A Dictionary of Austral English
by Edward Morris
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with those Aboriginal-Australian and Maori words which have become incorporated in the language and the commoner scientific words that have had their origin in Australasia

by Edward E. Morris M.A., Oxon.

Professor of English, French and German Languages and Literatures in the University of Melbourne.




I. ORIGIN OF THE WORK First undertaken to help O.E.D. The Standard Dictionary

II. TITLE AND SCOPE OF THE BOOK Not a Slang Dictionary

III. SOURCES OF NEW WORDS:— 1. Altered English 2. Words quite new to the language:— (a) Aboriginal Australian (b) Maori

IV. THE LAW OF HOBSON-JOBSON Is Austral English a corruption?






X. ABBREVIATIONS:— 1. Of Scientific Names 2. General


About a generation ago Mr. Matthew Arnold twitted our nation with the fact that "the journeyman work of literature" was much better done in France—the books of reference, the biographical dictionaries, and the translations from the classics. He did not especially mention dictionaries of the language, because he was speaking in praise of academies, and, as far as France is concerned, the great achievement in that line is Littre and not the Academy's Dictionary. But the reproach has now been rolled away—nous avons change tout cela—and in every branch to which Arnold alluded our journeyman work is quite equal to anything in France.

It is generally allowed that a vast improvement has taken place in translations, whether prose or verse. From quarter to quarter the Dictionary of National Biography continues its stately progress. But the noblest monument of English scholarship is The New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, founded mainly on the materials collected by the Philological Society, edited by Dr. James Murray, and published at the cost of the University of Oxford. The name New will, however, be unsuitable long before the Dictionary is out of date. Its right name is the Oxford English Dictionary ('O.E.D.'). That great dictionary is built up out of quotations specially gathered for it from English books of all kinds and all periods; and Dr. Murray several years ago invited assistance from this end of the world for words and uses of words peculiar to Australasia, or to parts of it. In answer to his call I began to collect; but instances of words must be noted as one comes across them, and of course they do not occur in alphabetical order. The work took time, and when my parcel of quotations had grown into a considerable heap, it occurred to me that the collection, if a little further trouble were expended upon it, might first enjoy an independent existence. Various friends kindly contributed more quotations: and this Book is the result.

In January 1892, having the honour to be President of the Section of "Literature and the Fine Arts" at the Hobart Meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, I alluded to Dr. Murray's request:

A body like this Section, composed of men from different parts of scattered colonies, might render valuable help in organising the work of collecting authorities for our various peculiar words and usages. Twenty or thirty men and women, each undertaking to read certain books with the new dictionary in mind, and to note in a prescribed fashion what is peculiar, could accomplish all that is needed. Something has been done in Melbourne, but the Colonies have different words and uses of words, and this work is of a kind which might well extend beyond the bounds of a single city. At first it may seem as if our words were few, as if in the hundred years of Australian life few special usages have arisen; but a man with a philological turn of mind, who notes what he hears, will soon find the list grow. Some philologers speak, not perhaps very satisfactorily, of being "at the fountains of language": we can all of us testify to the birth of some words within our own memory, but the origin of these, if not noted, will in time be lost. There are many other words which the strictest cannot condemn as slang, though even slang, being the speech of the people, is not undeserving of some scientific study; words, for instance, which have come into the language from the Aborigines, and names of animals, shrubs, and flowers. It might even be possible, with sufficient co-operation, to produce an Australian dictionary on the same lines as the New English Dictionary by way of supplement to it. Organisation might make the labour light, whilst for many it would from its very nature prove a pleasant task.

These suggestions were not carried out. Individuals sent quotations to Oxford, but no organisation was established to make the collection systematic or complete, and at the next meeting of the Association the Section had ceased to exist, or at least had doffed its literary character.

At a somewhat later date, Messrs. Funk and Wagnall of New York invited me to join an "Advisory Committee on disputed spelling and pronunciation." That firm was then preparing its Standard Dictionary, and one part of the scheme was to obtain opinions as to usage from various parts of the English-speaking world, especially from those whose function it is to teach the English Language. Subsequently, at my own suggestion, the firm appointed me to take charge of the Australian terms in their Dictionary, and I forwarded a certain number of words and phrases in use in Australia. But the accident of the letter A, for Australian, coming early in the alphabet gives my name a higher place than it deserves on the published list of those co-operating in the production of this Standard Dictionary; for with my present knowledge I see that my contribution was lamentably incomplete. Moreover, I joined the Editorial Corps too late to be of real use. Only the final proofs were sent to me, and although my corrections were reported to New York without delay, they arrived too late for any alterations to be effected before the sheets went to press. This took the heart out of my work for that Dictionary. For its modernness, for many of its lexicographical features, and for its splendid illustrations, I entertain a cordial admiration for the book, and I greatly regret the unworthiness of my share in it. It is quite evident that others had contributed Australasian words, and I must confess I hardly like to be held responsible for some of their statements. For instance—

"Aabec. An Australian medicinal bark said to promote perspiration."

I have never heard of it, and my ignorance is shared by the greatest Australian botanist, the Baron von Mueller.

"Beauregarde. The Zebra grass-parrakeet of Australia. From F. beau, regarde. See BEAU n. and REGARD."

As a matter of fact, the name is altered out of recognition, but really comes from the aboriginal budgery, good, and gar, parrot.

"Imou-pine. A large New Zealand tree. . . . called red pine by the colonists and rimu by the natives."

I can find no trace of the spelling "Imou." In a circular to New Zealand newspapers I asked whether it was a known variant. The New Zealand Herald made answer—"He may be sure that the good American dictionary has made a misprint. It was scarcely worth the Professor's while to take notice of mere examples of pakeha ignorance of Maori."

"Swagman. [Slang, Austral.] 1. A dealer in cheap trinkets, etc. 2. A swagger."

In twenty-two years of residence in Australia, I have never heard the former sense.

"Taihoa. [Anglo-Tasmanian.] No hurry; wait."

The word is Maori, and Maori is the language of New Zealand, not of Tasmania.

These examples, I know, are not fair specimens of the accuracy of the Standard Dictionary, but they serve as indications of the necessity for a special book on Australasian English.


In the present day, when words are more and more abbreviated, a "short title" may be counted necessary to the welfare of a book. For this reason "Austral English" has been selected. In its right place in the dictionary the word Austral will be found with illustrations to show that its primary meaning, "southern," is being more and more limited, so that the word may now be used as equivalent to Australasian.

"Austral" or "Australasian English" means all the new words and the new uses of old words that have been added to the English language by reason of the fact that those who speak English have taken up their abode in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Hasty inference might lead to the remark that such addition is only slang, but the remark is far from being accurate; probably not one-tenth of the new vocabulary could fairly be so classified. A great deal of slang is used in Australasia, but very much less is generated here than is usually believed. In 1895 a literary policeman in Melbourne brought out a small Australian Slang Dictionary. In spite of the name, however, the compiler confesses that "very few of the terms it contains have been invented by Australians." My estimate is that not one word in fifty in his little book has an Australian origin, or even a specially Australian use.

The phrase "Australasian English" includes something much wider than slang. Those who, speaking the tongue of Shakspeare, of Milton, and of Dr. Johnson, came to various parts of Australasia, found a Flora and a Fauna waiting to be named in English. New birds, beasts and fishes, new trees, bushes and flowers, had to receive names for general use. It is probably not too much to say that there never was an instance in history when so many new names were needed, and that there never will be such an occasion again, for never did settlers come, nor can they ever again come, upon Flora and Fauna so completely different from anything seen by them before. When the offshoots of our race first began to settle in America, they found much that was new, but they were still in the same North Temperate zone. Though there is now a considerable divergence between the American and the English vocabulary, especially in technical terms, it is not largely due to great differences in natural history. An oak in America is still a Quercus, not as in Australia a Casuarina. But with the whole tropical region intervening it was to be expected that in the South Temperate Zone many things would be different, and such expectation was amply fulfilled. In early descriptions of Australia it is a sort of commonplace to dwell on this complete variety, to harp on the trees that shed bark not leaves, and the cherries with the stones outside. Since the days when "Adam gave names to all cattle and to the fowl of the air and to every beast of the field" never were so many new names called for. Unfortunately, names were not given by the best educated in the community, but often by those least qualified to invent satisfactory names: not by a linguist, a botanist, an ornithologist, an ichthyologist, but by the ordinary settler. Even in countries of old civilisation names are frequently conferred or new words invented, at times with good and at times with unsatisfactory results, by the average man, whom it is the modern fashion to call "the man in the street." Much of Australasian nomenclature is due to "the man in the bush" —more precise address not recorded. Givers of new names may be benefactors to their language or violators of its purity and simplicity, but in either case they are nearly always, like the burial-place of Moses, unknown.


Of Australasian additions to the English language there are two main sources, which correspond to the twofold division of them into new words and new uses of old words.

1. Altered English.

The commoner origin of Australasian English words is the turning and twisting of an already existing English name. The settler saw a fruit somewhat like a cherry. Though he knew well that it was not a cherry, he christened it the "native cherry." It may here be remarked that the prefix native is not a satisfactory distinguishing adjective. Native bear, native cherry, may teach the young Australian that the bear and the cherry so named are not as the bear of the Arctic Regions or the cherry of Europe. But in the British Museum the label does not help much. The settler heard a bird laugh in what he thought an extremely ridiculous manner, its opening notes suggesting a donkey's bray—he called it the "laughing jackass." His descendants have dropped the adjective, and it has come to pass that the word "jackass" denotes to an Australian something quite different from its meaning to other speakers of our English tongue. The settler must have had an imagination. Whip-bird, or Coach-whip, from the sound of the note, Lyre-bird from the appearance of the outspread tail, are admirable names.

