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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Gab talk.
Galah the rose-breasted cockatoo.
Game, in the to be one of the affluent.
Gammon to deceive.
Ganger boss of navvies.
Gawky awkward person.
Gazob a foolish person.
Geebung aboriginal name for small native plum.
Geewhizz expressing surprise.
Get, to do a a hurried departure.
Gibber a rock.
Gibber-gunyah aboriginal home in cave.
Gill-bird another name for wattle bird.
Gin aboriginal woman.
Gink a peculiar fellow.
Give it a go to make an attempt.
Gizzard the heart.
Glassy eye a cold stare.
Glue-pot a bad road.
a large lizard, varying in size and colour. It lives both above and below the ground and in trees. Many are capable of swallowing a live 'possum.
Goat a fool.
Go him to want to fight.
Goin' stiff 'uns thieving from inebriates.
Gone west dead.
Goodo all right.
Goo-goo eyes affectionate glance.
Gooley a stone.
Goose foolish person.
Goosed fooled.
Go the whole pile to risk everything.
Grab to seize.
a leaping, grass-feeding insect varying from less than an inch to two inches in length, with spare body and very long wings and legs.
Green inexperienced person.
Grey nurse shark type of Australian shark.
Griffin, the straight the truth.
Groggy reeling; dazed.
Grouch a complaint.
Grouse something good.
Grub food.
Guff foolish talk.
Guffed deceived.
Gully a shallow valley.
Gum popular name for trees of the genus eucalyptus.
Gummy species of shark with small teeth.
Gum tree variety of eucalyptus.
Gun tobacco pipe.
a blackfellow's humpy, built of bark, sometimes around a tree, but not always, tapering from a peak at the top to a bell-shape at the bottom.
Guy a person.
Guy, to do a to retreat.
Guyver pretence.
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