Author Topic: "Bludge" and "wag" - Aussie usage notes  (Read 17915 times)

Alan W

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"Bludge" and "wag" - Aussie usage notes
« on: September 04, 2007, 11:45:02 AM »
A visitor to the Ozlip site sent this query to me:

I am a Canadian living in Brisbane and I discovered your site while searching for a definition of "bludge" or "bludger".  I apparently used this term incorrectly when I recently said to a friend, "I bludged the conference" as in, I skipped-out on the conference.  Apparently, this behaviour makes me a bludger and I was indeed bludging, but for some reason I don't yet understand, I didn't bludge the conference.  Please explain.

Here is the reply I sent him:

Since the Ozlip word list is presented in support of my game, it's restricted to words of 3 and 4 letters, which is why "bludge" is not covered. However I'm happy to try to enlighten you.

Actually, what you could have said was that you wagged the conference. Originally meaning to play truant from school, "wag" has come to be used also for skipping a meeting, conference, etc. It can be used transitively: "wagging school", or in the phrase "wag it", where the "it" doesn't refer to anything specific: "He did badly in his studies because he used to wag it all the time." "Wag" in this sense is widely used in Australia - and I claim it as an Australianism for my game - but it seems to be used regionally in England as well.

If you bludge something, the something is an object you are cadging: "Can I bludge a smoke off you, mate?" But "bludge" is most often used intransitively - you don't bludge anything, you just bludge: "I couldn't be bothered going to the conference - I just stayed home and bludged." You can bludge ON somebody, meaning you slack off at their expense: "Bludging on the taxpayers". Originally this referred to a pimp "bludging on" a prostitute.

"Bludge" can also be a noun, for an easy job or assignment. "This course is a bit of a bludge."

As is often the case with slang words, "bludge" can be used as a strongly derogatory term, or in a mild, almost neutral, sense. It all depends on the context. The phrase "dole bludger" is used as a highly disparaging term for people alleged to be avoiding jobs and living at the taxpayers' expense. On the other hand, somebody might say to a workmate, "I feel like bludging this afternoon." So, feel free to call yourself a bludger, but be careful about calling someone else one!

I thought people might be interested in this information, or have something further to add...
Alan Walker
Creator of Lexigame websites


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Re: "Bludge" and "wag" - Aussie usage notes
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2007, 12:22:54 PM »
Couldn't possibly add anything to your explanation, Alan.....beautifully put! Now our non-Aussie friends will be able to use the words fearlessly and correctly! (no....not use the words " fearlessly" and "correctly"....use the terms "wagging it" and....oh, you know what I mean.) :D


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Re: "Bludge" and "wag" - Aussie usage notes
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2007, 12:40:13 PM »
Totally new to me, and quite an edifying explanation, once I let it all sink in. No one here could accuse you of being a wag or bludge, Alan!  >:D


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Re: "Bludge" and "wag" - Aussie usage notes
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 05:49:40 PM »
Your explanation is a veritable model of lucidity, mate, and I marvel that you have the time and energy to be so helpful.  As a bludger from way back, I can't think of anything to add...  ;D

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