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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Half-a-wheel 2s. 6d.
Handies, playing sweethearts holding hands
Hand out to give.
Hanger on unwanted person.
Hang off to stand aside; refuse.
Hang-over the remnants of a feast.
Hankies handkerchiefs.
Hard lines bad luck.
Hard up destitute.
Hash a common food.
Hatter a solitary person.
Hawker door-to-door traveller.
Head a person of authority.
Head Serang the master.
Hitched to be married.
Hog wash beer.
Holdin' possessing money.
Homestead dwelling on a station.
Honey-eater Australian bird which absorbs honey from flowers.
Hooked having enticed a young lady.
Hop off to run away.
Hot 'un something unusual; an unlikely story.
Humdinger a proficient person.
Hump, to to carry a burden.
Humpy bush hut.
Hunk a piece of anything.
Hut a small bush home.
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