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bathers

swimming clothes: Put on your bathers; we're going for a swim. Compare cossie, costume, swimmers, swimsuit, togs.
Contributor's comments: This is used in South Australia.

Contributor's comments: In South Australia, we have always referred to swimming attire as "bathers" or, sometimes in the case for girls, "swim-suit".

Contributor's comments: This is also used in WA.

Contributor's comments: Bathers has always been used in Perth where I was born and lived until 8 years ago.

Contributor's comments: Growing up and living in Perth, we have always used the term 'bathers' when swimming. Sometimes the term 'bathing suit' is used.

Contributor's comments: A true West Aussie only uses the word 'bathers' for swimming costumes, etc. If they use any other words for bathers such as 'sluggos' it is only for comic or ironic effect.


Contributor's comments: Also used in Tasmania.

Contributor's comments: BATHERS - definitely the dominant term in Vic.

Contributor's comments: Definitely used in Mildura, Victoria, where I grew up!

Contributor's comments: I always put on my swimmers or Cossies to go to the beach (Sydney) but my wife from Melbourne always calls them Bathers - It might be something to do with the fact they don't have surf in Melbourne so it is like a bath.

Contributor's comments: I've always lived in Melbourne, Victoria and we have always used the word bathers to refer to a swim suit.

Contributor's comments: In NSW we mainly use the word swimmers. I thought bathers was an old fashioned word!

Contributor's comments: Synonymous to togs, swimmers, trunks, cossie (I forgot to take my bathers to the pool so I skinny dipped). This was in use in Broken Hill. However also used the word togs. Dad from Sydney, Mum from Melbourne, so my current postcode [4061, Brisbane] is probably irrelevant except for the fact that no-one here knows what I mean when I say bathers, or for that matter yeast bun or fritz.

Contributor's comments: Term "bathers" also in use in Brisbane.

Contributor's comments: My parents used this term - Mum from Tasmania, Dad from Sydney - but my friends in Sydney always thought it was old-fashioned and didn't understand it.

Contributor's comments: We have moved up to Sydney from Victoria, where for all my own childhood, and my children's experience, bathers was the term for swimming apparel. At school in Sydney, they are treated like foreigners when they say bathers, as the term seems to be 'swimming costume", which we had never used in Vic.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in NSW (Sydney) with Victorian parents and used this term, but the locals tended to use swimmers or cossies.

Contributor's comments: Used in Sydney.

Contributor's comments: Definitely used in Tasmania!

Contributor's comments: People in the ACT of my vintage (b. 1944) use various words for swimming attire, e.g. "bathers", "cossie", "Speedos" (was mostly men, but now covers competitive swimmers), "swim-suit" and when I was little the more formal "swimming costume" or "costume" (no doubt the word from which "cossies" is derived).







Contributor's comments: bathers is a term used by 80% of Northern Territorians 15% use swimmers and 5% use any other weird terms.

Contributor's comments: I looked under cossie and found no reference to bathers, the most common term in Western Australia.

Contributor's comments: Disagree with "bathers" being used in Sydney. If it ever is, it's due to that person having an interstate connection eg. parent.

Contributor's comments: Known as togs on King Island in the 60s early 70s.

Contributor's comments: Also used in UK.

Contributor's comments: Have almost always used "bathers", occasionally "trunks" - brought up in Melbourne.

Contributor's comments: Bathers as in "bathing costume" is the Victorian rival to the NSW "Cossie".

Contributor's comments: I was raised in Brisbane and only ever spoke of "togs" for swimming. Only people who came from other States used "bathers" or "swimmers". I now live in Melbourne and have learned to use "bathers".

Contributor's comments: When I was a child on the beaches around Portsea and Sorrento in Port Phillip Bay we always called swimming costumes 'bathers'.

Contributor's comments: My grandparents and parents are all from Melbourne. My parents moved to Townsville. I remember using the term bathers and/or togs and friends not knowing what I was talking about.

