Calling all Callithumpian bogans


Are you a Callithumpian bogan who lives in a mortgage belt and couldn’t run a chook raffle? Do you slop around the house in your trackie daks,  eating Neenish tarts, drinking Chateau Cardboard, and and dreaming of becoming a grey nomad? Would you like to shirtfront Mrs Kafoops down the road who carries on like a pork chop and wouldn’t work in an iron lung?

No idea what I’m talking about? Then you need the just-published second edition of The Australian National Dictionary : Australian Words and Their Origins (Bruce Moore, Amanda Laugesen, Mark Gwynn, Julia Robinson)

The AND is a dictionary of Australianisms. It includes words and meanings that have originated in Australia, that have a greater currency here than elsewhere, or that have a special significance in Australian history.

There are more than 16,000 Australian terms, including

historical terms from the convict era, the gold rushes, farming, and the experience of war

colloquial terms, including rhyming slang and numerous lively and colourful idioms

regional terms from different states and territories

terms from Aboriginal English, a major dialect of Australian English.


And thank you to the eagle-eyed (or kookaburra-eyed)  Chicken Lady who spotted an article about the AND in the New York Times and sent us the link on our About page:


9 thoughts on “Calling all Callithumpian bogans

  1. So this is an update? I don’t think we have anything like that here. You would have to go to Newfoundland to hear strange brogue. (“stay where you’re at while I come where you’re to”)

  2. Yes, it’s the second edition and this one includes lots of aboriginal words. some of them are already fairly widely used, but let’s hope more of them will be from now on. A lot of the quainter sayings, like the one about the pork chop, are very old-fashioned and a lot of younger Australians would never even have heard them, but they are a lot of fun. Unfortunately Aussie English is being Americanised at a rate of knots, so it’s nice to keep the memory of these lively sayings that were once common.

  3. On the other hand, there’s a whole lot of American slang that’s colorful, but that sadly I haven’t been able to use in either my work in the legal world, or in my MFA. I deeply appreciate the opportunities here to become acquainted with stone my crows, and Callithumpian (Merriam-Webster claims that this is an Americanism with English roots–, and there are Calithumpian festivals in Decatur Indiana and Thamesford, Ontario. But, it sounds as if you are more likely to use it.

  4. Have you ever seen the classic Aussie film ‘The Castle’? Your mention of legal work made me think of it. It features a very unlikely legal victory and a phrase from it “Tell him he’s dreamin’ ” has become part of everyday speak. It might even be in the AND

      1. Oh, do, even if it means you have to rush off afterwards and do some research. I once saw it on a plane coming back here from France and there were a lot of puzzled faces as the Aussies laughed away.

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