voices from the past



A Dictionary of Australian Words and Terms

By Gilbert H. Lawson, published in the 1920's in Sydney, Australia

Tip ... mouse over words in table will turn on highlighting

Although this dictionary is over 80 years old, it gives you a glimpse into the way people spoke in that era. Some words have the same meaning today, while others may have changed or are seldom used anymore.

If you're reading Australian literature from this time period and earlier, such as works by Banjo Paterson, you may find this dictionary very helpful.


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'Eading playing "two-up."
Eaglehawk Australian species of Uroaetus, a large bird.
Eats food.
Edge to withdraw.
Elephant's back, on the getting the best.
'Ell for leather at top pace.
Emu a large non-flying ground bird.
End up to stand up.
Eucalyptol oil extracted from eucalyptus tree.
Eucalyptus the gum tree. There are 120 species.
Eye-full have a look.
Fade away to depart.
Fag a cigarette.
Fair crack of the whip just treatment.
Fair go just treatment.
Fed up disgusted.
Fell to the joke to be taken in.
Fifty-fifty equal share.
Fire stick lighted stick carried by aboriginals.
Fives the fists.
Fizgig police informer.
Flabbergast to astonish.
Flame a sweetheart.
Flannel flower small white flower, abundant in N.S.W.
Flapper a brazen girl.
Flare up a row.
Flash showy; smart.
Flat a fool.
Flat feet policemen.
Flathead Australian name for species of salt-water fish.
Floating 'em a "two-up" term.
Floored knocked down.
Fluff a female.
Fluke to be lucky.
Flutter to give a trial.
Fly wide awake; smart.
Flying fox a very large fruit-eating bat with a fox-like face.
Foot, me ridiculous.
Fore out to pay.
Fowl old woman; obnoxious women.
Frame-up dubious methods.
Free-selection land taken up under certain laws.
Free-selector one who takes up crown land.
Fresh-water perch Tasmanian fish.
Frisky fresh.
Frog a policeman; a note.
Fudge to cheat.
Full up sick of.
Funk to be afraid.
Furphy wild rumour.
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