With slang in the news and Australia Day upon us (and behind some of us), it seemed only fitting to do an Australian slang word game. I’m no bushie, so I’ve turned to a few online sources to help me identify and define truly Aussie slang. How well do you know your Strine? You won’t be stonkered if you can match the slang term with its correct definition.
Copyeditors are taught to delete slang. It’s too informal, ignorant, or ungrammatical, we’re told, for the formalness of writing. It should be relegated to informal conversation with close friends and family.
As a result, we tend to dismiss slang altogether. We miss out on what it might add to a manuscript and how it can sometimes become acceptable Standard English, storming the language tower.
I finally watched Ball of Fire, the 1941 screwball romantic comedy with Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, and an excellent supporting cast of character actors. It’s often pitched as an interesting Billy Wilder take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (which it is), but it’s also a crazy feast of word-nerd delight.
Apples are generally featured positively in idiomatic expressions. To be the apple of someone’s eye, to visit the Big Apple, to throw the apple right down the middle for a strike, to stay healthy by eating an apple a day—all good things. Not upsetting the apple cart or lamenting how one bad apple can spoil the bin (or asserting that it can’t) assume that apples are good and tidy (in apple-pie order) and should remain that way.