the silk jacket worn by a cheat ‘. As the origin of this word would indicate, much of the tell is from the mutant of horseracing. First recorded in the 1980s. For a detailed discussion of blouse see our Word of the Month article from November 2009 .
2001 Herald Sun ( Melbourne ) 22 June : Four years ago at this background – Mark Taylor ‘s death one-day appearance for Australia – England smashed 4-253 to blouse Australia on a typically good bat clean .
2015 Kalgoorlie Miner 2 March : The Meryl Hayley-trained speedster, chasing four wins in a line, was bloused in a thrilling polish by Cut Snake with a further head to third placegetter, Danreign .
bludger
This word is a survival of British gull bludger, meaning ‘a prostitute ‘s pimp ‘. The password is ultimately a shorten of bludgeoner. A bludgeoner ( not surprisingly ) was a person who carried a bludgeon ‘a short-circuit portly stick or club ‘. It appears in a mid-nineteenth hundred English slang dictionary as a term for ‘a low thief, who does not hesitate to use violence ‘ .
By the 1880s the ‘prostitute ‘s pimp ‘ sense of bludger is found in australian sources. In the Sydney Slang Dictionary of 1882 bludgers are defined as ‘plunderers in caller with prostitutes ‘. Cornelius Crowe, in his australian Slang Dictionary ( 1895 ), defines a bludger as ‘a thief who will use his club 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 intend until the mid-20th century. Thus Dorothy Hewett in her turn Bobbin Up ( 1959 ) writes : ‘But what about libel ? ‘ ‘There ‘s a list for a serviceman who lives off women ! ‘ ‘Ca n’t you get pinched for calling a man a bludger ? ‘ But this mean is now disused .
From the early twentieth hundred it moved out to be a more general term of mistreat, particularly as applied to a person who appears to live off the efforts of others ( as a pander lives on the earnings of a prostitute ). It was then used to refer to a person engaged in non-manual parturiency – a white-collar worker. This smell appears angstrom early as 1910, but its typical use is represented by this passing from D. Whitington ‘s Treasure Upon Earth ( 1957 ) : ‘ ” Bludgers ” he dubbed them early, because in his terminology anyone who did not work with his hands at a laboring job was a bludger ‘ .
And so it came to mean ‘an idle, one who makes fiddling campaign ‘. In the war newspaper Ack Ack News in 1942 we find : ‘Who said our sappers are bludgers ? ‘ By 1950, it could be used of animals which did n’t perform up to standard. J. Cleary in Just let me be writes : ‘Everything I backed run like a no-hoper. Four certs I had, and the bludgers were thus far back the ambulance about had to bring ’em home ‘ .
And thence to ‘a person who does not make a bazaar contribution to a monetary value, enterprise etc. ; a moocher ‘. D. Niland writes in The Shiralee ( 1955 ) : ‘Put the nips into me for tea and sugar and tobacco in his common style. The biggest bludger in the country ‘. In 1971 J. O’Grady writes : ‘When it comes to your sour, return the “ shout ”. Otherwise the word will spread that you are a “ bludger ”, and there is no bad thing to be ‘ .
The term dole bludger ( i.e. ‘one who exploits the system of unemployment benefits by avoiding gainful employment ‘ ) made its first appearance in 1970s. An early example from the Bulletin encapsulates the derogative tone : ‘A genuine dole bludger, a particularly literate young man … explained that he was n’t bothering to look for work any more because he was nauseated and tire of being treated like a chattel ‘ ( 1976 ). From the follow class we have a citation indicating a reaction to the use of the condition : Cattleman ( Rockhampton ) ‘Young people are being forced from their country homes because of a miss of work opportunities and the only response from these alleged political protectors is to label them as dole bludgers ‘ .
Throughout the history of the news, 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 ‘ ( 1908 Truth 27 September ) – but it was shortlived .
bluey
The password bluey in australian English has a diverseness of meanings. The most park is the sag ( i.e. the solicitation of possessions and casual necessaries carried by a person travelling, normally on foundation, in the pubic hair ) sol called because the outer covering of the swag was traditionally a blue blanket ( which is besides called a bluey ). The earliest tell for bluey as a stagger is from 1878 where the bluey is humped as it was by the itinerant bush proletarian tramping the wallaby track in the works of writers such as Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson .
This visualize ( an Australian stereotype ) is epitomised in the follow 1899 quotation for bluey :

