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#3389 - 06/09/00 02:16 PM Australian words
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10508
Loc: this too shall pass
Today's M-W word-of-the-day is the Aussie gem 'wowser', an obtrusively puritanical person -- which it also gives as origin unknown. Any ideas from down under?


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#3390 - 06/10/00 06:05 AM Re: Wowser
lusy Offline
member

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 140
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
The following is largely from The Oxford Companion To Australian Literature:

Defined by the Macquarie Dictionary as 'a prudish teetotaller' or 'a killjoy' and by C.J. Dennis (read him for heaps of Aussie culture and folklore) as an 'ineffably pious person who mistakes this world for a penitentiary and himself for a warder'.

A term of uncertain origin, popularly accepted to be an acronym coined by by John Norton, owner of the (bloody marvellous, now defunct newspaper Truth) signifying "We Only Want Social Evils Remedied—or Righted".

Another suggestion is from "rouser" a term for religious fanatics current in Victoria in the 1870s.

The wowser had his heyday from the 1880s to the end of WW1 and was frequently depicted in cartoons as bearded, wearing a small, flat hat or a gimlet, and carrying the universal symbol of a wowser, an umbrella.

Rgds, lusy


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#3391 - 06/10/00 03:21 PM Re: Wowser
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Here it is, folks - the definitive (?) Australian slang site, with thanks to

http://www.Google.com

http://goaustralia.about.com/travel/goaustralia/library/weekly/blstrine.htm


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#3392 - 06/10/00 03:54 PM Re: Australian words
tsuwm Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10508
Loc: this too shall pass
here's one that's mystified me ever since I happened upon it -- how did the word bluey come to be the nickname for a redhead?!


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#3393 - 06/10/00 06:04 PM avagoodweegend
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Well spotted.
I would give a XXXX for that! It's a bit of a beut.
Yours
A pom


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#3394 - 06/11/00 03:42 AM Re: avagoodweegend
David108 Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
>>I would give a XXXX for that! <<

...thanks - will you come to New Zealand, or will it keep until I visit your part of the Planet?




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#3395 - 06/11/00 12:59 PM Re: avagoodweegend
Jackie Offline
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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11605
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Tell you what, David--
Jo and I will meet you at paulb's party.
She can bring her XXXX, I'll bring a slab ot two,
and you can introduce us to Adrian Quist!
AnnaS's Jack Daniels would be nice to meet, too,
if she can bring him.

Once again, Tsuwm--thanks for the neat site!


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#3396 - 06/11/00 03:43 PM Re: avagoodweegend
tsuwm Offline
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Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10508
Loc: this too shall pass
Friday night we attended 'Eric Idle shamelessly exploits Monty Python'; of course, he reprised the Four Bruces sketch, which included the Philosopher's Song...
http://www.library.adelaide.edu.au/guide/hum/philosophy/philos_song.html


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#3397 - 06/12/00 01:01 AM Re: Wowser
Bingley Offline
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Registered: 04/09/00
Posts: 3065
Loc: Jakarta
In reply to:

The wowser had his heyday from the 1880s to the end of WW1 and was frequently depicted in cartoons as bearded, wearing a small, flat hat or a gimlet, and carrying the universal symbol of a wowser, an umbrella.


How do you wear a gimlet? Is it the name of the type of hat? I thought a gimlet was a cobbler's tool for making holes in leather.



Bingley

_________________________
Bingley

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#3398 - 06/12/00 07:59 AM Re: Wowser
paulb Offline
addict

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 460
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Bingley: SOED, in addition to the tool to which you are referring, also has 'piercing, penetrating' (as of eyes) and a 20th century cocktail (which sounds most unlikely in the circumstances!). Perhaps there's a link with umbrellas here (or screwdrivers -- in the drinks department). An Australian journalist, Keith Dunstan, wrote a book called 'Wowsers' a few years ago. If I can find a copy I'll let you know.


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