The Honey Badger speaks Strine

by Mark Gwynn

Several years ago my colleague wrote a light-hearted blog judging the Australianness of the language of Nick Cummins, aka the Honey Badger. The rugby union player and former Wallaby had become well-known for his use of quirky idioms, rhyming slang, and the Australian vernacular. Suffice to say the Badger’s colloquial language contained a significant proportion of distinctive Australian terms. Now that he is starring in this year’s The Bachelor Australia, it’s time to revisit the Honey Badger for a look at his recent use of language.

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Full as a goog

by Mark Gwynn

Last time he arrived, plastered to the eyeballs, full as a State school. (C. Rohan, Down by the Dockside, 1963)

We sat under the oleanders eating liquorice all-sorts .. ‘God, I’m full as a goog‘, Connie said. (Paul Radley, Jack Rivers and Me, 1981)

He deals with bed crisis on a daily basis as the hospital is, as they used to say, ‘as full as a Catholic school‘. (Adelaide Advertiser, 24 June 2001)

The ‘wafer thin’ scene from Monty Python’s 1983 film The Meaning of Life

In Australian English the word full is found in various similes to designate ‘fullness’ of three main kinds: (1) being very drunk; (2) having eaten to one’s limits or satisfaction; (3) containing or holding much or many. The earliest forms, full as a goog, full as a boot, full as a bull (or bull’s bum), and full as a state school (with variants such as full as a state school hat rack) are all recorded from the 1930s. A number of other variants emerge from the 1960s onwards, including full as a Catholic school, full as a pommy complaint box, full as the family po (from the French pronunciation of pot in chamber pot), the offensive full as a fairy’s phone book, and full as Centrelink on payday.

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