Macquarie Dictionary Blog
If you've got more hide than Jessie, you're probably on the naughty list
Dec 24, 2018
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.
This week, our word is hide. Specifically, to have more hide than Jessie. This phrase comes from the elephant Jessie at Taronga Park Zoo, Sydney, who died in 1939 aged 67. She was a magnificent, well-known and much-loved creature in her time in Australia, so much so that she entered the Australian lexicon.
An article on Trove notes that in her move from Moore Park to the eventual site of Taronga Zoo:
in order to keep her in a good humour, she is to be given two nurses, who will walk one on either side of her - two of Wirth Brothers circus elephants if they are to be had. The only fear is lest evil communications may corrupt Jessie's good manners, and lead to her running away to join the circus.
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