Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Dec 14 07:54:48 UTC 2001

At 3:20 PM -0500 12/14/01, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:
>On Fri, Dec 14, 2001 at 03:12:18PM -0500, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>>  >> What is a "mong"?
>>  >
>>  >Presumably this would be Australian slang _mong_ 'a desicable person',
>>  >ultimately from _mongrel_, and not to be confused with British slang
>>  >_mong_ 'an idiot; fool', from _Mongol_.
>>  I suspect it might instead be Australian slang _mong_ "stupid/annoying
>>  person"/"dork" from _mongo_ from _mongoloid_ [i.e., "mongoloid idiot" I
>>  guess], as shown in Macquarie's --
>  >

Ah, the return of dork!
>Hmm. This seems to be newer Australian slang; it's not in the
>Australian National Dictionary for example. Since the speaker
>in question was, what, 83?, it still seems likely that the
>_mongrel_ variant is the likely candidate.
>(The earliest OED has for _mong_ 'idiot' (< _mongoloid_) is 1980,
>and is labelled British; while there's clearly current Aus use
>if Macquarie is to be trusted, it still seems like a rather elderly man
>wouldn't have been using this sense.)

The "mongrel" version of "mong" is included in M. O. Wilkes's _A
Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms_ with a first cite (from a
newspaper) in 1933.  This is sense 3 (= 'a human being'; derogatory);
senses 1 (abbr. of mongrel) and 2 ('any dog') go back to a cite in a
Jack Moses novel published in 1923.


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