Don’t come the raw prawn with me, sport


The Fairfax press this week carries a great piece by Lawrence Money lamenting the loss of good old Aussie  slang:

What about all those gems from the Aussie lexicon of yore? The days when, if you missed work because of illness, you were “off crook” – and if you got worse you could eventually “cark it”. When a bloke, fancying a sheila, would try to “crack on to her” – and if he failed miserably he “wouldn’t come within coo-ee”. When, if you tried your hardest regardless of success, you “gave it a burl”. Or when a dog dug a hole in the vegie patch and his master threatened to “introduce him to the Julius Marlow”.

The sass, the wit, the irreverence. That was the Aussie trademark. Is it all vanishing into the global melting pot? 

Here’s the thing: like, yeah, totally.

Gert has written her own paean to slang and cliché in One in a Million which includes sayings that  are dinky-di Aussie, as far as we know: as miserable as a bandicoot, as flash as a rat with a gold tooth, as mad as a cut snake, all mouth and no trousers, better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick, like a rat up a drainpipe.

And what about a booze bus, to bludge, to get a guernsey, to see a man about a dog…

Are these used anywhere else in the world? If not they should be. But you know what? We’ve got Buckley’s.


11 thoughts on “Don’t come the raw prawn with me, sport

  1. ‘All mouth and trousers’ and ‘going to see a man about a dog’ are definitely also English expressions. (Not usually ‘no trousers’ there).

  2. there seems to be a slight difference. According to one source it seems that the ‘trousers’part means being showy and ‘no trousers’ means they have nothing to be showy about. Hope that’s right!

  3. I read this aloud to my husband as we were running errands this afternoon, a somewhat surreal accompaniment to our travels. Now we will have to go look all of these up. I don’t think that I’ll be dropping “don’t come the raw prawn with me, sport,” into Alaskan conversations anytime soon, but perhaps some of the others will find a place.

  4. One of the few snippets of information remaining from my days in the classroom was a teacher’s explanation of the term “bludger”. Apparently the original meaning of the word was “a brothel keeper”; it later became “a person deriving an income from the exertions of others ” and finally just “a lazy person.” In those days, the teacher warned, the original meaning still prevailed in Queensland and NSW, and use of the term in the wrong company could be seen as an invitation for a punch on the nose. In Victoria and South Australia (where perhaps there were fewer brothels) the general definition of “a lazy person” applied.

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