Macquarie Dictionary


Arcing up

Sit back and watch the sparks fly. This week’s word of the week is arc up. To arc up means to become upset or livid with anger, to ‘flare up’ like a welder’s torch. 

We all get upset, luckily Aussie English contains a plethora of words to describe when we become angry. Does reading this blog make you go ballistic, as in, explode with anger? If you’re up in North Queensland or the NT, you might burr up instead. 

Even gotten so angry it’s caused you to fart sparks or spit chips? Do you let it rip, give free rein to anger or passion, when you see a spelling mistake, or go off, vent anger?

Two favourite red-faced, angry Aussie words are ropeable and spew. Ropeable dates back to the 1870s and is still going strong. It means seething with anger to the extent that you are literally ‘fit to be tied.’ Spew primarily means to vomit but is also frequently used to mean that you are extremely angry, as in, I was spewing when I read the latest Macquarie blog!

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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