Macquarie Dictionary


Don’t stir the pot, stir the possum!

This week we are looking at provocative slang words. Do you have a mate who likes to stir the possum? That is, creates a disturbance or uproar? Stir the possum has been Aussie slang since the 1900s, so named because a sleeping possum does not take well to being stirred up. Stir the possum can also mean to instigate a debate on a controversial topic, especially in the public arena. 

Similar phrases include stir up, stir the hornet’s nest and a personal favourite shit-stir. Sounds gross, right? The latter more specifically means to make trouble; to provoke or tease – especially just for amusement or simply for the sake of it. 

Similarly, a troll is someone who, protected by online anonymity, posts messages in a discussion forum, chat room, etc., which are designed to disrupt the normal flow of communication by being inflammatory or puzzling

You might say that the whole world is now made up of trolls trying to stir the possum, but that’s the cynical view.  

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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