Contributor's comments: Disagree with "bathers" being a Brisbane regionalism. Until recently would only have been used by a person from or with connections outside Queensland. Queensland kids would have laughed, we all called them "togs".

Contributor's comments: Is this just used in Western Australia?

Contributor's comments: Definitely only togs in Brisbane. I never heard any other word until I met someone from Sydney who called it a cossie.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Brisbane and always called them swimmers, but I had NSW parents, so that is probably why I don't call them togs, like many Queenslanders do.

Contributor's comments: I'm originally from Melbourne and I always put on my bathers before swimming (as did my Melbourne friends) while my Sydney born partner always puts on his swimmers.

Contributor's comments: Again I can't imagine why we have so many words for one single item of clothing. Heard of these words in 1978

Contributor's comments: Having lived in in NSW, then SA for my school life and now back in NSW as an adult, 'bathers' rule in SA and 'swimmers' in NSW, bathers has an older sedate Victorian notion of aquatic activity - swimming is an active pursuit - you thus wear 'swimmers', boardshorts, dick-dacks or lolly bags.

Contributor's comments: pronounced bay-thers.

Contributor's comments: Born and raised in Melbourne, in the '50s, the usual word was 'togs', but if you were 'bunging on side' a bit, you might say 'bathers'. When I went into the airforce, the girls from the different states called many different things by different names.

Contributor's comments: I didn't see 'bathers' in with togs, cossie etc. Surely 'bathers' is the dominant term - or is it just me?

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Geelong, and we used bathers, though the term togs were also used.

Contributor's comments: The ONLY word for what you wear when you go swimming in SA! Recent additions are speedos for competition or boardies for the beach. However when wearing your bathers what you do is never called bathing, swimming pools are never called swimming baths - very old fashioned!

Contributor's comments: in WA, they're "bathers". First time I was in the eastern states, someone told me to bring my "togs" with me. I was confused, thinking they were some type of shoes (clogs)!

Contributor's comments: This is the equivalent for 'togs' or 'cozzie' or 'swimmers' in Adelaide.

Contributor's comments: In Hobart we always wore bathers to go swimming. Still do.

Contributor's comments: Bathers in WA for bathing costume.

Contributor's comments: [Melbourne informant] What you wear to go swimming in: "Chuck on ya bathers, and lets hit the beach."

Contributor's comments: Melbourne, Victoria 40s - 50s: bathers = swimming costume = cozzies, togs: "Will you take your bathers with you on the bush walk?"

Contributor's comments: [Perth informant] What those in the east call cossie/swimmers/togs: "When I go to the beach for a swim I wear my bathers."

Contributor's comments: swimsuit: "Don't forget your bathers!" (used in Perth)

Contributor's comments: [Melbourne informant] Same as togs, swimmers: "I am wearing my bathers to go to the beach."

Contributor's comments: I grew up literally living at a Brisbane suburban public pool in the 1960s and 70s. I never heard anyone use the term 'bathers' unless they came from interstate. We always said 'togs'. We definitely did not call them 'cossies' or 'swimmers, terms I learnt when I moved to Sydney in the 1980s. When I lived in Melbourne a decade later, I heard 'bathers' and 'togs'. Now back in Sydney living at the beach I still say 'togs' and occasionally 'swimmers'. As for Speedos, that's what we called them in Brisbane at least. Although the male version (even now in Sydney) was 'sluggos'.

Contributor's comments: Bathers were what we wore in Victoria, however my father would refer to togs and he had lived in Qld. Also have heard togs used in reference to sports gear in general, as for kit.

Contributor's comments: [Wimmera and Mallee informant] Have heard it used, but mostly called togs, then later we boys would use 'footy nicks'.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Sydney and "bathers" was the main word used by my family. My father also used "togs". Both parents were from Sydney but father had spent a few years in Melbourne and on the NSW-QLD border.

Contributor's comments: Definitely used in Tasmania - when I met my future husband, a Sydneysider, he fell about laughing at the term, thinking it sounded like something from the previous century. He used 'swimmers' - or occasionally 'cossies' which I thought sounded quainter than 'bathers'.

