Macquarie Dictionary


Are you a greenie?

Greenie is a term for a conservationist that is now used worldwide, but it was originally an Australian coinage back in the 1970s. 

Although the association of the colour green with environmentalism was first made in German politics of the early 1970s, and first appeared in English in the name Greenpeace, the addition of -ie to form a noun was an Australian contribution (and one we are very fond of doing to many different words).

Of course, being Australia, there are various other meanings that greenie holds, including a variety of yabby, a variety of frog and a variety of bird. And it has a meaning in surfing culture of a large green unbroken wave.

What was your first encounter with the word greenie?

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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