‘stickybeak’: meanings and origin

Australia—1914: the nose of an overly inquisitive person—later: an overly inquisitive person, who pries into the affairs of others—hence used as a verb meaning ‘to pry’, ‘to snoop’

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‘the big smoke’: meanings and origins

Australian English, 1848: any urban area (said to be of Aboriginal origin)—Irish and British English, 1862: Dublin and London—alludes to smoke as characteristic of an urban area

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an Australian use of ‘grasshopper’

1950—‘grasshopper’ and its shortened form ‘grassy’, typically used in the plural, denote a tourist, especially a visitor to Canberra—the image is that a coachload of tourists is similar to a swarm of grasshoppers

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‘wood-and-water joey’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1847—an odd-job man—‘wood-and-water’ alludes to the phrase ‘hewer of wood and drawer of water’, designating a labourer of the lowest kind—‘joey’ is perhaps the noun denoting a young kangaroo, and by extension anything young or small

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‘brown bomber’: meaning and origin

Australia, 1950—a traffic warden in the state of New South Wales—‘brown’ probably refers to the colour of those traffic wardens’ uniform—‘bomber’ may refer to the fact that many of those traffic wardens were originally war veterans; or perhaps to the Australian-English use of the noun ‘bomb’ for an old car

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