Macquarie Dictionary


Come here you little nointer!

This week we are looking at a mischievous little word that originated from Tasmania. A nointer is a slang term for a spoiled or difficult child, one who is particularly brattish. 

Originating from British dialect, nointer is a shortening of anointer, ‘a mischievous fellow’. This relates to the obsolete verb anoint ‘to chastise or thrash’, in other words to ‘consecrate’ by beating. 

Our Tasmanian readers had plenty to say on this word in our Australian Word Map, especially when it came to pronunciation. Varieties included ‘nineter’ and ‘ninter.’ All contributor’s agreed they heard nointer when they were growing up but not everyone agreed on the definition. One contributor claimed a nointer was an ‘overeater,’ a definition they learned growing up in Tasmania. 

It just goes to show that regionalisms such as nointer can vary in meaning and pronunciation, even within a region!

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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