Another class of name brought the Australian word nearer to its English use. "Robin" for instance is applied to birds of various species not known in Europe. Bird-names, fish-names, plant-names, are sometimes transferred to new species, sometimes to a new genus, sometimes to an entirely different Natural Order, bearing a resemblance to the original, either real or fancied, as for instance "Magpie." It is hardly necessary to dwell longer on this point, for almost every page of the Dictionary bears witness to it.

2. Words new to the Language.

(a) Aboriginal Australian.

Many of the new Australasian words are taken from the languages of the aborigines, often with considerable alteration due to misunderstanding. Such words are either Australian or Maori. Whilst in New Zealand careful attention has been paid by competent scholars to the musical Maori language, it can hardly be claimed that the Australian family of languages has ever been scientifically studied, though there is a heap of printed material—small grammars and lists of words—rudis indigestaque moles. There is no doubt that the vocabularies used in different parts of Australia and Tasmania varied greatly, and equally little doubt that the languages, in structure and perhaps originally in vocabulary, were more or less connected. About the year 1883, Professor Sayce, of Oxford, wrote a letter, which was published in The Argus, pointing out the obligation that lay upon the Australian colonies to make a scientific study of a vanishing speech. The duty would be stronger were it not for the distressing lack of pence that now is vexing public men. Probably a sum of L300 a year would suffice for an educated inquirer, but his full time for several years would be needed. Such an one should be trained at the University as a linguist and an observer, paying especial attention to logic and to Comparative Philology. Whilst the colonies neglect their opportunities, and Sibylla year by year withdraws her offer, perhaps "the inevitable German" will intervene, and in a well-arranged book bring order out of the chaos of vocabularies and small pamphlets on the subject, all that we have to trust to now.

The need of scientific accuracy is strong. For the purposes of this Dictionary I have been investigating the origin of words, more or less naturalised as English, that come from aboriginal Australian, in number between seventy and a hundred. I have received a great deal of kind assistance, many people taking much trouble to inform me. But there is a manifest lack of knowledge. Many supplied me with the meanings of the words as used in English, but though my appeal was scattered far and wide over Australia (chiefly through the kindness of the newspapers), few could really give the origin of the words. Two amongst the best informed went so far as to say that Australian words have no derivation. That doctrine is hard to accept. A word of three syllables does not spring complete from the brain of an aboriginal as Athene rose fully armed from the head of Zeus.

It is beyond all doubt that the vocabularies of the Aborigines differed widely in different parts. Frequently, the English have carried a word known in one district to a district where it was not known, the aboriginals regarding the word as pure English. In several books statements will be found that such and such a word is not Aboriginal, when it really has an aboriginal source but in a different part of the Continent. Mr. Threlkeld, in his Australian Grammar, which is especially concerned with the language of the Hunter River, gives a list of "barbarisms," words that he considers do not belong to the aboriginal tongue. He says with perfect truth-"Barbarisms have crept into use, introduced by sailors, stockmen, and others, in the use of which both blacks and whites labour under the mistaken idea, that each one is conversing in the other's language." And yet with him a "barbarism" has to be qualified as meaning "not belonging to the Hunter District." But Mr. Threlkeld is not the only writer who will not acknowledge as aboriginal sundry words with an undoubted Australian pedigree.

(b) Maori.

The Maori language, the Italian of the South, has received very different treatment from that meted out by fate and indifference to the aboriginal tongues of Australia. It has been studied by competent scholars, and its grammar has been comprehensively arranged and stated. A Maori Dictionary, compiled more than fifty years ago by a missionary, afterwards a bishop, has been issued in a fourth edition by his son, who is now a bishop. Yet, of Maori also, the same thing is said with respect to etymology. A Maori scholar told me that, when he began the study many years ago, he was warned by a very distinguished scholar not to seek for derivations, as the search was full of pitfalls. It was not maintained that words sprang up without an origin, but that the true origin of most of the words was now lost. In spite of this double warning, it may be maintained that some of the origins both of Maori and of Australian words have been found and are in this book recorded.

The pronunciation of Maori words differs so widely from that of Australian aboriginal names that it seems advisable to insert a note on the subject.

Australian aboriginal words have been written down on no system, and very much at hap-hazard. English people have attempted to express the native sounds phonetically according to English pronunciation. No definite rule has been observed, different persons giving totally different values to represent the consonant and vowel sounds. In a language with a spelling so unphonetic as the English, in which the vowels especially have such uncertain and variable values, the results of this want of system have necessarily been very unsatisfactory and often grotesque. Maori words, on the other hand, have been written down on a simple and consistent system, adopted by the missionaries for the purpose of the translation of the Bible. This system consists in giving the Italian sound to the vowels, every letter—vowel and consonant—having a fixed and invariable value. Maori words are often very melodious. In pronunciation the best rule is to pronounce each syllable with a nearly equal accent.

Care has been taken to remember that this is an Australasian English and not a Maori Dictionary; therefore to exclude words that have not passed into the speech of the settlers. But in New Zealand Maori is much more widely used in the matter of vocabulary than the speech of the aborigines is in Australia, or at any rate in the more settled parts of Australia; and the Maori is in a purer form. Though some words and names have been ridiculously corrupted, the language of those who dwell in the bush in New Zealand can hardly be called Pigeon English, and that is the right name for the "lingo" used in Queensland and Western Australia, which, only partly represented in this book, is indeed a falling away from the language of Bacon and Shakspeare.


In many places in the Dictionary, I find I have used the expression "the law of Hobson-Jobson." The name is an adaptation from the expression used by Col. Yule and Mr. Burnell as a name for their interesting Dictionary of Anglo-Indian words. The law is well recognised, though it has lacked the name, such as I now venture to give it. When a word comes from a foreign language, those who use it, not understanding it properly, give a twist to the word or to some part of it from the hospitable desire to make the word at home in its new quarters, no regard, however, being paid to the sense. The most familiar instance in English is crayfish from the French ecrevisse, though it is well known that a crayfish is not a fish at all. Amongst the Mohammedans in India there is a festival at which the names of "Hassan" and "Hosein" are frequently called out by devotees. Tommy Atkins, to whom the names were naught, converted them into "Hobson, Jobson." That the practice of so altering words is not limited to the English is shown by two perhaps not very familiar instances in French, where "Aunt Sally" has become ane sale, "a dirty donkey," and "bowsprit" has become beau pre, though quite unconnected with "a beautiful meadow." The name "Pigeon English" is itself a good example. It has no connection with pigeon, the bird, but is an Oriental's attempt to pronounce the word "business." It hardly, however, seems necessary to alter the spelling to "pidjin."

It may be thought by some precisians that all Australasian English is a corruption of the language. So too is Anglo-Indian, and, pace Mr. Brander Matthews, there are such things as Americanisms, which were not part of the Elizabethan heritage, though it is perfectly true that many of the American phrases most railed at are pure old English, preserved in the States, though obsolete in Modern England; for the Americans, as Lowell says, "could not take with them any better language than that of Shakspeare." When we hear railing at slang phrases, at Americanisms, some of which are admirably expressive, at various flowers of colonial speech, and at words woven into the texture of our speech by those who live far away from London and from Oxford, and who on the outskirts of the British Empire are brought into contact with new natural objects that need new names, we may think for our comfort on the undoubted fact that the noble and dignified language of the poets, authors and preachers, grouped around Lewis XIV., sprang from debased Latin. For it was not the classical Latin that is the origin of French, but the language of the soldiers and the camp-followers who talked slang and picked words up from every quarter. English has certainly a richer vocabulary, a finer variety of words to express delicate distinctions of meaning, than any language that is or that ever was spoken: and this is because it has always been hospitable in the reception of new words. It is too late a day to close the doors against new words. This Austral English Dictionary merely catalogues and records those which at certain doors have already come in.


The Dictionary thus includes the following classes of Words, Phrases and Usages; viz.—

(1) Old English names of Natural Objects—Birds, Fishes, Animals, Trees, Plants, etc.—applied (in the first instance by the early settlers) either to new Australian species of such objects, or to new objects bearing a real or fancied resemblance to them—as Robin, Magpie, Herring, Cod, Cat, Bear, Oak, Beech, Pine, Cedar, Cherry, Spinach, Hops, Pea, Rose.

(2) English names of objects applied in Australia to others quite different-as Wattle, a hurdle, applied as the name of the tree Wattle, from whose twigs the hurdle was most readily made; Jackass, an animal, used as the name for the bird Jackass; Cockatoo, a birdname, applied to a small farmer.

(3) Aboriginal Australian and Maori words which have been incorporated unchanged in the language, and which still denote the original object—as Kangaroo, Wombat, Boomerang, Whare, Pa, Kauri.

(4) Aboriginal Australian and Maori words which have been similarly adopted, and which have also had their original meaning extended and applied to other things—as Bunyip, Corrobbery, Warrigal.

(5) Anglicised corruptions of such words—as Copper-Maori, Go-ashore, Cock-a-bully, Paddy-melon, Pudding-ball, Tooky-took.

(6) Fanciful, picturesque, or humorous names given to new Australasian Natural Objects—as Forty-spot, Lyre-bird, Parson-bird, and Coach-whip (birds); Wait-a-while (a tangled thicket); Thousand-jacket, Jimmy Low, Jimmy Donnelly, and Roger Gough (trees); Axe-breaker, Cheese-wood, and Raspberry Jam (timbers); Trumpeter, Schnapper and Sergeant Baker (fishes); Umbrella-grass and Spaniard (native plants), and so on.

(7) Words and phrases of quite new coinage, or arising from quite new objects or orders of things—as Larrikin, Swagman, Billy, Free-selector, Boundary-rider, Black-tracker, Back-blocks, Clear-skin, Dummyism, Bushed.

