Macquarie Dictionary


You’re a galah, mate

This week we are talking about galahs but not the endemic Australian cockatoo with its grey and pink plumage and cute chatter. Galah also means fool. As in Get out of it, you great bloody galah. Galahs are noted for erratically noisy behaviour, which seems pretty bizarre to humans (no doubt it all makes sense to them), hence a galah is a fool. And who could forget the classic mad as a gum tree full of galahs?

Galah session, a time set aside for the people of isolated outback areas to converse with one another by radio, is another interesting none avian usage of the word. Picture farmers on a remote station chatting on radios provided for them by the Royal Flying Doctors Service, who helped develop outback communication. 

Aussies sure like turning the birds in their garden in to slang words. For more, check out our cockatoo blog as well (it’s not about the bird either). 

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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