Sunday, 21 February 2010


To follow on from yesterday's theme of words that are appropriate for the weekend:

larrikin (Austr) n a rough or hooligan; someone who is careless of usual social conventions or behaviour - Also adj - n larrikinism. [Origin doubtful; a connection with "larking about" has been suggested but remains unsubstantiated; also perhaps Cornish larrikin a rowdy youth] Chambers, 1998

There are so many things I like about this word. The sheer sound of it, for one: "larrikin". It sounds like it should be a sherry glass. Then the definition: "a rough". That's brilliant. When was the last time you heard "rough" used as a noun?

"Darling, I sat next to the most dreadful rough on the commuter train this morning."
"Oh how awful. How about a larrikin of sherry?"

Also, though, I like the way the origin is described as "doubtful", before Captain Dictionary goes on to say that there is a Cornish word "larrikin" with a near-identical meaning. Mystery solved, I'd say! Or has Captain Dictionary forgotten that some Cornish people would have been involved in the initial European colonisation of Australia? Congratulations, you forefathers with your casual "sweep them under the equator" attitude. This larrikin's for you. As for Captain Dictionary, don't get me started.

No comments:

Post a Comment