(8) Scientific names arising exclusively from Australasian necessities, chiefly to denote or describe new Natural Orders, Genera, or Species confined or chiefly appertaining to Australia—as Monotreme, Petrogale, Clianthus, Ephthianura, Dinornis, Eucalypt, Boronia, Ornithorhynchus, Banksia.

(9) Slang (of which the element is comparatively small)— as Deepsinker, Duck-shoving, Hoot, Slushy, Boss-cockie, On-the-Wallaby.


With certain exceptions, this Dictionary is built up, as a Dictionary should be, on quotations, and these are very copious. It may even be thought that their number is too large. It is certainly larger, and in some places the quotations themselves are much longer, than could ever be expected in a general Dictionary of the English Language. This copiousness is, however, the advantage of a special Dictionary. The intention of the quotations is to furnish evidence that a word is used as an English word; and many times the quotation itself furnishes a satisfactory explanation of the meaning. I hope, however, I shall not be held responsible for all the statements in the quotations, even where attention is not drawn to their incorrectness. Sundry Australasian uses of words are given in other dictionaries, as, for instance, in the parts already issued of the Oxford English Dictionary and in The Century, but the space that can be allotted to them in such works is of necessity too small for full explanation. Efforts have been made to select such quotations as should in themselves be interesting, picturesque, and illustrative. In a few cases they may even be humorous.

Moreover, the endeavour has been constant to obtain quotations from all parts of the Australasian Colonies—from books that describe different parts of Australasia, and from newspapers published far and wide. I am conscious that in the latter division Melbourne papers predominate, but this has been due to the accident that living in Melbourne I see more of the Melbourne papers, whilst my friends have sent me more quotations from books and fewer from newspapers.

The quotations, however, are not all explanatory. Many times a quotation is given merely to mark the use of a word at a particular epoch. Quotations are all carefully dated and arranged in their historical order, and thus the exact chronological development of a word has been indicated. The practice of the 'O.E.D.' has been followed in this respect and in the matter of quotations generally, though as a rule the titles of books quoted have been more fully expressed here than in that Dictionary. Early quotations have been sought with care, and a very respectable antiquity, about a century, has been thus found for some Australasian words. As far as possible, the spelling, the stops, the capitals, and the italics of the original have been preserved. The result is often a rich variety of spelling the same word in consecutive extracts.

The last decade has been a very active time in Australian science. A great deal of system has been brought into its study, and much rearrangement of classification has followed as the result. Both among birds and plants new species have been distinguished and named: and there has been not a little change in nomenclature. This Dictionary, it must be remembered, is chiefly concerned with vernacular names, but for proper identification, wherever possible, the scientific name is added. In some cases, where there has been a recent change in the latter, both the new and the older names are recorded.


The less-known birds, fishes, plants, and trees are in many cases not illustrated by quotations, but have moved to their places in the Dictionary from lists of repute. Many books have been written on the Natural History of Australia and New Zealand, and these have been placed under contribution. Under the head of Botany no book has been of greater service than Maiden's Useful Native Plants. Unfortunately many scientific men scorn vernacular names, but Mr. Maiden has taken the utmost pains with them, and has thereby largely increased the utility of his volume. For Tasmania there is Mr. Spicer's Handbook of Tasmanian Plants; for New Zealand, Kirk's Forest Flora and Hooker's Botany.

For Australian animals Lydekker's Marsupials and Monotremes is excellent; especially his section on the Phalanger or Australian Opossum, an animal which has been curiously neglected by all Dictionaries of repute. On New Zealand mammals it is not necessary to quote any book; for when the English came, it is said, New Zealand contained no mammal larger than a rat. Captain Cook turned two pigs loose; but it is stated on authority, that these pigs left no descendants. One was ridden to death by Maori boys, and the other was killed for sacrilege: he rooted in a tapu burial-place. Nevertheless, the settlers still call any wild-pig, especially if lean and bony, a "Captain Cook."

For the scientific nomenclature of Australian Botany the Census of Australian Plants by the Baron von Mueller (1889) is indispensable. It has been strictly followed. For fishes reliance has been placed upon Tenison Woods' Fishes and Fisheries of New South Wales (1882), on W. Macleay's Descriptive Catalogue of Australian Fishes (Proceedings of the Linnaean Society of New South Wales, vols. v. and vi.), and on Dr. Guenther's Study of Fishes. For the scientific nomenclature of Animal Life, the standard of reference has been the Tabular List of all the Australian Birds by E. P. Ramsay of the Australian Museum, Sydney (1888); Catalogue of Australian Mammals by J. O. Ogilby of the Australian Museum, Sydney (1892); Catalogue of Marsupials and Monotremes, British Museum (1888); Prodromus to the Natural History of Victoria by Sir F. McCoy. Constant reference has also been made to Proceedings of the Linnaean Society of New South Wales, Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Societies of Victoria and Tasmania, and to the journal of the Field Naturalist Club of Victoria.

The birds both in Australia and New Zealand have been handsomely treated by the scientific illustrators. Gould's Birds of Australia and Buller's Birds of New Zealand are indeed monumental works. Neither Gould nor Sir Walter Buller scorns vernacular names. But since the days of the former the number of named species of Australian birds has largely increased, and in January 1895, at the Brisbane Meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, a Committee was appointed to draw up a list of vernacular bird-names. By the kindness of a member of this Committee (Mr. A. J. Campbell of Melbourne) I was allowed the use of a list of such vernacular names drawn up by him and Col. Legge for submission to the Committee.


The example of The Century has been followed in the inclusion of sundry scientific names, especially those of genera or Natural Orders of purely Australasian objects. Although it is quite true that these can hardly be described as Australasian English, it is believed that the course adopted will be for the general convenience of those who consult this Dictionary.

Some of these "Neo-Latin" and "Neo-Greek" words are extraordinary in themselves and obscure in their origin, though not through antiquity. In his Student's Pastime, at p. 293, Dr. Skeat says "Nowhere can more ignorant etymologies be found than in works on Botany and 'scientific' subjects. Too often, all the science is reserved for the subject, so that there is none to spare for explaining the names."

A generous latitude has also been taken in including some words undoubtedly English, but not exclusively Australasian, such as Anabranch, and Antipodes, and some mining and other terms that are also used in the United States. Convenience of readers is the excuse. Anabranch is more frequently used of Australian rivers than of any others, but perhaps a little pride in tracking the origin of the word has had something to do with its inclusion. Some words have been inserted for purposes of explanation, e.g. Snook, in Australasia called Barracouta, which latter is itself an old name applied in Australasia to a different fish; and Cavally, which is needed to explain Trevally.


There remains the pleasant duty of acknowledging help. Many persons have given me help, whose names can hardly be listed here. A friend, an acquaintance, or sometimes even a stranger, has often sent a single quotation of value, or an explanation of a single word. The Editors of many newspapers have helped not a little by the insertion of a letter or a circular. To all these helpers, and I reckon their number at nearly 200, I tender my hearty thanks.

Various officers of the Melbourne Public Library, and my friend Mr. Edward H. Bromby, the Librarian of this University, have rendered me much assistance. I have often been fortunate enough to obtain information from the greatest living authority on a particular subject: from the Baron von Mueller, from Sir Frederick M'Coy, or from Mr. A. W. Howitt. [Alas! since I penned this sentence, the kind and helpful Baron has been taken from us, and is no longer the greatest living authority on Australian Botany.] My friend and colleague, Professor Baldwin Spencer, a most earnest worker in the field of Australian science, gave many hours of valuable time to set these pages right in the details of scientific explanations. Mr. J. G. Luehmann of Melbourne has kindly answered various questions about Botany, and Mr. A. J. North, of Sydney, in regard to certain birds. Mr. T. S. Hall, of the Biological Department of this University, and Mr. J. J. Fletcher, of Sydney, the Secretary of the Linnaean Society of New South Wales, have rendered me much help. The Rev. John Mathew, of Coburg, near Melbourne, has thrown much light on aboriginal words. The Rev. E. H. Sugden, Master of Queen's College in this University, has furnished a large number of useful quotations. His name is similarly mentioned, honoris causa, in Dr. Murray's Preface to Part I. of the 'O. E. D.' Mr. R. T. Elliott of Worcester College, Oxford, has given similar help. The Master himself,—the Master of all who engage in Dictionary work,—Dr. Murray, of Oxford, has kindly forwarded to me a few pithy and valuable comments on my proof-streets. He also made me a strong appeal never to pass on information from any source without acknowledgment. This, the only honest course, I have striven scrupulously to follow; but it is not always easy to trace the sources whence information has been derived.

When gaps in the sequence of quotations were especially apparent on the proofs, Mr. W. Ellis Bird, of Richmond, Victoria, found me many illustrative passages. For New Zealand words a goodly supply of quotations was contributed by Miss Mary Colborne-Veel of Christchurch, author of a volume of poetry called The Fairest of the Angels, by her sister, Miss Gertrude Colborne-Veel, and by Mr. W. H. S. Roberts of Oamaru, author of a little book called Southland in 1856. In the matter of explanation of the origin and meaning of New Zealand terms, Dr. Hocken of Dunedin, Mr. F. R. Chapman of the same city, and Mr. Edward Tregear of Wellington, author of the Maori Polynesian Dictionary, and Secretary of the Polynesian Society, have rendered valuable and material assistance. Dr. Holden of Bellerive, near Hobart, was perhaps my most valued correspondent. After I had failed in one or two quarters to enlist Tasmanian sympathy, he came to the rescue, and gave me much help on Tasmanian words, especially on the Flora and the birds; also on Queensland Flora and on the whole subject of Fishes. Dr. Holden also enlisted later the help of Mr. J. B. Walker, of Hobart, who contributed much to enrich my proofs. But the friend who has given me most help of all has been Mr. J. Lake of St. John's College, Cambridge. When the Dictionary was being prepared for press, he worked with me for some months, very loyally putting my materials into shape. Birds, Animals, and Botany he sub-edited for me, and much of the value of this part of the Book, which is almost an Encyclopaedia rather than a Dictionary, is due to his ready knowledge, his varied attainments, and his willingness to undertake research.

