Off­sider O

Australian Geographic - - Geobuzz - By Kel Richards

Not all Aussie terms are slang. ‘Above-ground pool’, for in­stance, is reg­u­lar non­slang lan­guage unique to Australia. So too is the word ‘ off­sider’ (in the sense of an as­sis­tant, friend or mate), an­other ex­pres­sion coined here. Most over­seas dic­tio­nar­ies de­scribe an off­sider as a player in the wrong place on a foot­ball field.The Aus­tralian mean­ing arose from a bul­lock-driver’s as­sis­tant be­ing called an off­sider. He was so called be­cause he walked on the off side of the bul­lock team, while the bul­locky him­self walked on the on side be­side the team’s leader and cracked the whip. From this, off­sider was ex­tended to any­one who was an as­sis­tant in any oc­cu­pa­tion or en­ter­prise.The ear­li­est ci­ta­tion for this dis­tinc­tively Aus­tralian use of off­sider is from 1879. It’s nice to know that when you re­fer to your mate as your off­sider you’re re­call­ing the role the bul­lock­ies played in build­ing Australia.

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