The Australian National Dictionary Online.

The main page of The Australian National Dictionary says:

In the tradition of the Oxford English Dictionary, the Australian National Dictionary Centre – a joint initiative of the Australian National University and Oxford University Press – published The Australian National Dictionary: A Dictionary of Australianisms on Historical Principles in 1988.

Oxford University Press has been publishing in Australia since 1908 and, in recognition of this milestone and as a symbol of gratitude to the Australian people, The Australian National Dictionary has been made available online, free.

What a splendid thing to do! I posted about essays by Bruce Moore, the main editor, here and here. And you can read a very personal review, “Up a wombat’s freckle,” by Dame Edna Everage’s alter ego Barry Humphries at the TLS:

This scholarly two-volume work contains a generous entry under the word “chunder”, a word unknown in my youth outside the Geelong and Ballarat Grammar Schools, until I relentlessly promulgated it in the comic strip of Barry McKenzie in Private Eye. There the eponymous hero regularly and compulsively regurgitated. This expressive, even onomatopoeic, term took off in trendy London circles and is now in universal, colloquial use. […]

Needless to say, there are innumerable expressions to describe thirst and drunkenness, but there are some I have noted that have eluded the lexicographer and not yet found their way into any dictionary. They illustrate Australian verbal ingenuity, and in stretching the expressive possibilities of the English language, they often possess a kind of sardonic poetry. A thirsty man might therefore say “I’m as dry as a Pommy’s bathmat”, which incorporates a reference to the well-known English aversion to bathing. I’ve also heard an inebriated man employ what must be the most offensive rhyming slang for intoxication when he declared, “Sorry mate, I’m a bit Schindlers”.

Both offensive and hilarious: Oz at its best!

Comments

  1. The very first entry, Abbott’s booby, is, alas, a perfectly respectable bird, Sula abbotti.

    Could not find No wucking furries. Perhaps it is not in the dictionary’s scope.

    Did find the lovely No mercy ‘(Of a cheque) the full value is to be spent (on alcoholic drink)’.

  2. >gasp< no entry for munt/munted/munter

    Does have a nice scrolling list on the left of screen of words alphabetically close — just like a dictionary 😉

  3. Could not find No wucking furries. Perhaps it is not in the dictionary’s scope.

    Try switching the F and the W.

    I guess even Australians resort to euphemism sometimes.

  4. Trond Engen says:

    Try switching the F and the W.

    That’s the NSW accent.

  5. I knew that! But I thought that particular spoonerism was well-enough entrenched to deserve its separate entry (or at least a mention under no worries).

  6. “No wucking furries” is in there, under sense 2 (“Used in various conventional formulations”) of “No”. Also “No wuckers” (“see ‘no wucking furries'”).

    Edit: I think I see the problem. From memory, the AND has been online since the first edition. NWF must be new to the second, and not online yet (or possibly ever?).

  7. Also, permit me to brag about picking this up for a song because Amazon.co.jp listed it much too cheaply at first. Their fault for not realizing it was a massive 2-volume work. (“We have cameras.”)

  8. Seems to be a dictionary of nostalgic slang used by the Anglo-Celtic population that’s about 40 years out of date. As if it was written by a fan of Barry Humphries or something.

    There are no wog words in there, eg. no “fully sick”, or even “sick”.

    Some Western Australianisms seem to be missing too, eg. no yabbie or dinky (though “dink” is there).

    No attempt to reproduce pronunciation either. eg. how would a non-Australian know that “dugite” is pronounced /’dʒuːgaɪt/

  9. The spelling “yabby” is in there — is a yabbie something different? (And what’s a dinky?)

    “(Fully) sick” I’ll grant you. Is that actually an Australianism, though? I thought it was imported surfer/skater slang from the US, in which case it might have been considered outside the scope of the dictionary. It’s not just a dictionary of English words Australians use, after all.

    For the purposes of this dictionary an Australianism is one of those words and meanings which have originated in Australia, which have a greater currency here than elsewhere, or which have a special significance in Australia because of their connection with an aspect of the country.

    (The Macquarie Australian Dictionary, which IS more like an attempt to capture actual Australian usage, does have “sick”… but not “fully”.)

    One area where AND2 has definitely improved is the inclusion of words from “Aboriginal languages and Aboriginal culture”; the editors single out Aboriginal English as a major source of new headwords and definitions.

