Macquarie Dictionary


Whatever the reason, last minute ring-ins are always controversial

February’s first Word of the Week is for all those who were picked last during sports at school. We’re talking about ring-ins. You know, when the best player is inexplicably absent from school and you get a belated call up to the lunchtime footy team? 

A ring-in is a last minute substitute, as in ‘Pat couldn’t come, so I’m a ring-in.’ The word also refers to the act of making a substitution, as in ‘Pat isn’t coming so I will ring-in Joe.’ Ring-in is used across all sports but more typically refers to the horse and greyhound racing industries where horses and dogs are switched out for other runners, sometimes controversially

The word can also take on threatening or even derogatory undertones in other contexts. For instance, a ring-in can refer to a person pretending to be someone else; a phoney, or someone from another place who is considered an outsider.  

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.

Leave a Comment

Featured Articles