Macquarie Dictionary


Is ‘little nipper’ a tautology?

Anyone who lives near a beach might have seen a group of junior lifesavers, also known as nippers. There are a number of meanings for this word, but no clear etymology listed.

An interesting and very likely now very much illegal meaning was a ‘young lad on a construction site or in a mine who did small odd jobs, such as making tea and buying lunch.’

We would love to hear from any nippers of any kind out there. Is this a common term where you come from?

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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