a lazy, useless person who won’t do their fair share of work
Beginning as London criminal slang from ‘bludgeoner’ (recorded from 1856), bludger meant a pimp who bludgeons (beats with a stick) prostitutes’ clients to rob them. Bludger faded from use in London, but made its way to the Australian colony, where it’s recorded from 1882. By 1900 it had become a general term of abuse, especially for a lazy loafer. About the same time, the back formation ‘bludge’ arose, meaning ‘to evade one’s own responsibilities and impose on others’ and which is now also a blue-collar worker’s term for anyone who sits comfortably behind a desk.The Americans and others have since borrowed it – but this is our word!