There ‘s the everlasting swagman with his bluey on his back who is striking out for sunset on the Never-never track. W.T. Goodge, Hits ! Skits ! and Jingles

The association of the swagman and his bluey continues in more recent testify for the term :

A swagman on the spur of the moment appeared out of the bush, unshaven, with baseless, haunt eyes, his bluey and billycan on his back. G. Cross, George and Widda-Woman ( 1981 )

That bluey is later transferred to luggage in general, is possibly not surprise in an urban society which romanticises its ‘bush ‘ custom :

Where ‘s yer bluey ? No baggage ? J. Duffy, Outside Pub ( 1963 )

In Tasmania, a bluey or Tasmanian bluey is :

a grating overcoat of blue-grey woolen, to be worn by those doing outdoor solve during inclement upwind. Canberra Times ( 19 Nov. 1982 ) .

The word has been used to denote another item of clothing – jean working trousers or overalls – but the citation evidence indicates ( the death citation being 1950 ) that this usage is no longer current .
More familiar is the use of bluey to describe a summons, particularly for a traffic offense ( in the first place printed on blue paper ) :

Imagine my shock upon returning to a bluey at the end of the day. Choice ( 2 April 1986 )

possibly the most australian use of bluey is the curious consumption of it to describe a red-headed person ( first recorded in 1906 ) :

1936 A.B. 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 early. )
1978 R.H. Conquest, Dusty Distances : I found out former that he was a native of New South Wales, called ‘ Bluey because of his red hair – typical australian logic.

A more misprint function of bluey in australian English is its application to fauna whose names begin with blue and which is predominantly blue sky in color :

1961 Bulletin 31 May : We call them bluing martins … Ornithologists refer to them as some species of wood accept … They ‘re all ‘blueys ‘ to us .

bodgie
There are two senses of the parole bodgie in australian English, both probably deriving from an earlier ( now obsolete ) word bodger .
The disused bodger probably derives from british dialect botch ‘to knead clumsily ‘. In australian English in the 1940s and 1950s bodger think of : ‘Something ( or occasionally person ) which is imposter, false, or despicable ‘. The noun was besides used adjectivally. typical uses :

1950 F. Hardy, Power without aura : This entailed the summation of as many more ‘bodger ‘ votes as possible .
1954 Coast to Coast 1953-54 : well, we stuck together all through the war – we was in under bodger names .
1966 S. Baker, The australian language : An earlier underworld and Army use of bodger for something faked, despicable or shoddy. For example, a forge receipt or delusive name.. is a bodger ; so is a shoddy nibble of fabric sold by a door-to-door falconer .

The discussion bodger was altered to bodgie, and this is now the standard form :

1975 Latch & Hitchings, Mr X : To avoid any suspicions in subject they were picked up by the Transport Regulation Board, it was decided.. to take a ‘bodgy ‘ reception for the tyres with them .
1978 O. White, Silent Reach : This bus is hot – else why did they give it a one-coat spray job over the original white duco and fix it with bodgie act plates ?
1984 Canberra Times 27 August : Allegations .. of branch-stacking and the habit of hundreds of ‘bodgie ‘ members in the electorate .

In the 1950s another sense of bodgie arise. The word was used to describe a male youth, distinguished by his conformity to certain fashions of full-dress and larrikin behavior ; analogous to the british ‘teddy son ‘ :

1950 Sunday Telegraph ( Sydney ) 7 May : The bizarre uniform of the ‘bodgey ‘ – belted velvet cord crown, bright bluing sports coat without a tie, brown trousers narrowed at the ankle, bushy Cornel Wilde haircut .
1951 Sydney Morning Herald 1 February : What with ‘bodgies ‘ growing their haircloth hanker and getting around in satin shirts, and ‘weegies ‘ [ see widgie ] cutting their hair short and wear jeans, confusion seems to be be arising about the sex of some australian adolescents .