Contributor's comments: I first heard a swim suit called "bithers" (bathers) by some people from Frankston VIC when I was working in Sri Lanka around 1970. Later, I emigrated to Sydney and I do not remember hearing it again.
cossie

noun (also plural) a swimming costume: *On hot nights before the nor'easter came you changed into your cossie and ran under the sprinkler. --CLIVE JAMES, 1980. Compare bathers, costume, swimmers, swimsuit, togs. Also, cozzie. [abbreviation of costume + -ie, diminutive suffix]
Contributor's comments: cosi - NSW short for swimming costume; very confusing from state to state. Victorians use the poofy `bathers' or even `swimmers'. Although I've lived in Qld for 18 yrs I'm not really sure what they call them (`togs'??). I've been using the pathetic `bathers' for 20 years because my wife is Victorian but I'm chucking that and reverting to my NSW roots and going back to cosi.

Contributor's comments: In Perth I grew up with the word "bathers" instead of "cossie". However I had South African "friends" who used the word swimming costume. We would also use "speedos" or "ballhuggers" or "racing bathers" for racing bathers and "boardies" for boardshorts.

Contributor's comments: In country Victoria, it was always togs, and yet as an adult in NSW, I always say swimmers. Togs seems inappropriately regional here in Sydney, and my partner, who is Hong Kong Chinese, finds the word togs quite amusing. As a male, however, the word cossie has always sounded like a girl's word.

Contributor's comments: When I moved from Sydney to Tasmania, I went into a swim shop and asked for some cossies. When they asked me what I meant, I said 'you know, costumes'. They sent me to a fancy dress and party costume shop!

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Victoria (the Latrobe Valley), and we called them togs 90% of the time, sometimes swimsuit (10%), and sometimes cossie (10%).

Contributor's comments: Cossie is definitely the NSW term. In Tassie, where I grew up they were our 'bathers'. Gee the water was freezing in Tassie compared to Sydney, though. Boys' speedoes in Sydney were always called 'sluggos' but I was very amused to see the recent episode of 'The Secret Life of Us' on the telly the other night all about cossie etiquette and a man's self-image. At one point the character referred to his sluggos as 'budgie-smugglers'. That still gets a laugh out of me.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Victoria and we called bathers togs.

Contributor's comments: Bathers were togs in Victoria in my day and we use bathers in WA we can tell if you are from Sydney if you refer to cossies.

Contributor's comments: In Canberra we used the terms swimmers, cossie and bathers. My Dad was English and used the word 'trunks' for what he wore (which were more like shorts), but I am curious to know just how widespread the use of Speedos was, because that was also a term bandied about a lot in the 50s and 60s - just like Hoover (but we didn't wear vacuum cleaners when we swam!!!!!!!)

Contributor's comments: In SE Qld we say togs, bikinis for bikinis, boardies for boardshorts.

Contributor's comments: In SA the word bathers was the norm. Later, togs also became common. It was always a joke to hear NSW friends talking about cossies, which I presumed were swimming costumes, a term which seemed a bit antiquated. In the 1950s I understood a costume to be a woman's fitted suit. (My mother was a dress maker).

Contributor's comments: A student of mine here in London is actually called "Cosie" because he's a Kosovan refugee.

Contributor's comments: I only use the word 'cossie' in polite company or, as a child, in front of parents and teachers, etc. Amongst my peers, the word 'sluggos' has always been used. (Northern Beaches of Sydney).

Contributor's comments: I have never used this word. Brought up in Melbourne I always wore bathers but when I moved to Canberra people wore swimmers and now after 18 years here I've been converted and normally wear swimmers. Since I do aquarobics several times a week this is a fairly frequent use of swimmers.

Contributor's comments: In Western Sydney - male bikini or underpants style swimmers were called "Dick Stickers".

