Dry as a Pommy’s towel

Following on the from the post below, I’ve noticed that there are words in the Australian English lexicon that are, so far as I can see, unique to the country both in usage and understanding. I’m not talking about all the usual stuff which is pretty much either shortened versions of existing words (e.g. barbie, arvo),  rhyming slang (e.g. dead horse – tomato sauce, grundies – underwear),  or understandable with a little thought (e.g. ‘ropeable’ meaning ‘angry’).  No, I’m talking about the words that are widely understood by the general Australian population but have no obvious meaning to anyone who’s not lived here for a while. Words that politicians use, journalists on quality newspapers write and average people speak. ‘Schooner’ and ‘pot’ are borderline cases, as they have obvious meanings to general English speakers but in the context they’re usually used here – the pub – an outsider would have little idea of what they meant until shown the glasses in question. ‘Dag’ and ‘bogan’ are also borderline cases, as the close study of ‘Neighbours’ by a generation of British youth has made them understandable to at least some outsiders. No, the words I’m talking about are these:

Bingle

Cleanskin

Furphy

Rort

Skerrick

Spruik

Wowser

Two of these words have booze connections. Two more could occur as a result of a drink or two. Non-Australian readers: without cheating, do you know what any of these words mean? Australian readers: did you realise that these words are uniquely yours? I’m not keen on ‘bingle’ but I like all the rest. Any more for any more?

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One Response to Dry as a Pommy’s towel

  1. Louise says:

    ‘Bingle’ is a relatively new term that seemed to emerge while I was living in the UK. Whether it is solely an offshoot of the blonde model or something older, I’m not sure, I just share your sentiments that it is ANNOYING.

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