Tuesday, April 28, 2015

That's gammon!

There has been some brouhaha* in social media circles of late concerning a couple of My Kitchen Rules contestants from regional Queensland who used the word "gammon" during a broadcast of the popular reality TV show.

Apparently, many people throughout the country had no idea what the word meant.

They should have consulted the Macquarie Dictionary, which is one of the best sources of Australian words in the world.

If they had, they would have quickly discovered that:

"Gammon" is a word that came over with the convict settlers, and is "flash slang" - part of the extensive and colourful vocabulary use by convicts (and heavily influenced by British thieves' slang).

When used as an adjective, it means "not true" or "fake".  As a verb, it means "to lie or fib" or "to kid".

And, as an interjection, it is used to imply disbelief (as in "yer gammon!").

The word was once used throughout the colony of NSW, but these days is only heard in northern and central Australia and amongst many Aboriginal communities ("Gammon", 2014).

Or, perhaps they could have consulted the Oxford English Dictionary, which is one of the most widely respected dictionaries in the world.

That would have had less of the Australian context of the word, but would have provided the information that the word "gammon" used to refer to "absurd, worthless, or manifestly false talk or ideas; rubbish, nonsense" ("Gammon", 2015).

Also, the word used to be used in England to describe patter used to distract people while a thief made off with the goods.

The JCU Library subscribes to both the Macquarie Dictionary Online and the Oxford English Dictionary online.

Staff and students of JCU can knock themselves out looking up all sorts of interesting words - whether you need to for your research, or just to satisfy your curiosity.

Not gammon.

References (APA format)

Gammon. (2014). In Macquarie Dictionary Online. Retrieved from http://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/features/word/search/?word=gammon

Gammon. (2015). In Oxford English Dictionary.  Retireved from http://www.oed.com.elibrary.jcu.edu.au/view/Entry/76526

/╦łbruhaha/ (say 'broohhahhah)
noun 1.  an uproar; turmoil.
2.  a scuffle; disturbance.
[French, probably imitative]
Brouhaha. (2014). In Macquarie Dictionary Online.  Retrieved from https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/features/word/search/?word=brouhaha

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