bandicoot


bandicoot
Soon after white settlement in 1788 the word bandicoot (the name for the Indian mammal Bandicota indica) was applied to several Australian mammals having long pointed heads and bearing some resemblance to their Indian namesake. In 1799 David Collins writes of the 'bones of small animals, such as opossums... and bandicoots'. From 1830s the word bandicoot has been used in various distinctively Australian phrases as an emblem of deprivation or desolation. In 1837 H. Watson in Lecture on South Australia writes: 'The land here is generally good; there is a small proportion that is actually good for nothing; to use a colonial phrase, "a bandicoot (an animal between a rat and a rabbit) would starve upon it".' Typical examples include: • as miserable as a bandicoot • as poor as a bandicoot • as bald as a bandicoot • as blind as a bandicoot • as hungry as a bandicoot Probably from the perception of the bandicoot's burrowing habits, a new Australian verb to bandicootarose towards the end of the nineteenth century. It means 'to remove potatoes from the ground, leaving the tops undisturbed'. Usually this activity is surreptitious. Citations from the Australian National Dictionaryinclude: 1896 Bulletin 12 December: I must 'bandicoot' spuds from the cockies - Or go on the track! 1899 Bulletin 2 December: 'Bandicooting'.. is a well-known term all over Western Vic. potato-land. The bandicooter goes at night to a field of ripe potatoes and carefully extracts the tubers from the roots without disturbing the tops. 1942 E. Langley, Pea Pickers: All the pumpkins and maize we can pinch, every potato we can bandicoot. 1980 P. Pepper, You are what you make Yourself: Men at the station had threatened to shoot them because they had bandicooted the potatoes.

Australian idioms. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bandicoot — Ban di*coot, n. [A corruption of the native name.] (Zo[ o]l.) (a) A species of very large rat ({Mus giganteus}), found in India and Ceylon. It does much injury to rice fields and gardens. (b) A ratlike marsupial animal (genus {Perameles}) of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bandicoot — ● bandicoot nom masculin (mot anglais, du telugu pandi koku, cochon rat) Nom commun à plusieurs mammifères marsupiaux. (Famille des péramélidés.) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • bandicoot — 1789, from Telegu pandi kokku, lit. pig rat. Properly a large and destructive Indian rat; applied from 1827 to a type of insectivorous Australian marsupial somewhat resembling it …   Etymology dictionary

  • bandicoot — ► NOUN ▪ a mainly insectivorous marsupial native to Australia and New Guinea. ORIGIN from an Indian language, meaning pig rat …   English terms dictionary

  • bandicoot — [ban′di ko͞ot΄] n. [< Telugu pandikokku, lit., pig rat] 1. a member of either genus (Bandicota and Nesokia, family Muridae) of large rats, found esp. in India and Sri Lanka, that destroy grain and root crops 2. any of an order (Peramelina) of… …   English World dictionary

  • Bandicoot — Peramelidae Péramélidés …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bandicoot — Taxobox name = BandicootsMSW3 Groves] image width = 200px regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia infraclassis = Marsupialia ordo = Peramelemorphia (in part) subdivision ranks = Families and Genera subdivision = †Chaeropodidae *†… …   Wikipedia

  • bandicoot — /ˈbændikut / (say bandeekooht) noun 1. any of various small, omnivorous, somewhat rat like Australian and New Guinean marsupials of the families Paramelidae and Peroryctidea. 2. any of the very large rats of the genus Bandicota, of India and Sri… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Bandicoot — miserable as a bandicoot Extremely unhappy. Bandicoots are small marsupials with long faces, and have been given a role in Australian English in similes that suggest unhappiness or some kind of deprivation. The expression miserable as a bandicoot …   Australian idioms

  • bandicoot — /ban di kooht /, n. 1. any of several large East Indian rats of the genus Nesokia. 2. any of several insectivorous and herbivorous marsupials of the family Peramelidae, of Australia and New Guinea: some are endangered. [1780 90; < Telugu pandi… …   Universalium


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