This common sense of bodgie seems to be an abbreviation of the bible bodger with the addition of the -ie ( -y ) suffix. One explanation for the development of the adolescent larrikin sense was offered in the Age ( Melbourne ) in 1983 :

Mr Hewett says his research indicates that the term ‘bodgie ‘ rebel around the Darlinghurst area in Sydney. It was precisely after the conclusion of World War II and rationing had caused a brandish black market in American-made fabric. ‘People used to try and pass off inferior fabric as American-made when in fact it was not : so it was called “ bodgie ”, ‘ he says. ‘When some of the young guys started talking with american english accents to big-note themselves they were called “ bodgies ”. ‘

This smell of bodgie belongs chiefly to the 1950s, but bodgie in the sense ‘fake, false, inferior, despicable ‘ is animated and flourishing in australian English .
bogan
An artless and unsophisticated person ; a boorish and coarse 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 westerly New South Wales, but this is far from certain, and it seems more probably to be an unrelated coinage .
The term became widespread after it was used in the late 1980s by the fabricated schoolgirl ‘Kylie Mole ‘ in the television series The Comedy Company. In the Daily Telegraph ( 29 November 1988 ), in an article headed ‘Same name a real bogan ‘, a genuine schoolgirl named Kylie Mole ‘reckons it in truth sux ‘ “ [ i, finds it atrocious ] to have the lapp name as the television character .
In Dolly Magazine, October 1988, ‘The Dictionary According To Kylie [ Mole ] ‘ has the following Kyliesque definition : bogan ‘a person that you equitable do n’t bother with. person who wears their socks the incorrectly direction or has the lapp number of holes in both legs of their stockings. A complete failure ‘ .
The earliest testify we have been able to find for the term is in the surfing magazine Tracks September 1985 : ‘So what if I have a mohawk and tire Dr Martens ( boots for all you uninformed bogans ) ? ‘
In more late years the term bogan has become more wide used and is frequently found in context that are neither derogative or negative. The term has besides generated a number of early terms including bogan chick, boganhood, and cashed-up bogan (CUB) .
2002 Age ( Melbourne ) 16 July : Campbell, 25, did not grow up as a bogan dame. She had a quieten, middle-class upbringing in Box Hill, attending a private girls ‘ school .
2006 Canberra Times 9 August : We enjoy drinking, pig-shooting, wear check flannelette shirts and have no common sense or dependable taste … Our geographic pass is elastic ; residents of Taree and like communities, for example, may readily qualify for Boganhood, normally with little or no burdensome paperwork .
2013 Sydney Morning Herald 7 December : Douglas ‘ volley sparked a semantic argument about the use of ‘bogan ‘, with Palmer and others claiming the once-pejorative term had become more jocosely. Inclusive. Affectionate, even … ‘We ‘re all bogans. I ‘m a bogan because I ‘m corpulence. ‘ His titular party head seconded that, claiming promptly to have ‘spent most of [ his ] life sentence as a bogan ‘. ‘All I can say is I like chips ‘, Mr Palmer demurred. ‘I wear Ugg boots and I go four-wheel-driving. ‘
2015 Sunday Times ( Perth ) 25 January : WA ‘s mining boom has given rise to a new kind of bogan – the CUB, or cashed-up bogan .
For promote discussions of bogan see our Word of the Month article from Novemeber 2008, and a 2015 article ‘Bogan : from Obscurity to Australia ‘s most productive Word ‘ in our newsletter Ozwords .
bogey
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 :

1788 Historical Records of New South Wales II : I have bathed, or have been bathing … Bogie d’oway. These were Colby ‘s words on coming out of the water system .
1830 R. Dawson, Present State of Australia : ‘Top morsel, massa, bogey, ‘ ( bathe ) and he threw himself into the water .

By the 1840s it was naturalised in australian english :

1841 Historical Records of Australia : I suppose you want your Boat, Sir ; Yes, said Mr Dixon ; well, said Crabb I suppose we must bogey for it. Yes, said Mr Dixon, any two of ye that can swim .

