KEENAN FAMILY in Australia
Last updated: 19 June 2012
"Aussie English - an explanation of the Australian idiom" by John O'Grady. Published Ure Smith Pty Ltd, 1966.
ABOUT TIME! finally!; at last!
ABOVE BOARD legal; without secrecy or concealment.
ABSO-BLOODY-LUTELY positively; emphatically yes.
ABSOLUTE STEAL cheap; inexpensive; a bargain.
ACT THE GOAT behave in a foolish manner.
AERIAL PING-PONG Australian Rules football.
ALKIE alcholic; a heavy drinker.
ALL OVER THE PLACE LIKE A MADWOMAN'S BREAKFAST complete disorder.
ALL PISS AND WIND boastful, loquacious and insincere, especially when drunk.
AMBER FLUID beer.
ANCHOR The brakes on a motor vehicle. When it's necessary to stop your vehicle suddenly, you "hit the anchors", or "throw out the anchor".
ANCIENT HISTORY facts that are either well known or no longer relevant.
APPLES "She's apples." "She'll be sweet." "She'll be right". "She's jake". Meaning quit worrying, all's well.
ARTIST There are various kinds of artists -- pictorial, literary, musical, etc. -- but the most common kind are 'bull artists'. These are great exaggerators of stories, tellers of tall tales and of wild improbable things. They are held in rather high esteem, because they provide something for ordinary citizens to talk about, or to laugh about.
ARVO Afternoon. "See ya this arvo." -- "Wotta ya doin' this arvo?" -- "Reckoned he was gunna deliver 'em last week, an' he doesn't turn up till yesterdy-bloody-arvo."
Bag Any unprepossessing female. But, since beauty used in the eye of the beholder, she who is in bag to one, may be a vision of delight to another. It is not a good idea to refer to a woman as being 'an old bag' without first learning the other fellow's opinion of her. She may be his wife.
Bag of fruit A suit. And abomination which, with the tie, is still worn in Australia, even in summer. But the further north you go, the fewer will you see. And right up 'the top end', it would be difficult to find a man who owns one.
Barbecue Steak, chops and sausages cooked in the open air when the weather is right. What Americans call a 'cook out'. Sunday is the favoured day for barbecues, and provided there is enough beer it doesn't matter whether the meat is eaten semi--raw, or charred black. There is always enough beer. Some people drink tea when they have a barbecue. But this practice is considered eccentric.
Bastard An extremely useful noun, as valuable to Australians as the coconut is to Polynesians. You will be told that it is a term of endearment. Friends -- male -- greet each other with phrases like 'Hullo, y'old bastard, what're ya drinkin?', or 'Where ya been, y'old bastard?' The privilege, however, is reserved for friends. Any stranger who refers to an Australian as a bastard will need reinforcements.
You may, if you feel like it, refer to yourself as being a 'bit of a bastard', and the definition will be accepted.
If you hear a third person, in his absence, described as being a bastard, the word will not be a term of endearment.
There is a vast difference between friendly bastards and unfriendly bastards, and there are many other kinds of bastards in between. The best kind initial friend.
Then there's the fellow who's 'not a bad poor bastard'; and the one who was a 'harmless poor bastard'; and the one who uses a 'poor stupid bastard' -- all of whom are 'not bad bastards when you get to know 'em'. But the fellow referred to is 'that bastard' is indeed a proper bastard, and to be avoided if possible.
And the worst kind of all is the 'useless bludgin' bastard', who is fortunately rare. 'Useless bludgin' bastards' have no friends at all.
Until -- and if ever -- you become familiar with all the shades of meaning given to the word 'bastard', it will be better for you to leave that out of the conversation. Otherwise you may acquire a reputation for being a "know-all bastard', which will mean that you know nothing at all.
Discuss the word, if you like, with anybody. But don't use it -- about anybody.