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Oct 17, 2003
This week's theme
Words originating in Australia

This week's words

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dinkum (also fair dinkum)

(DING-kuhm), Pronunciation Sound Clip

adjective: True; honest; genuine.

Probably derived, like many other Australian words, from English dialect. The counties of Lincolnshire and Derbyshire had a word dinkum or dincum meaning "work; a fair share of work." The word was first recorded in Australia in Rolf Boldrewood's Robbery Under Arms (1888): "It took us an hour's hard dinkum to get near the peak."

"You TFF readers are a fair dinkum clever bunch, and you have responded magnificently to my request to send in your best 'I am so old' one-liners. Peter Meadowfair, for example, claims to be so old that, 'I can remember when England could play cricket. And I can remember when the English cared whether England could play cricket.'"
Peter FitzSimons; A Snapshot of Life in the Land of the Magpies; Sydney Morning Herald; Sep 27, 2003.

"A fair dinkum dictionary. Cobbers everywhere are saying send her down Hughie - but people outside of Australia have no idea what it means. A new book released by the National Museum of Australia today hopes to give overseas visitors an insight into the national lingo. Words such as cobber, and terms such as send her down Hughie and put the moz on are explained in the book."
A Fair Dinkum Dictionary; AAP Report in The Age; Jan 24, 2003.


But man, proud man, / Drest in a little brief authority, / Most ignorant of what he's most assured, / His glassy essence, like an angry ape, / Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven / As make the angels weep. -William Shakespeare, playwright and poet (1564-1616)

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