In australian English a noun mean ‘a swim or bathe ; a bathe ‘ was formed from the verb :

1847 A. Harris, Settlers and Convicts : In the cool of the even had a ‘bogie ‘ ( bathe ) in the river .
1869 W.M. Howell, Diggings and Bush : florence was much amused the other even by her ask if she ( Flory ) was going down to the body of water to have a ‘bogey ‘. Flory was much puzzled till she found out that a ‘bogey ‘, in colonial wording, meant a bath .
1924 Bulletin : A wild boar was discovered by two of us having a bogey in a 16,000-yard tank about five miles from the river .
1981 G. Mackenzie, Aurukun Diary : A bogy is the Queensland outback word for a bathe 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 2010 .
bombora
A wave that forms over a submerged offshore witwatersrand or rock, sometimes ( in very calm upwind or at high tide ) merely swelling but in early conditions breaking heavily and producing a dangerous stretch of collapse water. The word is now normally used for the reef or rock itself .
1994 P. Horrobin Guide to Favourite Australian Fish ( erectile dysfunction. 7 ) : Like most inshore seawater predators, Salmon hunt around rocky headlands, offshore islands and bomboras [ etc. ] .
Bombora probably derives from the Aboriginal Sydney Language where it may have referred specifically to the current off Dobroyd Head, Port Jackson. The terminus is by and large used in New South Wales, where there are numerous bomboras along the slide, often close to cliffs. The term was beginning recorded in 1871 and is nowadays used frequently in surfing and fishing context with its abbreviation bommie and bommy being coarse : ‘After a day of greasy, command processing overhead time bommie waves, we decided to head to the public house ’ ( 2001 Tracks August ) .
Bondi tram: shoot through like a Bondi tram
Used allusively to refer to a hasty passing or rapid legal action. Bondi is the Sydney suburb renowned global for its surf beach. The phrase ( first recorded in 1943 ) credibly derives from the fact that two trams typically left the city for Bondi together, the first an press out tramcar which would ‘ shoot through ’ from Darlinghurst to Bondi Junction. Trams stopping point run on the line in 1960, but the idiom has remained a character of australian English .
2014 Wimmera Mail Times ( Horsham ) 14 April : The ledger is aimed at unseasoned adults and the new at center … ‘It took off like a Bondi tramcar ‘, she said .
bonzer
Bonzer is an adjective entail ‘surpassingly thoroughly, excellent, great ‘. The son is besides used as a noun meaning ‘ something ( or person ) that excites admiration by being surpassingly good of its kind ’, and as an adverb mean ‘beautifully, excellently ‘. Bonzer is possibly an revision of the now disused Australian discussion bonster ( with the like mean ) which possibly ultimately derives from british dialect bouncer ‘anything very large of its kind ‘. Bonzer may besides be influenced by french bon ‘ good ’ and US boom. 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 twentieth hundred :
( noun ) 1903 Morning Post ( Cairns ) 5 June : The little pony outlaw is wonderfully fast at disposing of his mounts. Yuong Jack Hansen undertake to sit him but failed at every try. Jack states he got a ‘bonza on the napper ‘, at one time when shed .
( adjective ) 1904 Argus ( Melbourne ) 23 July : The python is shedding his bark … ‘I say, Bill, ai n’t his noo skin bonza ? ‘
( adverb ) 1914 B. cable By Blow and Kiss : Came spinal column grinning widely, with the assurance that it [ south carolina. the rain ] was coming toss off ‘Bonzer ‘ .
boofhead
A fritter or simpleton ; a dazed person ; an coarse person. Boofhead derives from buffle-headed ‘having a oral sex like a buffalo ‘ ( OED ) and bufflehead ‘a chump, dunce, stupid boyfriend ‘ ( OED ). Bufflehead has disappeared from criterion English, but survives in its australian form boofhead. It was popularised by the practice of boofhead as the list of a dimwitted amusing strip character invented by R.B. Clark and introduced in the Sydney Daily Mail in May 1941. For an earlier discussion of the word see our Word of the Month article from December 2009 .
1943 australian Women ‘s Weekly ( Sydney ) 16 January : Many a time when his round off head nodded wisely in agreement with the police sergeant ‘s explanations, the police sergeant was tempted to think : ‘I do n’t believe the boof-head knows what I ‘m talking about. ‘
2015 Daily Telegraph ( Sydney ) 23 April : For those who think we should follow the Kiwis in tax, feel free to move there. We get their boofheads so they can have ours .
boomerang
Boomerang is an australian password which has moved into International English. The word was borrowed from an aboriginal language in the early years of european colony, but the demand language is still uncertain. early testify 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 discussion was given a variety of spellings : bomerang, bommerang, bomring, boomereng, boomering, bumerang [ etc ] .
The australian Aboriginal boomerang is a crescent wooden implement used as a missile or baseball club, in hunting or war, and for amateur purposes. The best-known type of boomerang, used primarily for refreshment, can be made to circle in flight and return to the potter. 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 10,000 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, northeast Arnhem Land, and Tasmania. In some regions boomerangs are decorated with designs that are either painted or cut into the forest .
very early in australian English the terminus boomerang was used in transfer and figurative senses, specially with reference point to something which returns to or recoils upon its generator. These senses are now part of International English, but it is interesting to look at the earliest australian attest for the summons of transfer and figural practice :