To all who have thus rendered me assistance I tender hearty thanks. It is not their fault if, as is sure to be the case, defects and mistakes are found in this Dictionarv. But should the Book be received with public favour, these shall be corrected in a later edition.


The University, Melbourne, February 23, 1897


Ait. . . . Aiton. Andr. . . . Andrews.

B. and L. . Barere and L. Bail. . . . Baillon. Bechst. . . Bechstein. Benth. . . Bentham. Bl. . . . Bleeker. Bodd. . . . Boddaert

Bp. ) ) . Bonaparte. Bonap. )

R. Br. . . Robert Brown Brong. . . Brongniart.

Cab. . . . Cabanis. Carr. . . . Carriere. Castln. . . Castelnau. Cav. . . . Cavanilles. Corr. . . . Correa.

Cunn. ) ) . A. Cunningham A. Cunn. )

Cuv. . . . Cuvier.

De C. . . . De Candolle. Dec. . . . Decaisne. Desf. . . . Desfontaines. Desm. . . . Desmarest. Desv. . . . Desvaux. De Tarrag. . De Tarragon Diet. . . . Dietrich. Donov. . . Donovan. Drap. . . . Drapiez. Dryand. . . Dryander.

Endl. . . . Endlicher.

Fab. . . . Fabricius. Forsk. . . Forskael. Forst. . . Forster. F. v. M. . . Ferdinand von Mueller

G. Forst. . G. Forster. Gaertn. . . Gaertner. Gaim. . . . Gaimard. Garn. . . . Garnot. Gaud. . . Gaudichaud. Geoff. . . Geoffroy. Germ. . . Germar. Gmel. . . Gmelin. Guich. . . Guichenot. Gunth. . . Guenther.

Harv. . . Harvey. Hasselq. . . Hasselquin. Haw. . . . Haworth. Hens. . . Henslow. Herb. . . Herbert. Homb. . . Hombron. Hook. . . J. Hooker. Hook. f. . . Hooker fils. Horsf. . . Horsfield.

Ill. . . . Illiger.

Jacq. . . . Jacquinot. Jard. . . . Jardine.

L. and S. . Liddell and Scott.

Lab. ) ) . Labillardiere. Labill. )

Lacep. . . Lacepede. Lath. . . . Latham. Lehm. . . Lehmann. Less. . . Lesson. L'herit. . . L'Heritier. Licht. . . Lichtenstein. Lindl. . . Lindley. Linn. . . . Linnaeus.

Macl. . . . Macleay. McC. . . . McCoy. Meissn. . . Meissner. Menz. . . Menzies. Milne-Ed. . Milne-Edwards. Miq. . . . Miquel.

Parlat. . . Parlatore. Pers. . . . Persoon.

Plan. ) ) . Planchol. Planch. )

Poir. . . Poiret.

Q. . . . Quoy.

Rafll. . . Raffles. Rein. . . . Reinwardt. Reiss. . . Reisseck.

Rich. ) ) . Richardson. Richards.)

Roxb. . . Roxburgh

Sal. . . . Salvadori. Salisb. . . Salisbury. Schau. . . Schauer.

Schl. ) ) . Schlechten Schlecht.)

Selb. . . . Selby. Ser. . . . Seringe. Serv. . . . Serville. Sieb. . . . Sieber. Sm. . . . Smith. Sol. . . . Solander. Sow. . . . Sowerby. Sparrm. . . Sparrman. Steph. . . Stephan. Sundev. . . Sundevall.

Sw. ) ) . Swainson. Swains. )

Temm. . . Temminck. Thunb. . . Thunberg. Tul. . . . Tulasne.

V. and H. . Vigors and Horsfield. Val. . . . Valenciennes. Vent. . . . Ventenat. Vieill. . . Vieillot. Vig. . . . Vigors.

Wagl. . . . Wagler. Water. . . Waterhouse. Wedd. . . . Weddell. Willd. . . Willdenow.

Zimm. . . . Zimmermann.


q.v. quod vide, which see.

i.q. idem quod, the same as.

ibid. ibidem, in the same book.

i.e. id est, that is.

sc. scilicet, that is to say.

s.v. sub voce, under the word.

cf. confer, compare.

n. noun,

adj. adjective.

v. verb.

prep. preposition.

interj. interjection.

sic, "thus," draws attention to some peculiarity of diction or to what is believed to be a mistake.

N.O. Natural Order.

sp. a species,

spp. various species.

A square bracket [ ] shows an addition to a quotation by way of comment.

O.E.D. "Oxford English Dictionary," often formerly quoted as "N.E.D." or "New English Dictionary."



Absentee, n. euphemistic term for a convict. The word has disappeared with the need for it.

1837. Jas. Mudie, 'Felonry of New South Wales,' p. vii.:

"The ludicrous and affected philanthropy of the present Governor of the Colony, in advertising runaway convicts under the soft and gentle name of absentees, is really unaccountable, unless we suppose it possible that his Excellency as a native of Ireland, and as having a well-grounded Hibernian antipathy to his absentee countrymen, uses the term as one expressive both of the criminality of the absentee and of his own abhorrence of the crime."

Acacia, n. and adj. a genus of shrubs or trees, N.O. Leguminosae. The Australian species often form thickets or scrubs, and are much used for hedges. The species are very numerous, and are called provincially by various names, e.g. "Wattle," "Mulga," "Giddea," and "Sally," an Anglicized form of the aboriginal name Sallee (q.v.). The tree peculiar to Tasmania, Acacia riceana, Hensl., (i>N.O. Leguminosae, is there called the Drooping Acacia.

1827. P. Cunningham, 'Two Years in New South Wales,' vol. i. p. 202:

"We possess above a hundred and thirty species of the acacia."

1839. Dr. J. Shotsky, quoted in 'Sydney Morning Herald,' Aug. 5, p. 5, col. 2:

"Yet, Australian sky and nature awaits and merits real artists to portray it. Its gigantic gum and acacia trees, 40 ft. in girth, some of them covered with a most smooth bark, externally as white as chalk. .. ."

1844. L. Leichhardt, Letter in 'Cooksland,' by J. D. Lang, p. 91:

"Rosewood Acacia, the wood of which has a very agreeable violet scent like the Myal Acacia (A. pendula) in Liverpool Plains."

1846. C. P. Hodgson, 'Reminiscences of Australia,' p. 149:

"The Acacias are innumerable, all yielding a famous bark for tanning, and a clean and excellent gum."

1869. Mrs. Meredith, 'A Tasmanian Memory,' p. 8:

"Acacias fringed with gold."

1877. F. v. Mueller, 'Botanic Teachings,' p. 24:

"The name Acacia, derived from the Greek, and indicative of a thorny plant, was already bestowed by the ancient naturalist and physician Dioscorides on a Gum-Arabic yielding North-African Acacia not dissimilar to some Australian species. This generic name is so familiarly known, that the appellation 'Wattle' might well be dispensed with. Indeed the name Acacia is in full use in works on travels and in many popular writings for the numerous Australian species . . . Few of any genera of plants contain more species than Acacia, and in Australia it is the richest of all; about 300 species, as occurring in our continent, have been clearly defined."

Acrobates, n. the scientific name of the Australian genus of Pigmy Flying-Phalangers, or, as they are locally called, Opossum-Mice. See Opossum-Mouse, Flying-Mouse, Flying-Phalanger, and Phalanger. The genus was founded by Desmarest in 1817. (Grk. 'akrobataes, walking on tiptoe.)

AEpyprymnus, n. the scientific name of the genus of the Rufous Kangaroo-Rat. It is the tallest and largest of the Kangaroo-Rats (q.v.). (Grk. 'aipus, high, and prumnon, the hinder part.)

Ailuroedus, n. scientific name for the genus of Australian birds called Cat-birds (q.v.). From Grk. 'ailouros, a cat, and 'eidos, species.

Ake, n. originally Akeake, Maori name for either of two small trees, (1) Dodonaea viscosa, Linn., in New Zealand; (2) Olearia traversii, F. v. M., in the Chatham Islands. Ake is originally a Maori adv. meaning "onwards, in time." Archdeacon Williams, in his 'Dictionary of New Zealand Language,' says Ake, Ake, Ake, means " for ever and ever." (Edition 182.)

1820. 'Grammar and Vocabulary of Language of New Zealand' (Church Missionary Society), p.133:

"Akeake, paulo post futurum"

1835. W. Yale, 'Some Account of New Zealand,' p. 47:

"Aki, called the Lignum vitae of New Zealand."

1851. Mrs. Wilson, 'New Zealand,' p. 43:

"The ake and towai . . . are almost equal, in point of colour, to rosewood."

1883. J. Hector, 'Handbook to New Zealand,' p. 131:

"Ake, a small tree, 6 to 12 feet high. Wood very hard, variegated, black and white; used for Maori clubs; abundant in dry woods and forests."

Alarm-bird, n. a bird-name no longer used in Australia. There is an African Alarm-bird.

1848. J. Gould, 'Birds of Australia,' vol. vi. pl. 9:

"Lobivanellus lobatus (Lath.), Wattled Pewit, Alarm Bird of the Colonists."

Alectryon, n. a New Zealand tree and flower, Alectryon excelsum, De C., Maori name Titoki (q.v.); called also the New Zealand Oak, from the resemblance of its leaves to those of an oak. Named by botanists from Grk. 'alektruown, a cock.

1872. A. Domett, 'Ranolf,' I. 7, p. 16:

"The early season could not yet Have ripened the alectryon's beads of jet, Each on its scarlet strawberry set."

