Wondrous Words Wednesday: Australia

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) and interesting (to us, again) words we encountered in our readings. See this week round-up at BermudaOnion’s blog!

My words for this week come from People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and are mostly Australian. I dedicate this post to husband, who is actually leaving for Australia the day after tomorrow!

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Ever since they moved the abattoir out of Homebush and started to spruce the place up for the 2000 Olympics, you have to drive, basically, to woop woop, and then when you finally get there, there’s so much security in place because of the animal libbers you can barely get in the gate.

Woop woop: n. Austral./NZ informal humorous a remote outback town or district.

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I always find myself lapsing into Paleolithic Strine when I’m around them, using words I’d never dream of using in real life, like cobber and bonza.

Cobber: n. Austral./NZ informal a companion or friend.
Bonza: adj. Austral./NZ informal excellent.

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I’d traveled almost two thousands clicks to get away from my mother.

Click: n. (alternative spelling for klick) military slang for kilometer.
*This definition comes from Wikipedia

I know, this is not Australian, but while reading the book I thought it was. Instead, according to several sources it was first created by US soldiers in Germany during WWII and then widely used in Vietnam.

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(All definitions are taken from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 via WordReference.com unless otherwise stated.)

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7 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: Australia

  1. I love these Australian words. Isn’t it amazing how different countries, all speaking English, have developed new words specific to that country. Hope your husband can use some of your new words on his trip.

  2. Thank you! I have always wondered what “clicks” was slang for, but never seemed to get around to looking it up! And by-the-way, my words are FINALLY up. Better late than never, I guess.

  3. Oh I’m so glad I found your post this week. Although I had a twinge of nervousness at the beginning- what if I didn’t know them all? Ah but thankfully I did. Woop woop is still in pretty common usage. “He lives out woop woop.” Click is a very masculine word to use, not sure I’ve ever heard a woman use it in speech- possibly because of the military background. It would be more common to say “2000 k’s (ie kilometres). Cobber and bonzer are indeed paleolithic. We all know what they mean, but they aren’t in general usage. Bonzer may be occasionally in comedy or satire I guess. I wouldn’t suggest your husband try to drop them into conversation during his visit! Hope he has a great time.

  4. I was secretly hoping for your comment 🙂 so thanks for speaking up! There are probably more in the book, but mostly they were self-evident from the context.
    (Husband is probably boarding the plane right now… so I’m a little bit sad.)

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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