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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Tabby a girl.
Tackle to fight.
Take 'em on engage in fight.
Taking the knock to avoid payment.
Take down to defraud.
Take a tumble to be aware of.
Tasmanian devil
a carnivorous burrowing marsupial, with a coarse, mostly jet black fur, and about the size of a badger.
Tasmanian Tiger native wolf.
Tats teeth.
Tenner a ten-pound note.
Teraglin aboriginal name for a N.S.W. Fish.
Throw in the marble to relinquish.
Throwing stick aboriginal weapon.
Tight mean; drunk.
Time, to do term of imprisonment.
Tin money.
Tin-plate a mate.
Tipple alcohol.
Tipster professional racecourse gambler.
Togged smartly dressed.
Togs clothes.
Top off to finish.
Tortoise reptile (Chelonia order) with body protected by a shell.
Touch, to to borrow.
Tough luck misfortune.
Tout a spy.
Township a small town.
Track with to associate in love affairs.
Trawler police patrol van.
Tray bit threepenny piece.
Treat to buy for a person.
Tuckerbag the bag in which the sundowner carries his rations.
Tug a rogue.
Turned down rejected.
Turn up good luck.
Turtle a shell-back reptile of Chelonia order. Found in Australia.
Twicer a deceitful fellow.
Twist and twirl a girl.
Twister undependable person.
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