‘Bogan’, ‘ranga’, ‘rurosexual’, ‘budgie smugglers’ among new phrases added to Australian dictionary
Heading Down Under where locals are “dry as a dead dingo’s donger” and beachgoers don “budgie smugglers”, but unsure what this means? Fear not, the latest edition of the Australian National Dictionary offers a primer on all things ‘Straya.
Both phrases along with 6,000 other Australian terms such as bogan, ranga and rurosexual have been added to the country’s dictionary, the first update in almost three decades.
The second edition of the Australian National Dictionary – a heavy two-tome hardback containing the definitions and histories of 16,000 words, compounds and phrases unique to Australia – was released this week and also includes words from more than 100 indigenous languages.
“It is a lot [of Australianisms],” chief editor Bruce Moore, who has worked on the dictionary for more than two decades, told AFP Thursday.
“Most Australians are aware I think of the fact that there’s something very distinctive about our language, probably in a way that other English-speaking groups are not so much.”
Colourful phrases that made the grade included “dry as a dead dingo’s donger” (very thirsty) and “do a Bradbury” – which refers to Australian Olympian Steven Bradbury, who won the short track gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics after all his rivals crashed.
Bogan (an unsophisticated person), ranga (a person with red hair) and rurosexual (a metrosexual who lives in rural Australia) were among the new word entries. “Budgie smugglers” refer to a high-fitting swimsuit.
Moore said he was surprised by the “extraordinary increase” in the number of words from indigenous languages. In the new version, there are now 530 words from 100 indigenous languages, compared to 250 words in the first edition released in 1988, he added.
“Most people would believe that when colonial people come ... lots of place names are taken but not very many words from the indigenous languages,” said Moore, a former director of the Australian
National Dictionary Centre at the Australian National University who also used to teach Old and Middle English.
A recent example is migaloo, which is a term from several northern Queensland languages meaning a ghost or spirit and that was used by Aboriginal Australians to describe a white person.
The word now represents an extremely rare white humpback whale regularly sighted off the Australian coast and which has built up a loyal following in the country since it was first spotted in 1991.