Alexandra Palm, n. a Queensland tree, Ptychosperma alexandrae, F. v. M. A beautifully marked wood much used for making walking sticks. It grows 70 or 80 feet high.

Alluvial, n. the common term in Australia and New Zealand for gold-bearing alluvial soil. The word is also used adjectivally as in England.

1889. Rolf Boldrewood, 'Robbery under Arms,' p. 403:

"The whole of the alluvial will be taken up, and the Terrible Hollow will re-echo with the sound of pick and shovel."

Ambrite (generally called ambrit), n. Mineral [from amber + ite, mineral formative, 'O.E.D.'], a fossil resin found in masses amidst lignite coals in various parts of New Zealand. Some identify it with the resin of Dammara australis, generally called Kauri gum (q.v.).

1867. F. von Hochstetter, 'New Zealand,' p. 79:

"Although originating probably from a coniferous tree related to the Kauri pine, it nevertheless has been erroneously taken for Kauri gum."—[Footnote]: "It is sufficiently characterised to deserve a special name ; but it comes so near to real amber that it deserves the name of Ambrite."

[This is the earliest use of the word.]

Anabranch, n. a branch of a river which leaves it and enters it again. The word is not Australian, though it is generally so reckoned. It is not given in the 'Century,' nor in the 'Imperial,' nor in 'Webster,' nor in the 'Standard.' The 'O.E.D.' treats Ana as an independent word, rightly explaining it as anastomosing, but its quotation from the 'Athenaeum' (1871), on which it relies,is a misprint. For the origin and coinage of the word, see quotation 1834. See the aboriginal name Billabong.

1834. Col.Jackson, 'Journal of Royal Geographical Society,' p. 79:

"Such branches of a river as after separation re-unite, I would term anastomosing-branches; or, if a word might be coined, ana-branches, and the islands they form, branch-islands. Thus, if we would say, 'the river in this part of its course divides into several ana-branches,' we should immediately understand the subsequent re-union of the branches to the main trunk."

Col. Jackson was for a while Secretary and Editor of the Society's Journal. In Feb. 1847 he resigned that position, and in the journal of that year there is the following amusing ignorance of his proposed word—

1847. 'Condensed Account of Sturt's Exploration in the Interior of Australia—Journal of the Royal Geographical Society,' p. 87:

"Captain Sturt proposed sending in advance to ascertain the state of the Ana branch of the Darling, discovered by Mr. Eyre on a recent expedition to the North."

No fewer than six times on two pages is the word anabranch printed as two separate words, and as if Ana were a proper name. In the Index volume it appears "Ana, a branch of the Darling."

1847. L. Leichhardt, 'Overland Expedition,' p. 35:

"The river itself divided into anabranches which . . . made the whole valley a maze of channels."

1865. W. Howitt, 'Discovery in Australia,' vol. i. p. 298:

"What the Major calls, after the learned nomenclature of Colonel Jackson, in the 'Journal of the Geographical Society,' anabranches, but which the natives call billibongs, channels coming out of a stream and returning into it again."

1871. 'The Athenaeum,' May 27, p. 660 (' O.E.D.'):

"The Loddon district is called the County of Gunbower, which means, it is said, an ana branch [sic]."

1890. Rolf Boldrewood, 'Squatter's Dream,' p. 48:

"A plain bordering an ana-branch sufficient for water."

Anchorwing, n. a bird-name, Falco melanogenys, Gould. The Black-cheeked Falcon, so called because of the resemblance of the wings outspread in flight to the flukes of an anchor.

Anguillaria, n. one of the vernacular names used for the common Australian wild flower, Anguillaraa australis, R. Br., Wurmbsea dioica, F. v. M., N.O. Liliaceae. The name Anguillarea is from the administrator of the Botanic Gardens of Padua, three centuries ago. There are three Australian forms, distinguished by Robert Brown as species. The flower is very common in the meadows in early spring, and is therefore called the Native Snow Drop. In Tasmania it is called Nancy.

1835. Ross, 'Hobart Town Almanack,' 67:

"Spotted Anguillaria. Nancy. The little lively white flower with blue spots in the centre, about 2 inches high, that everywhere enlivens our grassy hills in spring, resembling the Star of Bethlehem."

1878. W. R. Guilfoyle, 'Australian Botany,' p. 83:

"Native Snowdrop. Anguillaria Australis. The earliest of all our indigenous spring-flowering plants. . . . In early spring our fields are white with the flowers of this pretty little bulbous-rooted plant."

Ant-eater, n. (1) i.q. Ant-eating-Porcupine. See Echidna. (2) The Banded Ant-eater (q.v.).

Ant-eater, Banded. See Banded Ant-eater.

Antechinornys, n. scientific name for the genus with the one species of Long legged Pouched-Mouse (q.v.). (Grk. 'anti, opposed to, 'echivos, hedgehog, and mus, mouse, sc. a mouse different to the hedgehog.) It is a jumping animal exclusively insectivorous.

Antipodes, n. properly a Greek word, the plural of 'antipous, lit. "having feet opposed." The ancients, however, had no knowledge of the southern hemisphere. Under the word perioikos, Liddell and Scott explain that 'antipodes meant "those who were in opposite parallels and meridians." The word Antipodes was adopted into the Latin language, and occurs in two of the Fathers, Lactantius and Augustine. By the mediaeval church to believe in the antipodes was regarded as heresy. 'O.E.D.' quotes two examples of the early use of the word in English.

1398. 'Trevisa Barth. De P. R.,' xv. lii. (1495), p. 506:

"Yonde in Ethiopia ben the Antipodes, men that have theyr fete ayenst our fete."

1556. 'Recorde Cast. Knowl.,' 93:

"People . . . called of the Greeks and Latines also 'antipodes, Antipodes, as you might say Counterfooted, or Counterpasers."

Shakspeare uses the word in five places, but, though he knew that this "pendent world" was spherical, his Antipodes were not Australasian. In three places he means only the fact that it is day in the Eastern hemisphere when it is night in England.

'Midsummer Night's Dream,' III. ii. 55:

"I'll believe as soon This whole earth may be bored, and that the moon May thro' the centre creep and so displease His brother's noontide with the Antipodes."

'Merchant of Venice,' V. 127:

"We should hold day with the Antipodes If you would walk in absence of the sun."

'Richard II.,' III. ii. 49:

"Who all this while hath revell'd in the night, Whilst we were wandering with the Antipodes."

In 'Henry VI.,' part 3, I. iv. 135, the word more clearly designates the East:

"Thou art as opposite to every good As the Antipodes are unto us, Or as the South to the Septentrion." [sc. the North.]

But more precise geographical indications are given in 'Much Ado,' II. i. 273, where Benedick is so anxious to avoid Beatrice that he says—

"I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on. I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the farthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair of the great Kam's beard; do you any embassage to the Pygmies rather than hold three words conference with this harpy."

Now the Pygmies lived on the Upper Nile, near Khartoum, Prester John in India, and the great Kam (Khan) in Tartary.

The word Antipodes in modern use is applied rather to places than to people. Geographically, the word means a place exactly opposite on the surface of the globe, as Antipodes Island (Eastward of New Zealand), which is very near the opposite end of the diameter of the globe passing through London. But the word is often used in a wider sense, and the whole of Australasia is regarded as the Antipodes of Great Britain.

The question is often asked whether there is any singular to the word Antipodes, and 'O.E.D.' shows that antipode is still used in the sense of the exact opposite of a person. Antipod is also used, especially playfully. The adjectives used are Antipodal and Antipodean.

1640. Richard Brome [Title]:

"The Antipodes; comedy in verse." [Acted in 1638, first printed 4t0. 1640.]

Ant-orchis, n. an Australian and Tasmanian orchid, Chiloglottis gunnii, Lind.

Apple and Apple-tree, n. and adj. The names are applied to various indigenous trees, in some cases from a supposed resemblance to the English fruit, in others to the foliage of the English tree. The varieties are—

Black or Brush Apple— Achras australis, R. Br.

Emu A.— Owenia acidula, F. v. M.; called also Native Nectarine and Native Quince. Petalostigma quadriloculare, F. v. M.; called also Crab-tree, Native Quince, Quinine-tree (q.v.)

Kangaroo A.— See Kangaroo Apple.

Mooley A. (West N.S.W. name)— Owenia acidula, F. v. M.

Mulga A.— The Galls of Acacia aneura, F. v. M.

Oak A.— Cones of Casuarina stricta, Ait.

Rose A.— Owenia cerasifera, F. v. M.

1820. John Oxley, 'Journal of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales,' p. 187:

"The blue gum trees in the neighbourhood were extremely fine, whilst that species of Eucalyptus, which is vulgarly called the apple-tree . . . again made its appearance. . . ."

1827. Vigors and Horsfield, 'Transactions of Linnaean Society,' vol. xv. p. 260:

"It builds its nest of sticks lined with grass in Iron-bark and Apple-trees (a species of Angophora)."

1827. P. Cunningham, 'Two Years in New South Wales,' vol. i. p. 200:

"The apple-trees resemble the English apple only in leaf."

1830. R. Dawson, 'Present State of Australia,' p. 195:

"In looking down upon the rich flats below, adjoining the stream, I was perpetually reminded of a thriving and rich apple-orchard. The resemblance of what are called apple-trees in Australia to those of the same name at home is so striking at a distance in these situations, that the comparison could not be avoided, although the former bear no fruit, and do not even belong to the same species."

1846. C. P. Hodgson, 'Reminiscences of Australia,' p. 52:

"I have heard of men employed in felling whole apple-trees (Angophera lanceolata) for the sheep."

1846. J. L. Stokes, 'Discoveries in Australia,' vol. ii. c. iv. p. 132;

"Red Apple, Quonui, affects salt grounds."