1846 Boston Daily Advertiser 5 May : Like the strange projectile which the Australian throws, Your verbal boomerang slaps you on the nose .
1894 Bulletin ( Sydney ) 7 July : The controversy that there should be profitable industrial prison-labour is a boomerang with a disgusting kick back .
1911 Pastoralists ‘ Review 15 March : Labour-Socialist legislation is backfire legislation, and it broadly comes back and hits those it was not intended for .

By the 1850s boomerang had besides developed as a verb in australian English, meaning ‘to hit ( person or something ) with a boomerang ; to throw ( something ) in the manner of a boomerang ‘. By the 1890s the verbal feel developed another meaning : ‘to fall in the manner of a boomerang ; to recoil ( upon the writer ) ; to ricochet ‘. The earliest tell for this sense occurs in the Brisbane Worker newspaper from 16 May 1891 :

Australia ‘s a boastfully nation
An ‘ Freedom ‘s humping bluey
And Freedom ‘s on the wallaby
Oh do n’t you hear her Cooee,
She ‘s fair begun to boomerang
She ‘ll knock the tyrants silly .

On 13 November 1979 the Canberra Times reported that ‘Greg Chappell ‘s decision to send England in appeared to have boomeranged ‘ .
These verbal senses of boomerang have besides moved into International English. For a far discussion of boomerang see the article ‘Boomerang, Boomerang, Thou Spirit of Australia ! ‘ in our Ozwords newsletter .
bottle: the full bottle
Knowledgeable, an expert— ‘ Does Robbo know anything about paving ? Yeah mate, he ’ s the wax bottle. ’ The probable generator of the phrase is the nineteenth century british term no bottle ‘ no effective ’ ( which in turn is credibly an abbreviation of rhyming gull no bottle and glass ‘ no class ’ ). In Australia the full bottle came to mean ‘ very good ’, and then ‘ very good at, intimate about ( something ) ’. It is frequently used in the negative – not the full bottle means ‘ not good ( at something ) ’ or ‘ not fully informed ’. The phrase is first recorded in the 1940s .
1946 West Australian ( Perth ) 12 January : The B.M. went to ensure that the provost on duty was a full moon bottle on the art of saluting full generals .
2005 Daily Telegraph ( Sydney ) 8 December : give that her cousins are real-life princesses, Makim should be the broad bottle on the art of pour and drinking tea like a dame .
bottom of the harbour
A tax avoidance scheme. In the deep 1970s a large count of bottom of the harbour schemes were operating in corporate Australia. The schemes involved buying a company with a large tax liability, converting the assets to cash, and then ‘ hiding ’ the company by, for case, selling it to a assumed buyer. Thus the caller ( and often its records ) vanished wholly – figuratively sent to the ‘ bottom of the harbor ’ ( primitively Sydney Harbour ) – with an unpaid tax bill. The term is normally used attributively .
1983 Sydney Morning Herald 13 August : The Federal Government ‘s introduction of the Taxation ( Unpaid Company Tax ) Act last class is expected to recoup about $ 250 million in amateur tax from the bottom-of-the-harbour participants .
2006 A. Hyland Diamond Dove : The lumberman in the dock was some fabulous creature – part lawyer, character farmer – who ‘d been caught in a bottom-of-the-harbour tax avoidance system .
boundary rider
An employee responsible for maintaining the ( out ) fences on a place, or a publicly owned vermin-proof fence. This sense of boundary rider is recorded from the 1860s but in more recent years, as a leave of changes in engineering and modes of transport, this occupation has become relatively rare. Since the 1980s the term has been used of a boundary arbiter in australian Rules Football, a cricketer in a field place near the limit, and a roll reporter at a dissipated crippled. For a more detail discussion of the original sense of boundary rider and the by and by frolic senses see our Word of the Month article from December 2010 .
1885 Illustrated Australian News ( Melbourne ) 30 September : The duties of a limit rider for the most separate dwell in riding round the fences every sidereal day, seeing that they are all in good ordain, blocking up any panels that may be broken, putting out strangers ( that is sprout that have strayed on to the run ), and, in fact, doing all that may pertain to keeping his passkey ‘s stock on his own domain, and everybody ‘s else out of it .
