Macquarie Dictionary


A visit from an eight-legged friend

A flicker of movement in the corner of your eye. You are being hunted. Eight legs creep across the wall. Tangled in a web of fear, you turn to face… the triantelope!! Ok, enough low-budget horror movie stuff. This week’s Word of the Week is a true blue, eight-legged Aussie legend. The triantelope is a nickname for the hunstman spider, a medium to large spider with flattened, brown or grey, hairy bodies.

Huntsman spiders are widely distributed around Australia but if you see one don’t be afraid, these are beneficial spiders who hunt pesky insects. Huntsman spiders sometimes live in families of up to 150 individuals. If you see that many spiders gathered in one place, you are entitled to turn around and walk the other way.

For more Aussie animals, check out our blog, as well as out list of collective nouns for animals. And just for the adults, most certainly don’t take this turn of phrase literally.

Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.

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