‘I don’t know if I’m Arthur or Martha’: Aussie phrases added to dictionary
Aussie phrases “wouldn’t know a tram was up him until the conductor rang a bell” and “I don’t know if I’m Arthur or Martha” have been added to the Australian National Dictionary.
The update adds more than 6000 new Australian words and phrases, including words from more than 100 indigenous languages.
It now has definitions and the history of 16,000 words and phrases unique to Australia.
Babyccino, long black, battered sav, chiko roll, dagwood dog and fairy bread — all everyday descriptions of what we eat and drink, but only now officially recorded.
“Carry on like a pork chop”, “couldn’t run a chook raffle” and “a cup of tea, a Bex and good lie down” are included, as are “do a Bradbury”, “straight to the pool room” and “happy as a bastard on Father’s Day”.
Launching the dictionary, Labor’s Andrew Leigh also picked-up “I don’t know if I’m Arthur or Martha”, the “blood’s worth bottling” and “wouldn’t know a tram was up him until the conductor rang a bell”.
“To read a dictionary like this is to delight in the richness of the Australian language and to recognise it is a language that is always changing,” Dr Leigh said.
“May the third edition not be 28 years away.”
Oxford University Press boss Peter van Noorden said it was the first comprehensive update of the Australian National Dictionary since 1988.
Mr van Noorden said politics aside, former prime minister Tony Abbott added colour to the Australian language and was missed by the country’s wordsmiths.
“We’re a bit disappointed that Tony Abbott isn’t as prevalent anymore on our TV screens,” Mr van Noorden said at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday.
“He certainly brought us some beauties in terms of ‘shirt front’, which was a real winner. ‘Captain’s pick” was a beauty as well and he sort of the became the poster boy for ‘budgie smuggler’.”
For the benefit of overseas readers:
“I don’t know if I’m Arthur or Martha.”
This has nothing to do with cross dressing or lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex. It simply means being in a state of confusion.
The phrase was first recorded in the 1940s, a 1948 example from the Sydney newspaper Truth being “Players were all over the place like Brown's cows, and most didn't know whether they were Arthur or Martha.”
The word dates from the 1990’s in Australia and means a drink of frothy milk with a chocolate topping, designed as an alternative to coffee for young children.
A saveloy (frankurt) which has been battered and deep fried. It is often sold on a stick at shows such as the Royal Easter Show and can be dipped in tomato sauce. It has been described as a heart attack on a stick.
Related: “Fair suck of the sav”, meaning that a person’s views or comments are seen as extreme, untenable or untruthful.
The Chiko Roll is an Australian savoury snack invented by Frank McEncroe, inspired by the Chinese spring roll and first sold in 1951 as the "Chicken Roll", despite not actually containing chicken. The snack was designed to be easily eaten on the move without a plate or cutlery. Since 1995 they have been owned by Simplot Australia.
A Chiko roll's filling comprises primarily of cabbage and barley, as well as carrot, green beans, beef, beef tallow, wheat cereal, celery and onion. This filling is partially pulped and enclosed in a thick egg and flour pastry tube designed to survive handling at football matches. The roll is typically deep-fried in vegetable oil.
At the peak of its popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, forty million Chiko Rolls were sold annually in Australia, and the product has been described as an Australian cultural icon. Increasing competition in the Australian takeaway food market in recent decades has seen a decline in the profile of the Chiko Roll, with consumption down to 17 million per annum in 2011
Since the 1950s, Chiko Rolls have been advertised featuring the "Chiko Chick" character, a seductive woman on a motorbike accompanied by the slogan "Couldn't you go a Chiko Roll?". During the early 1980s, the accompanying slogan "You can't knock the roll" was used.
In 2008, the company began a nationwide search for the new "Chiko Chick", hoping to downplay the traditionally raunchy look in favour of more wholesome, "girl next door" image. On 17 July 2008, the new advertising poster was unveiled at the Wagga Wagga Showgrounds featuring Annette Melton as the new face.