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What does 'bogan' mean in 2013?

Dec 05, 2013

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No one is quite sure of the origin of ‘bogan’ although there is general agreement that it is a word that became current in the 1980s. It could come from Bogan, the name of a river in NSW, which was then used to mean ‘outback’ in combinations like ‘Bogan gate’, a makeshift gate of wire and a couple of droppers. This is the way in which we use ‘bush’ to mean rough and ready, unsophisticated, crude.

So someone who is rough and ready and unsophisticated is a bogan. There is a general notion of how the stereotype dresses – flannos and ug boots and mullet hairdos – and eats – pizza and coke.

Other theories are that it is the name of a person. This is a standard way of arriving at words for stereotypes. In Queensland the bogan is a bevan from the name Bevan. Other examples are Bazza for a brash Australian word, Kimmie for the female equivalent, and Nigel for a nerdy bloke.

Before the bogan there was the ocker and before that there was the larrikin. It is interesting that these words start out as derogatory labels but swing around to have some positive value. It is good in Australia to be a bit of a larrikin, and being a bit of an ocker doesn’t hurt either. Much better than being arty-farty. It seems that bogan is similarly upbeat with people commenting that ‘there is a little bit of bogan in all of us’. If Clive Palmer is to be believed we should be proud of it.

Read the full article: Clive Palmer or Bob Hawke: Who is Australia's quintessential political bogan? | Tony Wright | SMH


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