Frank Hardy’s ‘The Outcasts of Foolgarah’.

There can be few languages, or dialects, with a stronger history of slang than Australian English.
Australian slang really built up a head of steam in the late 19th Century.
This was partly down to the fact that the kind of people who came to Australia, tended to come from places with rich local linguistic traditions like Scotland, Ireland and the East End of London.
These people weren’t hampered by the upper-class cultures of Great Britain.
They were much more free to play with language, creating nicknames for local things, in a way that the buttoned-up Brits in those days couldn’t do.
Slang was strongly linked with very poor convicts and the British policy of setting up penal colonies in Australia.
There was a very strong connection with the so-called lower classes in the development of Australian Slang.
They were their own people and so developed their own slang terms that reflected their mateship and life.
One of the great exponents of the use of slang in literature was the boisterous storyteller Frank Hardy.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book so rich in Aussie terms than “The Outcasts of Foolgarah”.
An outrageous romp amongst the waste disposal (night soil) experts that roamed the backyards of Sydney many years ago.
derwombat

‘Booze’ comes from the Dutch word ‘buizen’.

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It was there in the first ever glossary of slang, the collection of criminal jargon published c.1532, and it’s still going strong.
Booze: Alcoholic drink, and as a verb, to drink.
It came from Dutch buizen, to drink to excess (and beyond that buise, a large drinking vessel) and the first examples were spelt bouse.
Over the centuries it spread its wings.

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We find the boozer (both pub and person), the booze artist, -gob, -head, -freak, -hound,-hoister, -rooster, -shunter and -stupe, all drunkards.
There are the pubs, saloons and bars – the booze barn, -bazaar, -casa, -crib, -joint, -mill, -parlour, -factory, -foundry and -emporium.
Across the mahogany (the bar counter) stands the booze clerk, -fencer or -pusher. If we hit the booze too heavily, we get a booze belly, and maybe a trip on the booze bus, Australia’s mobile breath-tester.
via BBC News – 10 slang phrases that perfectly sum up their era.

Dressing to the Nines.

tophats_0007Meaning: Dressed flamboyantly or smartly.
Origin
Nine is the most troublesome number in etymology. There are several phrases of uncertain parentage that include the word.
Examples are, cloud nine, nine days’ wonder and the infamous whole nine yards. We can add ‘dressed to the nines’ to that list.
Dressed to the nines
The most frequently heard attempts to explain the phrase’s derivation involve associating the number nine with clothing in some way.
One theory has it that tailors used nine yards of material to make a suit (or, according to some authors, a shirt).
The more material you had the more kudos you accrued, although nine yards seems generous even for a fop.
Another commonly repeated explanation comes from the exquisitely smart uniforms of the 99th (Lanarkshire) Regiment of Foot, which was raised in 1824.

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The problem with these explanations is that they come with no evidence to support them, apart from a reference to the number nine (or 99, which seems to be stretching the cloth rather thinly).
The regiment was in business in the early 19th century, which is at least the right sort of date for a phrase that became widely used in the middle of that century.
The first example of the use of the phrase that I can find in print is in Samuel Fallows’ The Progressive Dictionary of the English Language, 1835.
In his entry for the phrase ‘to the nines’ Fallows gives the example ‘dressed up to the nines’ and suggests that it “may perhaps” be derived from ‘to thine eynes’ – to the eyes.
Not bad as a hypothesis, but without any evidence (and I can find none) ‘may perhaps’ is as far as we can go with that.
What counts against the above explanations, and indeed against any of the supposed explanations that attempt to link the number nine to some property of clothing, is the prior use of the shorter phrase ‘to the nine’ or ‘to the nines’, which was used to indicate perfection, the highest standards.
Read more via Dressed to the nines.

‘He’s Built like a Brick S**thouse’.

Generic term generally used by blokes about blokes.

Term of admiration for those Aussie males who are muscular, well built, athletic and bronzed.
Examples: Most Australian Rules Footballers, Rugby League players and Pub bouncers are highly likely to be “built like brick shithouses.”
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However, there is a catch, most of the aforementioned blokes are regarded as “not the full quid” or a “six pack short of a slab (of beer).”
In other words “not too bright’ or a “moron” which can be very dangerous language to be using around “brick shithouses.”
It generally results in the slanderer saying, “I had the shit pounded out of me by a brick shithouse”
derwombat

Learning to Speak like an Aussie from Out an’ About.

What do you say if someone says “wanna come over Saturday arvo for a barbie?”
If you speak English you might not think you need a dictionary, but learn a few choice phrases and you’ll be ready for almost anything over here.
Okay, here are a few basic words worth knowing:
Owya goin = how are you?
Arvo = afternoon
Fair dinkum= true
Ripper = really great
Biccy = biscuit
Choccy biccy = chocolate biscuit
Chockers = very full
She’ll be right = everything will be alright
Understanding us should be easy as pie now. And you should be right to head out to that barbie.
Good on ya mate!
Article courtesy of the Wonderful blog about Australia, Out an’ About by Miriam, a very seasoned and insighttful explorer of our great country.
https://outanabout.com/
via Ten reasons to visit Australia – Out an’ About

‘The Wacka.’

Caption: “Is that a wacka alert whistle we can hear in the distance?”
In the Language of the Old Guv Printing Office nothing was more important to hear the announcement of a new “Wacka”. Why?
A “wacka” was a juicy rumour so important that an instant crowd of workers would gather on hearing the wacka alert whistle.
Normally they were bullshit and no real good ever came out of spreading a “wacka.”
“Like blowflies gathering around a lump of shit.” That was Kevin “Dago” Stack-Neale’s masterly description of a “wacka crowd” gathering and hovering around eager to hear the latest gossip.
And the English Version goes like this: Whack !– When compositors are gathered together and a tall story is told, or it be doubted that the truth has been told by a speaker, a whack with the composing stick on the frame is given as an indication of unphilosophic doubt.
That is interesting don’t you think?
derwombat