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Pass the dooverlackie would you love?

Apr 01, 2019

Aussie Word of the Week None

We have all had a parent refer to a doodad, thingummyjig, do-hickey or dooverlackie. But the most common replacement word for thing in the Australian vernacular, is doover. We have spoken about these types of words before in our blog on thingummyjig.

The word is thought to have its origins in British English of the 1930s, in which it referred to a half-smoked cigarette that had been stubbed out to 'do for' later.. It is considered to be an alteration of do for in the phrase that will do for now, referring to this specific situation and action.

This meaning pertaining to a cigarette evolved during World War II in Australian military slang to extend to any object at all.

Now of course, the usage is dropping off, however it can still be found in many Australian households when referring to that thingummyjig you just can't quite recall the name off in the moment. Is this a word you or your family use? We would love to know in the comments below.

Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.


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8 Comments

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Peter - April 5, 2019, 4:46 p.m.

Absolutely these were used in my family! All variants and another one, thingummybob. In the Aussie tradition of shortening everything, one uncle used just thingabob.


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Macquarie Dictionary Admin - April 8, 2019, 4:25 p.m.

Hi Peter, how great! We love 'thingummybob'!
Thanks for your feedback.
Macquarie Dictionary


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Kate - April 24, 2019, 3:25 p.m.

Love these words that have evolved to stand in for other words we have forgotten or just can't recall... I don't think a day goes by without me using one. Another one I hear sometimes is the 'whatsit'. I also love finding out about how to say these replacement words in other languages like 'machin' or 'truc' in French :-)


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Macquarie Dictionary Admin - April 26, 2019, 10:07 a.m.

Thanks for your feedback, Kate! We love those stand-in words too!
Macquarie Dictionary


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Marcella - April 24, 2019, 3:28 p.m.

We also had the thingummyjig/thingamajig extension: the thingummyjigger.


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Macquarie Dictionary Admin - April 26, 2019, 10:09 a.m.

Hi Marcella, 'thingummyjigger', that's a long one! Thank you for your feedback!
Macquarie Dictionary


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Peter - April 26, 2019, 2:15 p.m.

My father, now aged 97, and ww2 veteran, often used the word "dooverlackie". I will ask about it in our next conversation.


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Macquarie Dictionary Admin - April 26, 2019, 3:02 p.m.

Please do and let us know, Peter!
Macquarie Dictionary


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