‘Barney’s bull’: meanings and early occurrences

Australia, 1834—used in various phrases, in particular as a type of someone or something in a very bad state or condition—also in the phrase ‘all behind like Barney’s bull’, meaning ‘very delayed’ or ‘backward’—origin unknown

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‘may your chooks turn into emus and kick your dunny down’

Australia, 1972—a jocular curse—the Australian National Dictionary Centre explains that this phrase “recalls an earlier time when many Australians kept chooks (domestic chickens) in the backyard and the dunny was a separate outhouse”

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the noun ‘dunny’ in Australian phrases

The noun ‘dunny’ denotes a toilet, especially an outside toilet. This noun has been used in various phrases expressing notions such as conspicuousness, loneliness, ill luck, etc.

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‘to shoot the cat’: meaning (and origin?)

to vomit, especially from drunkenness—slang, obsolete—UK, 1785—perhaps alludes to the fact that cats are prone to vomit—cf. also the obsolete French verb ‘renarder’, to vomit, from the noun ‘renard’, denoting a fox

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‘charity dame’ | ‘charity moll’: meaning and origin

Australia—‘charity dame’ 1949—‘charity moll’ 1962—an amateur prostitute who charges less than the usual rate—from ‘Moll’, pet form of the female forename ‘Mary’, the noun ‘moll’ has long been used to designate a prostitute

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Australian terms referring to left-handedness

left-handed: ‘molly-handed’, ‘mauldy’, ‘molly-dooked’—a left-handed person: ‘molly-hander’, ‘mauldy’, ‘molly-dook’—‘molly’ and ‘mauldy’ may derive from ‘mauley’, denoting the hand or fist; ‘dook’ is ‘duke’, denoting the hand or fist

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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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