1847. J. D. Lang, 'Phillipsland,' p. 256:

"The plains, or rather downs, around it (Yass) are thinly but most picturesquely covered with 'apple-trees,' as they are called by the colonists, merely from their resemblance to the European apple-tree in their size and outline, for they do not resemble it in producing an edible fruit."

1850. J. B. Clutterbuck, 'Port Phillip in 1849,' p. 32:

"The musk-plant, hyacinth, grass-tree, and kangaroo apple-tree are indigenous."

1852. G. C. Mundy, 'Our Antipodes' (edition 1855), p. 219:

"Pomona would indignantly disown the apple-tree, for there is not the semblance of a pippin on its tufted branches."

1881. A. C. Grant, 'Bush Life in Queensland,' vol. i. p. 113:

"Sandy apple-tree flats, and iron-bark ridges, lined the creek here on either side."

1896. H. Lawson, 'When the World was Wide,' p. 158:

"The desolate flats where gaunt apple-trees rot."

Apple-berry, n. the fruit of an Australian shrub, Billardiera scandens, Smith, N.O. Pittosporeae, called by children "dumplings."

1793. J. E. Smith, 'Specimen of Botany of New Holland,' pp. 1, 3:

"Billardiera scandens. Climbing Apple Berry. . . . The name Billardiera is given it in honour of James Julian la Billardiere, M.D., F.M.L.S., now engaged as botanist on board the French ships sent in search of M. de la Peyrouse."

Apple-gum, n. See Gum.

Apple-scented gum, n. See Gum.

Apteryx, n. [Grk. 'a privative and pterux, a wing.] A New Zealand bird about the size of a domestic fowl, with merely rudimentary wings.See Kiwi.

1813. G. Shaw, 'Naturalist's Miscellany.' c. xxiv. p. 1058 ('O.E.D.'):

"The Southern Apteryx."

1848. W. Westgarth, 'Australia Felix,' p. 137:

"The present Apterix or wingless bird of that country (New Zealand)."

1851. 'Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land,' vol. i. p. 300 [Letter from Rev. W. Colenso, Waitangi, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, Sept. 4, 1850:

"You enquire after an Apteryx. How delighted should I be to succeed in getting you one. Three years ago Owen expressed a similar wish, and I have repeatedly tried, but failed. Yet here they still are in the mountain forests, though, doubtless, fast hastening towards extinction. I saw one in its wild state two years ago in the dense woods of the interior; I saw it clearly. . . . Two living specimens were lately taken by the Acheron, steamer, to Sydney, where they died; these were obtained at the Bay of Islands, where also I once got three at one time. Since then I have not been able to obtain another, although I have offered a great price for one. The fact is, the younger natives do not know how to take them, and the elder ones having but few wants, and those fully supplied, do not care to do so. Further, they can only be captured by night, and the dog must be well trained to be of service."

1874. F. P. Cobbe, in 'Littell's Age,' Nov. 7, p. 355 ('Standard'):

"We have clipped the wings of Fancy as close as if she were an Apteryx.'

Arbutus, Native, n. See Wax-Cluster.

Ardoo, n. See Nardoo.

Artichoke, n. name given to the plant Astelia Alpina, R. Br., N.O. Liliaceae.

Ash, n. The name, with various epithets, is applied to the following different Australasian trees—

Black Ash— Nephelium semiglaucum, F. v. M., N.O. Sapindaceae; called also Wild Quince.

Black Mountain A.— Eucalyptus leucoxylon, F. v. M., N.O. Myrtaceae.

Blue A.— Elaeodendron australe, Vent., N.O. Celastrinae.

Blueberry A.— Elaeocarpus holopetalus, F. v. M., N.O. Tiliaceae.

Brush Apple— Acronychia baueri, Schott. (of Illawarra, N.S.W.).

Crow's A.— Flindersia australis, R. Br., N.O. Meliaceae.

Elderberry A. (of Victoria)— Panax sambucifolius, Sieb., N.O. Araliaceae.

Illawarra A.— Elaeocarpus kirtonia, F. v. M., N.O. Tiliaceae.

Moreton Bay A.— Eucalyptus tessellaris, Hook., N.O. Myrtaceae.

Mountain A. (see Mountain Ash).

New Zealand A. (see Titoki).

Pigeonberry A.— Elaeocarpus obovatus, G. Don., N.O. Tiliaceae.

Red A.— Alphitonia excelsa, Reiss, N.O. Rhamnaceae.

1847. L. Leichhardt, 'Overland Expedition,' p. 75:

"The Moreton Bay Ash (a species of Eucalyptus). ..was here also very plentiful."

Assigned, past part. of verb to assign, to allot. Used as adj. of a convict allotted to a settler as a servant. Colloquially often reduced to "signed."

1827. 'Captain Robinson's Report,' Dec. 23:

"It was a subject of complaint among the settlers, that their assigned servants could not be known from soldiers, owing to their dress; which very much assisted the crime of 'bush-ranging.'"

1837. J. D. Lang, 'New South Wales,' vol. ii. p. 31

"The assigned servant of a respectable Scotch family residing near Sydney."

1845. R. Howitt, 'Australia,' p. 75:

"Of the first five persons we saw to Van Diemen's Land, four were convicts, and perhaps the fifth. These were the assigned servants of the pilot."

1848. W. Westgarth, 'Australia Felix,' p. 324:

"Under the old practice, the convicts, as soon as they arrived from Britain, were assigned among the various applicants. The servant thus assigned was bound to perform diligently, from sunrise till sunset, all usual and reasonable labour."

Assignee, n. a convict assigned as a servant. The word is also used in its ordinary English sense.

1843. 'Penny Cyclopaedia,' vol. xxv. p. 139, col. 2:

"It is comparatively difficult to obtain another assignee,—easy to obtain a hired servant."

1848. W. Westgarth, 'Australia Felix,' p. 324:

"Any instance of gross treatment disqualified him for the future as an assignee of convict labour."

Assignment, n. service as above.

1836. C. Darwin, 'Journal of Researches' (1890), c. xix. p. 324:

"I believe the years of assignment are passed away with discontent and unhappiness."

1852. John West, 'History of Tasmania,' vol. ii. p. 126:

"That form of service, known as assignment, was established by Governor King in 1804."

1861. T. McCombie, 'Australian Sketches,' p. 117:

"The assignment system was then in operation, and such as obtained free grants of land were allowed a certain proportion of convicts to bring it into cultivation."

Asthma Herb, Queensland, n. Euphorbia pilulifera, Linn. As the name implies, a remedy for asthma. The herb is collected when in flower and carefully dried.

1889. J. H. Maiden, 'Useful Native Plants,' p. 183:

"This plant, having obtained some reputation in Australasia in certain pulmonary complaints, has acquired the appellation to the Colonies of 'Queensland Asthma Herb'. Nevertheless, it is by no means endemic in Australasia, for it is a common tropical weed."

Aua, n. Maori name for a New Zealand fish, Agonostoma forsteri, Bleek. Another Maori name is Makawhiti; also called Sea-Mullet and sometimes Herring; (q.v.). It is abundant also in Tasmanian estuaries, and is one of the fishes which when dried is called Picton Herring (q.v.). See also Maray and Mullet. Agonostoma is a genus of the family Mugilidae or Grey-Mullets.

Aurora australis, n. the Southern equivalent for Aurora borealis.

1790. J. White, 'Voyage to New South Wales,' p. 214:

"Sept. 5, 1788. About half after six in the evening, we saw an Aurora Australis, a phenomenon uncommon in the southern hemisphere."

Austral, adj. "Belonging to the South, Southern. Lat. Australis, from auster, south-wind." ('O.E.D.') The word is rarely used in Australasia in its primary sense, but now as equivalent to Australian or Australasian.

1823. Wentworth's Cambridge poem on 'Australasia':

"And grant that yet an Austral Milton's song, Pactolus-like, flow deep and rich along, An Austral Shakespeare rise, whose living page To Nature true may charm in every age; And that an Austral Pindar daring soar, Where not the Theban Eagle reach'd before."

1825. Barron Field, 'First Fruits of Australian Poetry,' Motto in Geographical Memoir of New South Wales, p. 485:

"I first adventure. Follow me who list; And be the second Austral harmonist." Adapted from Bishop Hall.

1845. R. Howitt, 'Australia,' p. 184:

"For this, midst Austral wilds I waken Our British harp, feel whence I come, Queen of the sea, too long forsaken, Queen of the soul, my spirit's home."—Alien Song.

1855. W. Howitt, 'Two Years in Victoria,' vol. i. p. 43:

"Every servant in this Austral Utopia thinks himself a gentleman."

1868. C. Harpur, 'Poems' (ed. 1883), p. 215:

"How oft, in Austral woods, the parting day Has gone through western golden gates away."

1879. J. B. O'Hara, 'Songs of the South,' p. 127:

"What though no weird and legendary lore Invests our young, our golden Austral shore With that romance the poet loves too well, When Inspiration breathes her magic spell."

1894. Ernest Favenc [Title]:

"Tales of the Austral Tropics."

1896. [Title]:

"The Austral Wheel—A Monthly Cycling Magazine, No. 1, Jan."

1896. 'The Melburnian,' Aug. 28, p. 53

"Our Austral Spring." [Title of an article describing Spring in Australia.]

Australasia, n. (and its adjectives), name "given originally by De Brosses to one of his three divisions of the alleged Terra australis." ('O.E.D.') Now used as a larger term than Australian, to include the continent of Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Fiji and islands. For peculiar use of the name for the Continent in 1793, see Australia.

1756. Charles de Brosses, 'Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes,' tom. i. p. 80:

"On peut de meme diviser le monde austral inconnu en trois portions. .. .L'une dans l'ocean des Indes au sud de l'Asie que j'appellerai par cette raison australasie."

