What Australian slang has given the world
The Lucky Country is well-known for its unique turns of phrase. But few realise how many terms in use around the world originated down under, writes Mark Gwynn.
It’s become such a ubiquitous word, but few stop to think about where it came from. It may come as a surprise to learn that is has its origins in Australia: the first evidence of the word is use comes from an online forum entry by the Australian Nathan Hope, who posted a photo of his lip, which he says he cut while drinking at a mate’s 21st birthday party.
It’s not the first time an Aussie slang word has made its way into the wider English lexicon. Far from it – Australian slang has influenced the English language around the world, just as Australian culture has been transported to the world by comedians such as Barry Humphries, TV shows such as Neighbours, and actors such as Cate Blanchett and Hugh Jackman.
In the past six months, and throughout this year, Oxford Dictionaries has been steadily updating the Australian English entries to its online dictionary. By the end of this project, some 2,000 words, definitions and phrases derived from or chiefly used in Australian English will have made their way into the venerable online dictionary.
Only some of these will have made their way around the world, but just as Australians have historically borrowed many words an incorporated them into their own variety of English, other English-speakers are now borrowing from the Australian vocabulary.