2012 K. McGinnis Tracking North : mechanization had last reached the open-range country. There were no more pumpers or boundary riders .
Bradbury: do a Bradbury
Be the improbable winner of an event ; to win an event coming from well behind. The idiom comes from the mention of Steven Bradbury, who won a aureate decoration in accelerate skate at the 2002 Winter Olympics after his opponents fell. For a detail discussion of this phrase see our blog ‘Doing a bradbury : an Aussie term born in the Winter Olympics ‘ ( which includes a video recording of Bradbury ‘s celebrated win ), and our Word of the Month article from August 2008 .
2002 Sydney Morning Herald 19 February : possibly Doing a Bradbury will become a common saying in australian mutant [ : ] To succeed only because everyone else fell over. The Socceroos need some of that luck .
2014 Herald Sun ( Melbourne ) 10 July : person would one day do a ‘Bradbury ‘ and finish third or fourth in the Brownlow Medal even be crowned the achiever .
branch stacking
The exercise of improperly increasing the membership of a local outgrowth of a political party in order to ensure the preselection of a particular campaigner. The term is a specific consumption of branch meaning ‘a local division of a political party ‘. While the practice described by branch stacking has been around for a very long clock, the give voice itself is first recorded in the 1960s .
1968 Sydney Morning Herald 6 November : Banks and Blaxland electorates adjoin each other and what the people lodging the appeals are saying is that across-the-board branch ‘stacking ‘ has been going on .
2002 Illawarra Mercury ( Wollongong ) 7 October : british labour party will fight branch stacking by forcing all members to be on the electoral roll before taking part in a preselection vote .
bride’s nightie: off like a bride’s nightie
Leaving immediately ; making a hasty passing ; at full accelerate. It is likely that this expression was first used in horseracing to refer to a horse that moved very promptly out of the start gates. The phrase plays on two different meanings of the verb be off : ‘ be removed ’ and ‘ move promptly ‘. First recorded in the 1960s .
1969 C. Bray Blossom : ‘Come on youse blokes ! ‘ he shouted. ‘We ‘re off like a bridget ‘s nightgown ! ‘
2005 Canberra Times 18 March : The irony is of run that their chief executive officer is the least firm person in the company. First polarity of a better crack and they are off like a bride ‘s nightgown .
bring a plate
An invitation to bring a plate of food to contribution at a social gather or fundraiser. There are many stories of modern 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 denture, sometimes followed by gentlemen a contribution. First recorded in the 1920s .
1951 Sunshine Advocate 22 March : Mrs Gum has kindly offered her dwelling on Saturday, 14th of April for a social even. Ladies bring a plate .
2013 Northern Star ( Lismore ) 16 July : A visit in from our tasmanian friends. 1 autopsy starting signal of meet. Please bring a plate. All welcome .
brumby
A violent sawhorse. The fib of hazardous horses in the australian landscape was vividly brought to life in Banjo Paterson ‘s 1890 poem ‘The valet from Snowy River ‘ : ‘There was motion at the station, for the parole had passed around/ That the colt from previous Regret had got aside, / And had joined the baseless pubic hair horses. ‘ These ‘wild scrub horses ‘ have been known as brumbies in Australia since the early 1870s .
The lineage for this terminus is still disputed. E.M. Curr in australian Race ( 1887 ) 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 placement of the earliest testify, but the language evidence has not been subsequently confirmed. This lineage was popularised by Paterson in an insertion to his poem ‘Brumby ‘s run ‘ printed in 1894. A coarse hypnotism is that brumby derives from the proper list Brumby. This theory was besides noted by E.E. Morris in Austral English in 1898 : ‘A different origin was, however, given by an previous nonmigratory of New South Wales, to a dame of the name Brumby, viz. “ that in the early days of that colony, a Lieutenant Brumby, who was on the staff of one of the Governors, imported some very thoroughly horses, and that some of their descendants being allowed to run rampantly became the ancestors of the angry horses of New South Wales and Queensland ”. Over the years, respective Messrs Brumby have been postulated as the origin. More recently, Dymphna Lonergan suggested that the give voice comes from irish give voice bromaigh, the plural shape of the news for a young sawhorse, or colt. For a more detail discussion concerning the beginning of the term brumby see the article ‘Wild Horses Running Wild ‘ in our Ozwords newsletter .