  10. Charles Perry says:

    Humphries humbly omitted to mention the many other slang terms for barfing which he promulgated in Barry McKenzie, such as “to throw one’s voice,” “to chuckle” and “to have a liquid laugh.” My personal favorite was “to park a tiger on the rug.”

  11. /’dʒuːgaɪt/

    It should be /’ʤʉːgɑɪt/. IPA transcription has been RP-centric long enough.

  12. Schindlers beats Oliver.

  13. minus273 says:

    RP-centric long enough

    And a-very-old-kind-of-RP-centric. I have never understood in my life why /uː/ and /ʌ/ are used in transcription of English, until one day I watched some English period drama, and heard with my own ear that people were really supposed to talk like this.

  14. Period drama, indeed. When I was young I definitely used [u] as my GOOSE vowel; I’ve shifted a bit since.

  15. J.W. Brewer says:

    It took me a little while to decode “Schindlers,” but I did manage to do so. Is there a technical name for that second stage of rhyming slang where the slang phrase is clipped such that the part that actually rhymes with the original is lost?

  16. Bathrobe says:

    My favourite expression for being drunk is still “blind as a welder’s dog”. Couldn’t find it.

  17. Graham Asher says:

    “Is there a technical name for that second stage of rhyming slang where the slang phrase is clipped such that the part that actually rhymes with the original is lost?”

    Yeah… the technical name is “ordinary rhyming slang” 😉

  18. Is there a technical name for that second stage of rhyming slang where the slang phrase is clipped such that the part that actually rhymes with the original is lost?

    Yes, hemiteleia, one of the rarest English words, used only by people who study rhyming slang. In rhyming slang terms, you could speak of droppin’ the last dicky (the full variant: dicky bird).

    Rhyming Slang Sermon.

    [Note the hemiteleic “Mozart” for “Mozart and Liszt” = pissed at 2:48]

  19. Yes, if you’re familiar at all with rhyming slang I’m surprised you had trouble with it — the part that actually rhymes with the original is generally lost. That’s part of the fun.

  20. J.W. Brewer says:

    I’m just not a native rhyming-slang-decoder since it is not part of normal English. (By which I mean AmEng, which is of course normative because of the neutral criterion of total market share … [ducks] ….)

    I do rather love this couplet from a psychedelic lovesong written in BrEng (recorded by the Soft Boys, lyrics by the young Robyn Hitchcock): “I would ramble all through time and space / Just to get a butcher’s at your face.” Some of the erroneous transcriptions out there on the internet done by people to whom the rhyming slang was so non-obvious as not to be a plausible way to account for the phonemes they thought they heard are quite inventive.

  21. How about “time and space” as rhyming slang for “face”? The narrator could now have a butcher’s at her time.

  22. When looking up butcher’s, I found Boutros Boutros Ghali for Charlie (i.e. coke). I hope people were actually using it at some point, but it’s daft.

  23. >discreet cough< Hat, I have answered the question about the technical term for implied rhyme omission, but my comment has been hanging in limbo for some time.

    Edited to add: Thanks!

  24. J.W. Brewer says:

    Sometimes decoding these things requires multiple levels of knowledge of a variety of English other than your native one. “Charlie” does not mean that in my idiolect (in the now-archaic US slang I learned as a youth it could instead mean “Viet Cong” or perhaps “white policeman or other generic authority figure”) and if it did it wouldn’t (b/c of rhoticism) rhyme with Ghali.

  25. J.W. Brewer says:

    “Charlie” is itself post-hemiteleia-rhyming-slang with at least two different omitted dickies, according to one reputable-looking online lexicographic source: “for sense 1: shortened from Charlie Hunt, rhyming slang for cunt; sense 2 is shortened from Charlie Wheeler, rhyming slang for sheila.”

  26. Piotr Gąsiorowski says: It should be /’ʤʉːgɑɪt/.

    I reckon it’s closer to /’dʑʉːgɑɪt/ if you’re really going for a narrow transcription.

    Responding to other comments:
    – Yes yabbie = yabby. Thanks for pointing that one out.
    – dinky is a ride you give someone on a pushbike [pushbike is also missing].

