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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Lad a humorous fellow.
Lag to delay.
Landed caught.
Land the mustard to win money.
Lark a practical joke.
Larrikin a rowdy, ill-mannered youth.
Lash to strike.
Laughing jackass
a kingfisher about the size of a crow and having the upper parts dull brown and the under parts dirty white.
Lay off to rest.
Leather jacket a small, tough-skinned fish.
Leery a common person.
Leg in to get a start.
Leg pulling to deceive; make-believe.
Let drive to strike at.
Lice to defeat.
Lid a hat.
Light horse Australian cavalry.
Lights the eyes.
Limit extreme.
Line up to accost.
Lingo language.
Lip impudence.
Listener the ear.
Lizard Australian reptile.
Lob, to to arrive; to strike.
Locust erroneous name for cicada.
Lollies sweets, candies, frequently in glass jars when displayed for sale.
Lolly, it is a easy to deceive.
Long-headed calculating person.
Long-sleever an elongated glass.
'Loo Woolloomooloo, suburb of Sydney.
Lose yer block to get annoyed.
Loud ostentatious.
Lousy mean; dirty.
Lubra an adult female Australian aboriginal.
Lug ear.
Lumme a mild oath.
Lurk a scheme.
an Australian bird about the size of the English grouse, having sixteen tail feathers very long, and when spread during courtship arranged in the form of a lyre.
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