1871 Maitland Mercury 10 October : A fine crop stuff, thinly timbered, and for which the leaseholder would expect to draw a thousand pounds for his good will, without a hoof upon it, by a singular species of passage is suddenly metamorphosed into a aggregate of scrub, only fit for a throng of ‘Brumbies ‘ .
2010 K. McGinnis Wildhorse Creek : The country ‘s decayed with brumbies .
Buckley’s chance
A forlorn hope ; no prognosis any. often abbreviated to Buckley’s. One explanation for the origin of the term is that it comes from the appoint of the convict William Buckley, who escaped from Port Phillip in 1803 and lived for 32 years with aborigine people in southerly Victoria. A second explanation links the phrase to the Melbourne firm of Buckley and Nunn ( established in 1851 ), suggesting that a pun developed on the ‘Nunn ‘ share of the tauten ‘s name ( with ‘none ‘ ) and that this gave upgrade to the conceptualization ‘there are merely two chances, Buckley ‘s and none ‘. This moment explanation appears to have arisen after the original phrase was established. For an earlier discussion about the beginning of the term buckley’s chance see the article ‘Buckley’s ‘ in our Ozwords newsletter .
1887 Melbourne Punch 22 September : In our sporting column, in the Fitzroy team appears the name of Bracken. It should have been Buckley. Olympus explains that he altered it because he did n’t want the Fitzroy men to have ‘Buckley ‘s gamble ‘ .
2015 australian Financial Review ( Sydney ) 7 March : If I lose this problem I ‘ve got Buckley ‘s chance of getting another one .
budgie smugglers
A pair of close male float briefs made of stretch framework. The australian term is probably a pas seul of the international English grape smugglers for such a dress. Budgie smugglers is one of the numerous australian words for this detail dress ( others include   bathers, cossies, speedos, swimmers, and togs ). Budgie is a shorten of budgerigar – from Kamilaroi ( an Aboriginal terminology of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland ), and designates a belittled green and scandalmongering parrot which has become a popular cage bird. The terminus is a jocosely allusion to the appearance of the garment. Budgie smugglers is first recorded in the recently 1990s. For a more detail discussion of the son see our Word of the Month article from December 2013 .
2002 Herald Sun ( Melbourne ) 23 November : nothing stands between you and a continent made entirely of iceberg except the southern Ocean. That, and a thin pair of Speedos so figure-hugging you can see every pilomotor reflex – onionskin togs that are known not-all-that-affectionately by us Brown boys as budgerigar smugglers !
2015 Sydney Morning Herald 30 March : place types joined with investment bankers on Sunday when they swapped suits for budgerigar smugglers to raise more than $ 600,000 and awareness for cerebral paralysis .
bulldust
A kind of fine powdery scandal or debris, much found in inland Australia. Roads or tracks covered with bulldust may be a guess for livestock and vehicles, which can become bogged in it. It is credibly called bulldust because it resembles the soil trampled by cattle in stockyards. The word can besides be used as a polite manner of saying bullshit. Both senses of the word are first recorded in the 1920s .
1929 Register News-Pictorial ( Adelaide ) 7 December : Motoring across Lake Eyre … This ‘bull ‘ dust might be about two feet bass, and cakes on the surface, so that it is hard to penetrate .
1954 J. Cleary Climate of Courage : ‘I ‘m seventy-five per penny Irish ‘, said Mick. ‘You ‘re seventy-five per cent bulldust, besides ‘, said Joe .
2011 M Groves Outback Life : When a stretch of loose bulldust appeared excessively daunting, Joe would gun the engine gloomy and go at a travel rapidly that did n’t give us prison term to bog down .
bull’s roar: not within a bull’s roar
