Bewdy, bot­tler, rip­per

Australian Geographic - - Geo buzz - By Kel Richards

Three words with the same mean­ing: ter­rific! They’re some­times strung to­gether, some­times used in­di­vid­u­ally. ‘Bewdy’ is the slack Aussie way of say­ing beauty, as in “You lit­tle bewdy!” ‘Bot­tler’ is also straight­for­ward. It means “Your blood’s worth bot­tling” and was coined by Aussie dig­gers in WWI, after the de­vel­op­ment of blood trans­fu­sions. But ‘rip­per’ re­mains a mys­tery. So far, ev­ery lin­guist and lex­i­cog­ra­pher I’ve asked about this has re­sponded with a shrug: why should some­thing ter­rific be “a lit­tle rip­per”? You’d think rip­ping would be bad not good! If you can help, email me at Help solve this mys­tery and you’d be a lit­tle rip­per!

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