News National ‘Bogan’, ‘pube’ and ‘ranga’ added to the Australian Dictionary

‘Bogan’, ‘pube’ and ‘ranga’ added to the Australian Dictionary

kath and kim
Kath and Kim were poster girls of Bogan-chic.
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Terms like bogan, firie and checkout chick might be common in conversation, but until Wednesday had not been included in the Australian National Dictionary.

The dictionary was initially launched in 1988 to record the origins and meanings of Australian words, and despite first being published nearly 30 years ago, it has not been substantially updated with a second edition until this week.

More than 6000 new words and phrases have been added, including words from 100 Indigenous languages.

Colloquialisms coined by famous faces, and terms originating from pop culture are also present, along with iconic foods including battered savs, chocolate crackles, and fairy bread.

Managing director of Oxford University Press Peter van Noorden said recent politics had also offered up several entries.

“Ex-PM Tony Abbott was really quite fantastic in his use of language,” he said.

“He’s credited with realigning some of our Australianisms, such as shirtfront.

tony abbot budgie smugger
Mr Abbott may not have inspired a fashion trend, but he did revive the term. Photo: AAP

“Captain’s pick was another one which had some interesting fallout for Tony Abbott.

“He’s also the poster boy for the term budgie smuggler, which is another term that we have in there.”

Also making the cut for entry were phrases such as carrying on like a pork chop, couldn’t run a chook raffle, and doing a Bradbury.

pauline hanson
‘Ranga’ has also made the cut. Photo: Getty

The latter is a reference to Australian speed skater Steven Bradbury, who came from last place to take out a gold medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics after his competitors fell over.

The former director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre, Bruce Moore, said the collection reflected Australian values and beliefs.

“Most of us have a sense that there’s something really distinctive about Australian English … we do have a sense that lots of Australian words carry Australian values and attitudes,” he said.

“One of the important things that the dictionary does, I think, is give you a sense of the way these words tell the history of Australia.

“That’s what’s so important about this particular historically-based dictionary.”

Dr Moore said the collection took 28 years to update because of the amount of research that went in to each entry.

“This is a very different kind of dictionary from a dictionary you would use at home, it’s a dictionary that’s based on historical principles,” he said.

“It also includes very detailed quotations from books, newspapers, diaries and so on, illustrating how a word or a meaning has been used over time … it’s that kind of research that takes a long time.”

Mr van Noorden said the dictionary occupied a special role in recording Australian history.

“Language is the heart and soul of any culture, and I think it’s so very important that we record all of these terms,” he said.

Some of the lingo that made the cut

Food and drink words:

  • Goon of Fortune – a drinking game based on Wheel of Fortune involving cask wine and a Hills Hoist
  • Neenish tart – a sweet Australian bakery staple distinguished by its half-and-half pink and brown icing
  • Babyccino – a children’s drink made of hot milk that is frothed
  • Chateau cardboard – cheap cask wine
neenish tart
The neenish tart: pastry, mock cream, jam, icing. Photo: ABC

Terms for people:

  • Pube – a public servant
  • Rurosexual – a metrosexual male who lives in country Australia
  • Ranga – a person with red hair

Political references:

  • Hawkespeak – references Bob Hawke’s long sentences
  • Howard’s battlers – working-class Labor supporters that voted for Liberal prime minister John Howard
  • Keep the bastards honest – Democrats’ slogan coined by leader Don Chipp in the 1980s

Indigenous words:

  • Akudjura – a bush tomato
  • Bilma – a clapstick
  • Bunji – a mate
  • Kumanjayi – a substitute name for a person who has died


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