    Also missing:
    – snakey
    – burnout
    – ding bread
    – ugg boots
    – double-pluggers
    – flannie
    – high vis
    – DBs (desert boots)
    – bogan (person)
    – vegemite
    – Chiko rolls
    – fairy bread
    – shandy (though they have shandygaff, which I have never heard of)
    – dilligaf
    – bomb or bombie (in the sense of jumping into a pool in such a way so as to produce a big splash)
    – horsie (in the sense of jumping into a pool in such a way so as to produce a big splash, but different from a bomb)
    – overarm (in other countries known as Australian crawl)
    – busy bee (work event at school where parents of schoolkids get together to clean up or to construct something)
    – relly bashing (visiting rellies or relatives)
    – pash
    – eggplant
    – capsicum
    – POETS day
    – tunnelball
    – leaderball
    – wagging school, wagger
    etc.

  27. What’s the difference between a bombie and a horsie?

    Is a bombie like a U.S. cannonball?

  28. Y says:Is a bombie like a U.S. cannonball?

    Not too sure: For a bombie, you tuck your knees up to your chest and usually wrap your hands/arms around your knees. For a horsie, you are in a more open position – almost the position you’d be in if you were crawling on your hands and knees; but your knees and elbows may touch and there is a somewhat sideways jump into the water.

  29. These fine distinctions make the Eskimo snow terminology look so vague in comparison!

  30. Bathrobe says:

    I vaguely remember double-dink, but not dinky. ‘Push-bike’ is also used in the UK.

  31. David Marjanović says:

    What an elaborate culture. I’m familiar with the bombie as Wasserbombe, but the horsie I never imagined.

  32. Re the Horsie: My apologies to everyone about my description of the horsie. As my wife correctly pointed out, the horsie/horsey is done by holding one knee up with your hands as you jump into the water.

    What I described in an earlier post is not the horsie, but I can’t remember the name of it. Are there any Australians out there that can help?

    There is also the tin soldier, where you jump in upright and feet first with very little splashing. But I’m not sure whether this is an Australian term or if it is known further afield.

  33. The Macquarie Dictionary’s Australian Word Map is a good resource on regionalisms in Australia. So, under “horsey” https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/resources/aus/word/map/search/word/horsey/Far%20West%20New%20South%20Wales/

    it says that it is also known as a banana, can-opener and peg leg, depending on where you live in Australia. It also contains comments from contributors.

  34. J.W. Brewer says:

    From that revised description of the “horsie” I think I recognize it as a thing that was done by US kids at pools I frequented back in my own youth but I cannot recollect the proper term of art to name it in AmEng. I feel like it does not seem to be current among Today’s Youth at least at the particular pool I now frequent, but my observations of random-kids-other-than-my-own using the diving board have been occasional and unsystematic.

  35. @J.W. Brewer: We did that in the 1980s, but I don’t think I knew a name for it either. These days, I hardly ever see a diving board at a pool to do it off.

  36. The editors of AND2 also acknowledge recent or living slang as an area where AND1 fell short. So let’s see how the new edition does!

    – dinky – a variant under “dink”, with the expected meaning
    – snakey – “snaky”: “Savage; angry, irritable”
    – burnout – nope, but they do have “burn”: “to drive a motor vehicle at high speed”
    – ding bread – nope (I don’t know it either)
    – ugg boots – yep, and “uggie” has its own headword too
    – double-pluggers – under “double”: “a rubber sandal with a thong attached to the base by two plugs”
    – flannie – “a flannelette shirt”
    – high vis – nope (I don’t know it either)
    – DBs (desert boots) – nope
    – bogan (person) – “an uncultured and unsophisticated person…” They also have “boganic”, “boganhood”, “boganity”, etc.
    – vegemite – yep, along with derivatives like “vegemite driller” (“a person who performs anal intercourse”)
    – Chiko rolls – “a hot snack food like a large spring roll…”
    – fairy bread – “buttered bread sprinkled with hundreds and thousands”
    – shandy (though they have shandygaff, which I have never heard of) – nope, although I’m the opposite of you: I’d heard of “shandygaff” but never just “shandy”
    – dilligaf – nope (I don’t know it either)
    – bomb or bombie (in the sense of jumping into a pool in such a way so as to produce a big splash) – yep, sense 3 of “bomb”
    – horsie (in the sense of jumping into a pool in such a way so as to produce a big splash, but different from a bomb) – nope
    – overarm (in other countries known as Australian crawl) – nope
    – busy bee (work event at school where parents of schoolkids get together to clean up or to construct something) – yep: “WA working bee WORKING” (we called them working bees in Vic)
    – relly bashing (visiting rellies or relatives) – nope, but “rellie” is there (I’d never heard of “relly bashing” myself, I would have guessed it meant speaking ill of absent rellies)
    – pash – “a long passionate kiss; a session of heavy petting” (or as v “to kiss passionately; to engage in a session of heavy petting” (why do I suspect the author of this definition had “pash sesh” in mind as they wrote?)
    – eggplant – nope
    – capsicum – nope
    – POETS day – nope (I don’t know it either)
    – tunnelball – nope
    – leaderball – nope
    – wagging school, wagger – “To be absent from (school, etc.)”