Contributor's comments: During 1956/7 I lived with two Adelaide girls in London. They constantly fell about laughing at my 'words for things' considering them 'old-fashioned'. 'Swimming Costume' amused them, but when I told them 'we' (Sydney people) usually said 'Cossie' they fell to the floor and rolled about laughing. Im very glad the term has not disappeared. (They said 'Bathers', which I thought a very 'stuffy' word, rather like their Adelaide accent, but never said so).

Contributor's comments: Growing up on King Island Tas, Cossie was used with almost as much frequency as togs, bathers or swimmers were hardly ever used except by those kids who came with their parents to work in the scheelite mine, the 'locals' prefered togs or cossie.

Contributor's comments: My comments relate to 'cossie'. I grew up in Brisbane and when our family went to the beach or the pool, we always wore togs. But I had a friend whose family had migrated from Dubbo in NSW. She insisted on calling her togs 'cossies'. I thought this was just disgusting and tried really hard to get her to change. Nowadays I guess she would be very uncool.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Sydney and remember that the words "swimmers" or "cozzies". I think my family used "swimmers" and my mother grew up in various areas in south eastern Queensland and north eastern NSW. I think "cozzies" was more of a Sydney term.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Sydney in the '50s. The things we wore to the beach were know by a variety of terms: cossy, swimmers, togs, bathers, swimming costume, swimming suit. They were all used interchangeably. 'Speedos' and 'racers' were the particular type used in competitive swimming, regardless of brand.

Contributor's comments: Cossies - as a daughter of a QLDer turned Sydney-sider and a Taswegian turned Victorian, I always used not only cossies, but bathers, swimmers, togs and trunks interchangeably when I grew up (in Canberra). But I never used called "little boys" (cocktail frankfurts) cheerios like our northern neighbours!

Contributor's comments: I grew up in the Inner Western suburb of Concord [in Sydney] and we used the term trunks as often as cossie.

Contributor's comments: "Trunks" or "swimming trunks" for male bathing atire was common in the UK but I have not heard the term in Australia except from ex-pats.

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Wollongong where the term cozzies was widely used. In my teenage years cozzies became less popular as a fashion item with the introduction of boardshorts. The Lifesavers who were not popular with the long haired surfie layabouts who referred to the cozzies worn by the Lifesavers as 'sluggos'.

Contributor's comments: An old NSW kids' riddle:- What's smaller than an ant's pants and a mossie's cossies? - a nit on a gnat's gnuts.

Contributor's comments: As an immigrant child of the 1950's I learned about cozzies when we went to the Georges River [Sydney] to paddle and swim. When 2-piece bathing suits and then 'horror-of-horrors' bikinis came on the scene we began calling them 'mozzies' cozzies' i.e. small enough to fit a mosquito (of which there were many where we lived). That term has endured in our neighbourhood. I have lived in Canada for several years and confuse the locals here, when they visit our home or cottage (term for week-end retreat) and I ask them if they've 'brought their mozzies' cozzies?" My last visit home to Oz in the summer of 2001 confirmed that 'mozzies cozzies' still exists.

Contributor's comments: [Brisbane informant] also 'meathangers', mostly (but not necessarily) restricted to school usage.

Contributor's comments: It was 'cossies' living just south of the NSW/QLD border, cousins from Vic called them bathers, and when my sisters moved over the border 'cossies' immediately became 'togs'. I've found that 'swimmers' work most places, and dick stickers was a fave term for paying out the boys in school :-)

Contributor's comments: From the Central Coast NSW. Holiday in QLD, asked shopkeeper where they sold cossies, she thought we meant stage costumes.

Contributor's comments: "Cossie" is NEVER used in WA.

Contributor's comments: This word was also heard in Melbourne on TV & radio, e.g. an ad with the song "Let's give a salute to the great Aussie Cossie", and on the comedy single "Australiana" by Austin Tayshus (sp?). But the term was never used in everyday speech.

Contributor's comments: Cossie was the name for swimming costumes when I was growing up in the Riverina, however, my brothers used the term togs for theirs.