1766. Callander, 'Terra Australis,' i. p. 49 (Translation of de Brosses)('O.E.D.):

"The first [division] in the Indian Ocean, south of Asia, which for this reason we shall call Australasia."

1802. G. Shaw, 'Zoology,' iii. p. 506 ('O.E.D.'):

"Other Australasian snakes."

1823. Subject for English poem at Cambridge University:


[The prize (Chancellor's Medal) was won by Winthrop Mackworth Praed. William Charles Wentworth stood second.] The concluding lines of his poem are:

"And Australasia float, with flag unfurl'd, A new Britannia in another world."

1846. C. P. Hodgson, 'Reminiscences of Australia,' p. 77:

"How far had these ideas been acted upon by the Colonists of Austral Asia?" [sic.]

1852. J. West, 'History of Tasmania,' vol. 1. p. 109:

"'The Austral-Asiatic Review,' by Murray, also made its appearance [in Hobart] in February, 1828."

1855. Tennyson, 'The Brook,' p. 194:

" Katie walks By the long wash of Australasian seas Far off, and holds her head to other stars, And breathes in converse seasons."

[Altered in Edition of 1894 to "breathes in April-autumns."]

1857. Daniel Bunce [Title]:

"Australasiatic reminiscences."

1864. 'The Australasian,' Oct. 1, First Number [Title]:

"The Australasian."

1880. Alfred R. Wallace [Title]:

"Australasia." [In Stanford's 'Compendium of Geography and Travel.']

1881. David Blair [Title]:

"Cyclopaedia of Australasia."

1890. E. W. Hornung, 'Bride from the Bush,' p. 29:

"It was neither Cockney nor Yankee, but a nasal blend of both: it was a lingo that declined to let the vowels run alone, but trotted them out in ill-matched couples, with discordant and awful consequences; in a word, it was Australasiatic of the worst description."

1890. 'Victorian Consolidated Statutes,' Administration and p.obate Act, Section 39:

"'Australasian Colonies,' shall mean all colonies for the time being on the main land of Australia. ..and shall also include the colonies of New Zealand, Tasmania and Fiji and any other British Colonies or possessions in Australasia now existing or hereafter to be created which the Governor in Council may from time to time declare to be Australasian Colonies within the meaning of this Act."

1895. Edward Jenks [Title]:

"History of the Australasian Colonies."

1896. J. S. Laurie [Title]:

"The Story of Australasia."

Australia, n., and Australian, adj. As early as the 16th century there was a belief in a Terra australis (to which was often added the epithet incognita), literally "southern land," which was believed to be land lying round and stretching outwards from the South Pole.

In 'Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia,' Sydney, Jan. 1892, is printed a paper read at the Geographical Congress at Berne, by E. Delmar Morgan, on the 'Early Discovery of Australia.' This paper is illustrated by maps taken from 'Nordenskiold's Atlas.' In a map by Orontius Finoeus, a French cosmographer of Provence, dated 1531, the Terra australis is shown as "Terra Australis recenter inventa, sed nondum plene cognita." In Ortelius' Map, 1570, it appears as "Terra Australis nondum cognita." In Gerard Mercator's Map, 1587, as "Terra Australis" simply.

In 1606 the Spaniard Fernandez de Quiros gave the name of Terra Australis del Espiritu Santo to land which he thought formed part of the Great Southland. It is in fact one of the New Hebrides.

The word "Australian " is older than "Australia" (see quotations, 1693 and 1766). The name Australia was adapted from the Latin name Terra Australis. The earliest suggestion of the word is credited to Flinders, who certainly thought that he was inventing the name. (See quotation, 1814.) Twenty-one years earlier, however, the word is found (see quotation, 1793); and the passage containing it is the first known use of the word in print. Shaw may thus be regarded as its inventor. According to its title-page, the book quoted is by two authors, the Zoology, by Shaw and the Botany by Smith. The Botany, however, was not published. Of the two names—Australia and Australasia—suggested in the opening of the quotation, to take the place of New Holland, Shaw evidently favoured Australia, while Smith, in the 'Transactions of the Linnaean Society,' vol. iv. p. 213 (1798), uses Australasia for the continent several times. Neither name, however, passed then into general use. In 1814, Robert Brown the Botanist speaks of "Terra Australis," not of "Australia." "Australia" was reinvented by Flinders.

Quotations for " Terra Australis"—

1621. R. Burton, 'Anatomy of Melancholy' (edition 1854), p. 56:

"For the site, if you will needs urge me to it, I am not fully resolved, it may be in Terra Australis incognita, there is room enough (for of my knowledge, neither that hungry Spaniard nor Mercurius Britannicus have yet discovered half of it)."

Ibid. p. 314:

"Terra Australis incognita. ..and yet in likelihood it may be so, for without all question, it being extended from the tropic of Capricorn to the circle Antarctic, and lying as it doth in the temperate zone, cannot choose but yield in time some flourishing kingdoms to succeeding ages, as America did unto the Spaniards."

Ibid. p. 619:

"But these are hard-hearted, unnatural, monsters of men, shallow politicians, they do not consider that a great part of the world is not yet inhabited as it ought, how many colonies into America, Terra Australis incognita, Africa may be sent?"

Early quotations for "Australian"

1693. 'Nouveau Voyage de la Terre Australe, contenant les Coutumes et les Moeurs des Australiens, etc.' Par Jaques Sadeur [Gabriel de Foigny].

[This is a work of fiction, but interesting as being the first book in which the word Australiens is used. The next quotation is from the English translation.]

1693. 'New Discovery, Terra Incognita Australis,' p. 163 ('O.E.D.'):

"It is easy to judge of the incomparability of the Australians with the people of Europe."

1766. Callander, 'Terra Australis' (Translation of De Brosses), c. ii. p. 280:

"One of the Australians, or natives of the Southern World, whom Gonneville had brought into France."

Quotations for "Australia"

1793. G. Shaw and I. E. Smith, 'Zoology and Botany of New Holland,' p. 2:

"The vast Island or rather Continent of Australia, Australasia, or New Holland, which has so lately attracted the particular attention of European navigators and naturalists, seems to abound in scenes of peculiar wildness and sterility; while the wretched natives of many of those dreary districts seem less elevated above the inferior animals than in any other part of the known world; Caffraria itself not excepted; as well as less indued with the power of promoting a comfortable existence by an approach towards useful arts and industry. It is in these savage regions however that Nature seems to have poured forth many of her most highly ornamented products with unusual liberality."

1814. M. Flinders, 'Voyage to Terra Australis,' Introduction, p. iii. and footnote:

"I have . . . ventured upon the readoption of the original Terra Australis, and of this term I shall hereafter make use, when speaking of New Holland [sc. the West] and New South Wales, in a collective sense; and when using it in the most extensive signification, the adjacent isles, including that of Van Diemen, must be understood to be comprehended." [Footnote]: "Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term, it would have been to convert it into Australia; as being more agreeable to the ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth."

1827. P. Cunningham, 'Two Years in New South Wales,' vol. i. p. 9:

"New South Wales (or Australia, as we colonials say)."

1839. C. Darwin, 'Naturalist's Voyage' (ed. 1890), p. 328:

"Farewell, Australia! You are a rising child, and doubtless some day will reign a great princess in the South; but you are too great and ambitious for affection, yet not great enough for respect. I leave your shores without sorrow or regret."

1852. A Liverpool Merchant [Title]:

"A Guide to Australia and the Gold Regions."

1873. A. Trollope, 'Australia and New Zealand,' c. viii. (new ed.) p. 152:

"The colonies are determined to be separate. Australia is a term that finds no response in the patriotic feeling of any Australian. . . . But this will come to an end sooner or later. The name of Australia will be dearer, if not greater, to Australian ears than the name of Great Britain."

[Mr. Trollope's prophecy has come true, and the name of Australia is now dearer to an Australian than the name of his own separate colony. The word "Colonial" as indicating Australian nationality is going out of fashion. The word "Australian" is much preferred.]

1878. F. P. Labilliere, 'Early History of the Colony of Victoria,' vol. i. p. 184:

"In a despatch to Lord Bathurst, of April 4th, 1817, Governor Macquarie acknowledges the receipt of Captain Flinders's charts of 'Australia.' This is the first time that the name of Australia appears to have been officially employed. The Governor underlines the word. . . . In a private letter to Mr. Secretary Goulbourn, M.P., of December 21st, 1817, [he]says . . . 'the Continent of Australia, which, I hope, will be the name given to this country in future, instead of the very erroneous and misapplied name hitherto given it of New Holland, which, properly speaking, only applies to a part of this immense Continent.'"

1883. G. W. Rusden, 'History of Australia,' vol. i. p. 64:

"It is pleasant to reflect that the name Australia was selected by the gallant Flinders; though, with his customary modesty, he suggested rather than adopted it."

1895. H. M. Goode, 'The Argus,' Oct. 15, p. 7, col. 4:

"Condemning the absurd practice of using the word 'Colonial' in connection with our wines, instead of the broader and more federal one, 'Australian.' In England our artists, cricketer, scullers, and globe-trotters are all spoken of and acknowledged as Australians, and our produce, with the exception of wine, is classed as follows:—Australian gold and copper, Australian beef and mutton, Australian butter, Australian fruits, &c."

Ibid. p. 14:

"Merops or Bee-Eater. A tribe [of birds] which appears to be peculiarly prevalent in the extensive regions of Australia."

Australian flag, n. Hot climate and country work have brought in a fashion among bushmen of wearing a belt or leather strap round the top of trousers instead of braces. This often causes a fold in the shirt protruding all round from under the waistcoat, which is playfully known as "the Australian flag." Slang.

Australioid and Australoid, adj. like Australian, sc. aboriginal—a term used by ethnologists. See quotations.

