[lg policy] An Australian Dictionary Makes ‘Shirt-front’ and ‘Budgie Smuggler’ Official

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Aug 24 11:24:23 EDT 2016

An Australian Dictionary Makes ‘Shirt-front’ and ‘Budgie Smuggler’ Official

By MIKE IVESAUG. 23, 2016
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Swimmers wearing “budgie smugglers” at Maroubra Beach in Sydney, Australia.
Credit David Gray/Reuters

HONG KONG — In October 2014, Australia
prime minister produced blank stares around the globe when he vowed to
“shirt-front” President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia over the downing of a
Malaysia Airlines plane
in Ukraine, in which 28 Australian citizens had been killed.

Back home, many Australians knew exactly what Tony Abbott, who was then
prime minister, was talking about: “Shirt-front” describes charging an
opponent in Australian football. But those who didn’t understand had few
authoritative sources to consult.

Until now.

“Shirt-front” is among the more than 6,000 new entries in an updated
version of the Australian National Dictionary, released Tuesday at a
ceremony at the country’s Parliament in Canberra, the capital. It was the
first update since the dictionary’s inaugural edition
<http://australiannationaldictionary.com.au/index.php> was printed in 1988.

The new edition, which lists 16,000 idioms, was compiled by the Australian
National Dictionary Center at the Australian National University. New
entries include popular terms like bogan (“an uncultured and
unsophisticated person”) and budgie smugglers (“a pair of closefitting male
swimming briefs made of stretch fabric”).

The dictionary also includes terms from more than 100 indigenous languages
that have been incorporated into Australian English in recent decades. For
example, rakali, a word for water rat, is commonly used outside of
indigenous communities.
Do you speak Australian? Take our quiz.

The dictionary, published by Oxford University Press Australia and New
Zealand, is not the only Australian-centric one in print. But Amanda
Laugesen, its managing editor, said it was unique because it paid
particular attention to how words and phrases had evolved.

Some of the additions to the new edition are obsolete in everyday speech
but were included for their cultural value, she said by telephone on

“It’s more a kind of history, if you like, of the language,” Dr. Laugesen
said of the dictionary.

Initial reactions on social media were a mix of amusement, surprise and

Some users expressed gratitude that the dictionary’s debut had brought new
attention to famous “budgie smuggler” photographs of Mr. Abbott in a
tightfitting bathing suit.

from the NY Times

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