Contributor's comments: On northern beaches 40 years ago, usually cossies. I seem to recall bathers and definitely speedos. My sisters wore Jantzen swimming costumes.

Contributor's comments: [from NT] I have heard this one, and also togs, but what about bathers? That's the one I know best and use myself.

Contributor's comments: My wife uses this (Melbourne) but I suspect she picked it up from her friends in Sydney.

Contributor's comments: I associate 'cossie' solely and entirely with Dame Edna who, I suspect, relished the sibilance and the rhyme with 'Aussie'. I'm a child of 1950's Melbourne and I wore 'bathers' to swim at South Melbourne beach.

Contributor's comments: In the 1950s on the northern beaches of Sydney, they were cossies, but ten years later they became sluggos and it really wasn't cool to use cossies any more.

Contributor's comments: 'Cossie' was the word I was introduced to in 1974 after I came to Sydney from London [we always used 'swimming costume' there]. As residents of the Northern Beaches, we also came across the words 'togs', 'boardies', 'speedos' and 'sluggos' as alternatives. It didn't seem to matter which was used and nobody laughed at, or commented about, what you used.
swimmers

plural noun a swimming costume. Compare bathers, cossie, cozzie, costume, swimsuit, togs.

Contributor's comments: We used swimmers along with bathers in Victoria when we were kids in the 60/70s.

Contributor's comments: [SA informant] Always bathers at our place.

Contributor's comments: "Swimmers" also referred to in Brisbane.

Contributor's comments: [Brisbane informant] We use "swimmers" and "togs" interchangeably. I think it was always "swimmers" at home (my parents are lifelong Queenslanders) until we picked up "togs" at school.

Contributor's comments: I have never heard this term used in Melbourne from 1948 to 1970.

Contributor's comments: I have lived in Albury, where we swam in togs, and then moved to Goulburn where we quickly learned how to wear our swimmers instead, although a few friends wore cossies and others costumes (but never togs)!

Contributor's comments: In Orange all my friends called their swimming gear togs or scungies, for small ones but not shorts or boardies, but my wife from Sydney and our children in Newcastle call them swimmers.

Contributor's comments: "Swimmers" seemed to be by far the preferred word by my teenage years (the '80's) but I do remember using "cozzies" as a younger child. As an English immigrant (came here when I was 5 in 1974) my family used the word "togs" but I quickly learnt that it wasn't to be used outside the family.

Contributor's comments: As a child in North Coast NSW in the 1950's and 1960's my elders were more likely to call them "togs" but that sounded pretty 'common' so we younger ones usually preferred to call them 'swimmers'

Contributor's comments: When I moved to Queensland (Mackay and Redcliffe) in the 1980s, togs was unknown except as a rare term for clothes in general. The Queenslanders all wore "swimmers".

Contributor's comments: I grew up in Newcastle and they were always called swimmers. It was only when I moved that I found out people called them anything else.
swimsuit

noun a swimming costume. Compare bathers, cossie, cozzie, costume, swimmers, togs.

Contributor's comments: As a child growing up in Brisbane and holidaying at the Gold Coast in 1960/70s, I always swam in my 'swimsuit'. Only female Sydneysiders swam in 'cossies'.
trunks

male swimming costume, speedos: Hang on, I just have to adjust my swimming trunks. Compare bathers, cossie, costume, cozzie, swimmers, swimsuit, togs.

Contributor's comments: Also used in NSW by my older relatives when I was a kid in the 1970s.

Contributor's comments: male swimming atire: "I put on my trunks to go swimming."

Contributor's comments: Have almost always used "bathers", occasionally "trunks" - brought up in Melbourne.

Contributor's comments: Growing up in the UK, mens' swimwear was always referred to as trunks. Womens' swimwear was a costume.

Contributor's comments: Trunks in the 1950's refered to those woollen swim shorts with the modesty flap and a belt, they were uncomfortable and heavy. in the 1950's togs were ased for general swimming costumes and trunks for those wool shorts.

Contributor's comments: Used in NSW when I was a child in 1940s & 50s.