1869. J. Lubbock, 'Prehistoric Times,' vol. xii. p. 378:

"The Australoid type contains all the inhabitants of Australia and the native races of the Deccan."

1878. E. B. Tylor, 'Encyclopaedia Britannica,' vol. ii. p. 112:

"He [Professor Huxley] distinguishes four principal types of mankind, the Australioid, Negroid, Mongoloid, and Xanthochroic, adding a fifth variety, the Melanochroic. The special points of the Australioid are a chocolate-brown skin, dark brown or black eyes, black hair (usually wavy), narrow (dolichocephalic) skull, brow-ridges strongly developed, projecting jaw, coarse lips and broad nose. This type is best represented by the natives of Australia, and next to them by the indigenous tribes of Southern India, the so-called coolies."

Austral Thrush, n. See Port-Jackson Thrush.

Avocet, n. a well-known European bird-name. The Australian species is the Red-necked A., Recurvirostra nova-hollandiae, Vieill.

Aweto, n. Maori name for a vegetable-caterpillar of New Zealand. See quotation.

1889. E. Wakefield, 'New Zealand after Fifty Years,' p. 81:

". . . the aweto, or vegetable-caterpillar, called by the naturalists Hipialis virescens. It is a perfect caterpillar in every respect, and a remarkably fine one too, growing to a length in the largest specimens of three and a half inches and the thickness of a finger, but more commonly to about a half or two-thirds of that size. . . . When full-grown, it undergoes a miraculous change. For some inexplicable reason, the spore of a vegetable fungus Sphaeria Robertsii, fixes itself on its neck, or between the head and the first ring of the caterpillar, takes root and grows vigorously . . . exactly like a diminutive bulrush from 6 to 10 inches high without leaves, and consisting solely of a single stem with a dark-brown felt-like head, so familiar in the bulrushes . . . always at the foot of the rata."

1896. A. Bence Jones, in 'Pearson's Magazine,' Sept., p. 290:

"The dye in question was a solution of burnt or powdered resin, or wood, or the aweto, the latter a caterpillar, which, burrowing in the vegetable soil, gets a spore of a fungus between the folds of its neck, and unable to free itself, the insect's body nourishes the fungus, which vegetates and occasions the death of the caterpillar by exactly filling the interior of the body with its roots, always preserving its perfect form. When properly charred this material yielded a fine dark dye, much prized for purposes of moko." [See Moko.]

Axe-breaker, n. name of a tree, Notelaea longifolia, Vent., N.O. Jasmineae.

1889. J. H. Maiden, 'Useful Native Plants,' p. 579:

"Axe-breaker. Wood hard, close-grained and firm. Its vernacular name emphasizes its hardness."


Baal, or Bail, interj. and adv. "An aboriginal expression of disapproval." (Gilbert Parker, Glossary to 'Round the Compass in Australia,' 1888.) It was the negative in the Sydney dialect.

1893. J. F. Hogan, 'Robert Lowe,' p. 271, quoting from 'The Atlas' (circa 1845):

"Traces, however, of the Egyptian language are discoverable among the present inhabitants, with whom, for instance, the word 'Bale' or 'Baal' is in continual use . . . ." [Evidently a joke.]

Babbler, n. a bird-name. In Europe, "name given, on account of their harsh chattering note, to the long-legged thrushes." ('O.E.D.') The group "contains a great number of birds not satisfactorily located elsewhere, and has been called the ornithological waste-basket." ('Century.') The species are—

The Babbler— Pomatostomus temporalis, V. and H.

Chestnut-crowned B.— P. ruficeps, Hart.

Red-breasted B.— P. rubeculus, Gould.

White-browed B.— P. superciliosus, V. and H.

Back-blocks, n. (1) The far interior of Australia, and away from settled country. Land in Australia is divided on the survey maps into blocks, a word confined, in England and the United States, to town lands.

(2) The parts of a station distant from the frontage (q.v.).

1872. Anon. 'Glimpses of Life in Victoria,' p. 31:

". . . we were doomed to see the whole of our river-frontage purchased. . . . The back blocks which were left to us were insufficient for the support of our flocks, and deficient in permanent water-supply. . . ."

1880. J. Mathew, Song—'The Bushman':

"Far, far on the plains of the arid back-blocks A warm-hearted bushman is tending his flocks. There's little to cheer in that vast grassy sea: But oh! he finds pleasure in thinking of me. How weary, how dreary the stillness must be! But oh! the lone bushman is dreaming of me."

1890. E. W. Horning, 'A Bride from the Bush,' p. 298:

"'Down in Vic' you can carry as many sheep to the acre as acres to the sheep up here in the 'backblocks.'"

1893. M. Gaunt, 'English Illustrated, 'Feb., p. 294:

"The back-blocks are very effectual levellers."

1893. Haddon Chambers, 'Thumbnail Sketches of Australian Life,' p. 33

"In the back-blocks of New South Wales he had known both hunger and thirst, and had suffered from sunstroke."

1893. 'The Australasian,' Aug. 12, p. 302, col. 1:

"Although Kara is in the back-blocks of New South Wales, the clothes and boots my brother wears come from Bond Street."

Back-block, adj. from the interior.

1891. Rolf Boldrewood, 'Sydneyside Saxon,' vol. xii. p. 215:

"'What a nice mare that is of yours!' said one of the back-block youngsters."

Back-blocker, n. a resident in the back-blocks.

1870. 'The Argus,' March 22, p. 7, col. 2

"I am a bushman, a back blocker, to whom it happens about once in two years to visit Melbourne."

1892. E. W. Hornung, 'Under Two Skies,' p. 21:

"As for Jim, he made himself very busy indeed, sitting on his heels over the fire in an attitude peculiar to back-blockers."

Back-slanging, verbal n. In the back-blocks (q.v.) of Australia, where hotels are naturally scarce and inferior, the traveller asks for hospitality at the stations (q.v.) on his route, where he is always made welcome. There is no idea of anything underhand on the part of the traveller, yet the custom is called back-slanging.

Badger, n. This English name has been incorrectly applied in Australia, sometimes to the Bandicoot, sometimes to the Rock-Wallaby, and sometimes to the Wombat. In Tasmania, it is the usual bush-name for the last.

1829. 'The Picture of Australia,' p. 173:

"The Parameles, to which the colonists sometimes give the name of badger. . . ."

1831. Ross, 'Hobart Town Almanack,' p. 265:

"That delicious animal, the wombat (commonly known at that place [Macquarie Harbour] by the name of badger, hence the little island of that name in the map was so called, from the circumstance of numbers of that animal being at first found upon it)."

1850. James Bennett Clutterbuck, M.D., 'Port Phillip in 1849,' p. 37:

"The rock Wallaby, or Badger, also belongs to the family of the Kangaroo; its length from the nose to the end of the tail is three feet; the colour of the fur being grey-brown."

1875. Rev. J. G. Wood, 'Natural History,' vol. i. p. 481:

"The Wombat or Australian Badger as it is popularly called by the colonists. . . ."

1891. W. Tilley, 'Wild West of Tasmania,' p. 8:

"With the exception of wombats or 'badgers,' and an occasional kangaroo . . . the intruder had to rely on the stores he carried with him."

ibid. p. 44:

"Badgers also abound, or did until thinned out by hungry prospectors."

Badger-box, n. slang name for a roughly- constructed dwelling.

1875. 'Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania,' September, p. 99 ['Port Davey in 1875,' by the Hon. James Reid Scott, M.L.C.]:

"The dwellings occupied by the piners when up the river are of the style known as 'Badger-boxes,' in distinction from huts, which have perpendicular walls, while the Badger-box is like an inverted V in section. They are covered with bark, with a thatch of grass along the ridge, and are on an average about 14 x 10 feet at the ground, and 9 or 10 feet high."

Bail, n. "A framework for securing the head of a cow while she is milked." ('O.E.D.')

This word, marked in 'O.E.D.' and other Dictionaries as Australian, is provincial English. In the 'English Dialect Dictionary,' edited by Joseph Wright, Part I., the word is given as used in "Ireland, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hampshire and New Zealand." It is also used in Essex.

1872. C. H. Eden, 'My Wife and I in Queensland,' p. 83:

"In every milking yard is an apparatus for confining a cow's head called a 'bail.' This consists of an upright standiron, five feet in height, let into a framework, and about six inches from it another fixed at the heel, the upper part working freely in a slit, in which are holes for a peg, so that when the peg is out and the movable standiron is thrown back, there is abundance of room for a cow's head and horns, but when closed, at which time the two standirons are parallel to each other and six inches apart, though her neck can work freely up and down, it is impossible for her to withdraw her head . . ."

1874. W. M. B., 'Narrative of Edward Crewe,' p. 225:

"The former bovine female was a brute to manage, whom it would have been impossible to milk without a 'bail.' To what man or country the honour of this invention belongs, who can tell? It is in very general use in the Australian colonies; and my advice to any one troubled with a naughty cow, who kicks like fury during the process of milking, is to have a bail constructed in their cow-house."

Bail up, v. (1) To secure the head of a cow in a bail for milking.

(2) By transference, to stop travellers in the bush, used of bushrangers. The quotation, 1888, shows the method of transference. It then means generally, to stop. Like the similar verb, to stick up (q.v.), it is often used humorously of a demand for subscriptions, etc.

1844. Mrs. Chas. Meredith, 'Notes and Sketches of New South Wales,' p. 132:

"The bushrangers . . . walk quickly in, and 'bail up,' i.e. bind with cords, or otherwise secure, the male portion."

1847. Alex. Marjoribanks, 'Travels in New South Wales,' p. 72:

". . . there were eight or ten bullock-teams baled up by three mounted bushrangers. Being baled up is the colonial phrase for those who are attacked, who are afterwards all put together, and guarded by one of the party of the bushrangers when the others are plundering."

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