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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a specie of heron, about two feet long, with long, slender, downwardly curved bill like that of a curlew, with which don't confuse.
Imshee to go away.
Inked to be drunk.
Intro. abbreviation of introduction.
Ironbark genus of eucalyptus.
It, to be to be in authority.
Ivy, native an Australian variety of ivy.
Jab a smart punch.
Jackass (see laughing jackass).
Jackaroo a young man learning station work.
Jack the painter strong bush tea.
Jacky winter vernacular name of the brown fly-catcher bird.
Jake all right; in order.
Jane a woman.
Jaw-breaker excessively long word.
Jew-fish name applied to species of Sciaena Antarticia.
Jiff a brief period.
Jimmy an immigrant. Word now obsolete.
Jimmy Woodser one who drinks alone.
Jinker contrivance for carrying wood in bush.
Job, to to attack; to strike.
John a policeman.
Joint establishment, house, or place.
Jo-jo a hairy-faced person.
Joke, to be in the to have knowledge of a scheme.
Jolt a sharp punch.
Jug prison.
Jumbuck aboriginal name for sheep.
Jumper mining term. One who jumps a claim.
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