nowhere near – ‘The club ’ s not within a bull ’ second thunder of winning the premiership this season. ‘ A roar bull can be heard over a bang-up distance, so that to be not within a bull’s roar is to be a considerable distance away. The phrase is sometimes used without the negative – to be within a bull’s roar means that you are not excessively far away. A much fine unit of measurement is expressed by the alike australian phrase within a bee ’ south cock. The idiom is first gear recorded in the 1930s .
1936 Chronicle ( Adelaide ) 3 September : He knew that the horse, trainer and rider were O.K., and felt that the danger lay in noise. I told him that nothing would get within a ‘bull ‘s howl ‘ of Agricolo to interfere with him, and such was the casing .
2005 West Australian ( Perth ) 18 April : again, through no fault of the sometimes-too-helpful McGuire, no late contestant has come within a bull ‘s bellow of winning a serious sum of cash .
bung
Incapacitated, exhausted, break ( as in ‘the television receiver ’ mho bung ‘ ). It comes from slam meaning ‘ dead ’ in the Yagara Aboriginal language of the Brisbane region. It found its means into 19th-century australian pidgin, where the idiom to go bung meant ‘ to die ’. The term is much found in this phrasal form where it nowadays has respective meanings : ‘to be financially bankrupt, to come to zero ; to fail, to collapse, to break down ‘. These figural senses of bung emerged in the recently nineteenth hundred .
1885 australasian Printers ‘ keepsake : He was importuned to desist, as his musical endowment had ‘gone tip ‘ probably from over-indulgence in confectionery .
2006 Australian ( Sydney ) 27 April : Sydney boy Scott Reed was the name on every recruiter ‘s list, but he has been taken to hospital with a bung ankle .
bunyip
An amphibious monster supposed to inhabit inland waterways. Descriptions of it deviate greatly. Some give it a fearful human steer and an animal body. many descriptions emphasise its threat to humans and its loud boom at night. It inhabits inland rivers, swamps, and billabongs. The discussion comes from the Aboriginal Wathaurong speech of Victoria. Bunyip is first recorded in the 1840s. For a more detail 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 .
1845 Sydney Morning Herald 12 July : On the bone being shown to an healthy blacken, he at once recognised it as belonging to the ‘Bunyip ‘, which he declared he had seen .
2015 Southern Highland News ( Bowral ) : Everyone knows bunyips live in the Wingecarribee Swamp, problem is, there are quite a few different theories about this baffling animal and it all seems to turn on how much grog visitors to the swamp have had before they hear the distinctive bellow .
burl: give it a burl
venture an attack ; give something a try on. This is an australian change of the standard English phrase give it a eddy. Burl is from the English dialect ( particularly Scottish and northerly English ) verb birl ‘ spin ’ or ‘ spin ’ and the equate noun ‘a rapid flex or twist ‘. Give it a burl is first recorded in the early years of the twentieth hundred .
1978 Mullally & Sexton Libra and Capricorn : Should be some fish out there I say. We ‘ll give it a burl, eh ?
2006 Mercury ( Hobart ) 13 January : I ‘ve never been on a gravy boat cruise. We wanted to give it a burl and see how it went. We ‘d do it again .
bush week: what do you think this is, bush week?

Do you think I ’ molarity stupid ? An indignant reception to person who is taking you for a chump – ‘You ’ rhenium going to charge me how a lot ? What do you think this is, bush week ? ‘ Bush week is a time when people from the state come to a city, originally when bush produce etc. was displayed ; and it is besides a celebration in a town or city of bush-league produce, activities, etc. These senses of bush week go back to the early twentieth hundred. The phrase in the first place implied the impression that people from the state are easily fooled by the more sophisticated city slickers. The speaker resents being mistaken for a area yokel. The phrase is first recorded in the 1940s .
1949 L. Glassop Lucky Palmer : I get ache alecks like you trying to put one over on me every minute of the day. What do you think this is ? Bush Week ?
2012 J. Murray Goodbye Lullaby : They had already been warned about the breastfeed business … ‘Whaddya think this is ? ‘ said the owner as she glared at them all. ‘Bloody Bush Week or something ? Beat it, you two ! ‘ .

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