Macquarie Dictionary


The unique pain of stepping on a bindi-eye

There are many names for this stalwart feature of an Australian childhood. Running barefoot across the grass is almost guaranteed to result in a bindi-eye in the sole of your foot. The bindi-eye is originally native to South America and was introduced to Australia in the early 20th century.

Now known all over the country as a common lawn weed, it flowers in spring and produces small, flat, brown, seeds with sharp spines which stick painfully into bare feet.

The name bindi-eye comes from the Australian Aboriginal languages of Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay. However, a bindayaa originally referred to any of a number of plants of the genus Calotis which have small burrs with fine barbed awns. It has since been applied to a wider variety of plants.

It also has a number of different colloquial references. In the Newcastle region, it is known as a joey. And in parts of Western Australia, it is known as a jo-jo.

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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