Category Archives: Word of the Week


Is bachelorette any less gender damaging than spinster?

I was slightly appalled by The Bachelor on our television this year. A young man gets to choose which of eighteen girls get the benefit of his company from week to week; slowly reducing the number of eligible girls each week until the last girl remaining gets to marry him. My wife and daughter were avid fans,...
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Petrichor and the perfume of coming rain

I was raised in country NSW—not quite the outback of Australia but nevertheless a small rural town that relied on the annual rain to keep the grass growing to feed the sheep and cattle. I remember how dry the summer could be when we were in drought and the sheer joy of smelling the coming of...
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Spruiking, touting, and soliciting

I went spruiking for work yesterday—meeting a prospect with my portfolio under my arm. I was surprised to find out that spruiking is a uniquely Australian word.  Elsewhere in the English-speaking world they refer to this vigorous public promotion of goods or services as touting.

In the US spruikers or touts are also known...

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How did rugby get its name?

The origin of rugby football comes from a myth about William Webb Ellis, who during a ball game at Rugby School, supposedly picked up the ball and ran with it to produce the game of rugby. They were not playing soccer (football) because it had not been “invented” at that time in the 1820s (Association Football codified...
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