    So, still missing a few things (looks like they could stand to assign an editor to vocabulary from schools and kitchens for AND3), but a definite improvement.

  37. Thanks Matt

    Thanks for supplying the definitions. Here are the definitions for the ones marked “don’t know”:

    – snakey – “snaky”: “Savage; angry, irritable”. Also: swerving your car or bike around so that the tracks left behind look like snakes.
    – burnout – nope, but they do have “burn”: “to drive a motor vehicle at high speed”. A burnout is when you leave the car stationary (or spinning in one place) but spin the rear wheels so that the tyres start smoking up. It’s one of the events that they do at the Summer Nats in Canberra.
    – ding bread – nope (I don’t know it either). Italian bread ie. a longish round unsliced loaf with a crust as opposed to the square sliced loaf that comes in a plastic bag that the Skips eat.
    – high vis – nope (I don’t know it either). High visibility vests or shirts worn by FIFOs (Fly-in Fly-out workers), manual labourers and some cyclists.
    – dilligaf – nope (I don’t know it either). This is an abbreviation for “Do I look like I give a f**k”. I think it’s also an album by Kevin Bloody Wilson.
    – eggplant – nope. Aubergine in the UK
    – capsicum – nope. Pepper in the USA
    – POETS day – nope (I don’t know it either). Again an abbreviation, referring to Friday, especially at knock-off time. It means “P*ss off early tomorrow’s Saturday”
    – tunnelball – nope. Team game played at primary school carnivals. Kids get into a line, spread their legs, and the person in the front rolls the ball backwards through everyone’s legs. The last person in the line then catches the ball, runs to the front and rolls the ball backwards again. The winning team is the one where all the team members have caught the ball and ran with it to the front.
    – leaderball – nope. Team game played at primary school carnivals. Kids get into a line. The kid at the front (A) needs to be the most coordinated one. A faces the other kids, and throws the ball to the first person (B) facing A. B catches the ball, puts it down, and then runs around the whole team, comes back to his or her place, picks up the ball, throws it back to A and then sits down. A then throws the ball to the next person in the line (C). C repeats what B just did, and so on, until the whole team has completed this.

    Leaderball and tunnelball are great fun. I hope some day they are included in the Olympics ;).

  38. @JW Brewer and Brett: I also recall doing that style of jump at the local municipal pool in the ’70s/’80s (this was in Minnesota). Some googling helped me remember we called it a jackknife, but that term is also — confusingly — used for the style of diving known as a pike. Further googling tells me that another name for the jump is a can opener, which I’d never heard before.

  39. I’ve seen “pash” a couple of times in John Allison’s comics, which are set in England, so it seems not to be exclusive to Australia.

  40. “Pash” is rather old-fashioned UK schoolgirl slang, meaning a passionate enthusiasm (often but not always romantic).

  41. tunnelball

    Over and under is a variant of this known in the U.S. (and perhaps elsewhere) which involves passing the ball over the head of every other person. Consequently, everyone in the line must participate, not just the first and last player. The feature of the last becoming first is present in both game.

  42. “Pash” is rather old-fashioned UK schoolgirl slang, meaning a passionate enthusiasm (often but not always romantic).
    The usage in the John Allison comics is nearer to the Australian meaning, i.e. kissing, fondling, etc. (see here for an example.)

  43. J.W. Brewer says:

    “Can opener” in Doreen’s post kinda sorta evokes a not-implausible hazy memory that maybe that was the common name for that mode of jumping off the diving board in my own pool-going childhood (1970’s, northern Del.). Although since the memory didn’t surface without that prompt I guess that limits how much weight to give it?

  44. Actually, I remember from the early 1980s in Michigan that there was some kind of pool move that was occasionally called a “can opener.”. I don’t think I ever figured out what exactly it referred to though.

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