Monday, November 10, 2008

Fair dinkum

Today as I was just about to leave work, one of the Japanese English teachers stopped me to ask a question I found myself completely unable to answer. I hate it when they do that. Sometimes I wonder if they're doing it on purpose.

Today's awkward question was this:

"What is a dinkum, and why is it fair?"

To which my answer was, intelligently,

"Er. Um."

I felt less stupid after coming home and looking it up. Apparently I am not the only one without a clue.

In other news, the weather has become cooler, and the leaves have started to turn.


Tabor said...

In America we are the leaders for idiomatic expressions that have long since lost their meaning as the media grabs them up and sprinkles them liberally in every news report. When it is your mother tongue it is embarrassing not to be able to explain it!

Keera Ann Fox said...

"Fair dinkum" I lay at the feet of the British.

Now, what's with the late autumn? Just how much winter do you plan on having there? I mean, you're running late now, if you want to start winter by December and have it last only till March.

Megane~kun said...

Actually, I've read that the expression is an Australian slang. Hehe.

I still don't know what it means though. What does it mean anyway?

Curley said...

The most typical piece of Australian slang - and thus passing out of use, except by stand-ups & politicians.

Joseph Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary of 1896-1905 has dinkum as an English dialect word for work, hence the phrase means a fair (day's) work. An alternate source from goldfields Chinese is din gum, true gold. Don't have a Mandarin speaker at hand but the Japanese 'kin' for gold is suggestive of 'din', so this could be so...

But you'd have to be a real raw prawn to go around saying fair dinkum today! I mean, stone the crows, mate...

Tor Hershman said...

When asked a question that you don't know how, or care, to answer the BEST answer is to reply..... "Google is your friend."

BTW Your blog's header is a most beautiful and amusing photo.

Curley said...

Uh, didn't see BA's button - which shows the very site I found (in Google, yep); and didn't say what the phrase actually means!

Fair dinkum = really true, honest, reliable, trustable. I suppose in some far northern fishing port up there above Capricorn there's some old gnarled bloke who still uses it... ;-)