Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Aboriginal Words in the English Language L-Z

larapinta – a dunnart, Sminthopsis macrura, of Australian central areas, having a long tail and a prominent facial stripe; Darling Downs dunnart. [?]

lowan = mallee fowl [Wembawemba lauan]

lubraMacquarie says: (derogatory) an Aboriginal woman. [Aborig. (? south-east Tas.) lubara penis]

luderick – a highly prized Australian estuarine and rock fish, Girella tricuspidata, usually black or dark brown above and having dark bars down back and sides; nigger; darkie; black bream. [Ganay ludarag]


"maban reality" Mudrooroo


mado – a small sea fish, Atypichthys mado or A. strigatus, found in southern Australian and northern New Zealand waters. [? NSW language]

makarrata - 1.(in certain Aboriginal tribes) a peacemaking ceremony marking a resumption of normal relations after a period of hostility. 2. a propose agreement between Aborigines and the rest of Australia which would include a formal Treaty of Settlement and a constitutional amendment to safeguard Aboriginal rights. [Yolgnu]

mala - Lagorchestes hirsutus rufous (and other spp?) hare-wallaby

mallee - 1. any of various Australian species of Eucalyptus having a number of almost unbranched stems arising from a large underground lignotuber, such as E dumosa. 2. the mallee, also the Mallee - a. any of various semi-arid areas in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and especially Victoria, where the predominant species is a mallee. b. any remote, isolated, or unsettled area. [Wembawemba mali]

mamu – devil? 'Career Highlights of the Mamu' Trevor Jamieson, Scott Rankin
manin – Toona ciliata – also…

mardo - the yellow-footed antechinus, Antechinus flavipes. [Nyungar mardu]

marl - the barred bandicoot Perameles [Nyungar maarl, marla]

marla SMH 24.11.05 new names for roo meat = mala? Town in SA – Marla - said to mean kangaroo. (see marlu)

marlu - Aboriginal English a red, plains kangaroo. [from several languages]

marn grook

marri – a tree, Eucalyptus calophylla, - ‘redgum’ - endemic to western Australia which, together with its hybrids with E. ficifolia, flame gum, is widely cultivated for its coloured flowers. [Nyungar marri]

marron = jilgie (?)
merrin – Maq

merrit – Eucalyptus flocktoniae. Also, (perhaps incorrectly) merritt.

mewurk – Murray cod (WAust 10-11/12/05) see bardi grubs – also goodoo, ponde

mia-mia – a temporary bush shelter used by Aborigines; gunyah; humpy, wurley. [Nyungar maya-maya]

mikiri – native well (N. Rothwell W. Aust 5-6/1/08)

mindai = mindi

mindi – (in  Aboriginal legend) a fabulous serpent with supernatural powers. Also mindai. [Wembawemba mirnday]

minga – a small black ant. [?]

minnerichi – a shrub or small tree occurring in two restricted regions in South Australia, Acacia cyperophylla, which has thin, peeling curls of reddish bark and hard wood; red mulga. [? SA language]

minyaAboriginal English meat. (no etymology in Maq)

mirrigan – (not in Macquarie)

mirrnyong – a mound of shells, ashes, etc., accumulated in a place used for cooking by the Aborigines; kitchen midden. [? Vic. language] Also see murrnong.

mongan – a brown and white ringtail possum, Pseudocheirus archeri, with a rather short snout and prominent eyes, found in Queensland rainforests; Herbert River ringtail possum. [?]

moonah – a shrub or small tree, Melaleuca lanceolata (formerly pubescens) widespread in the southern half of Australia.

morwong – any of a number of species of marine food fiches of the family Cheilodactylidae, especially Nemadactylus douglasii, of southern Australia and New Zealand waters; black perch. [? NSW language]

mudgerabah = blackwood (no etym Maq)

mugga – a striking tree with dark, fissured bark, the pink-flowering ironbark, Eucalyptus sideroxylon, native to eastern Australia. [Wiradjuri maga]

mugurpyl – T. ciliata – also…

mulba – (in the Pilbara region of WA) an Aboriginal person. [Panyjima: marlba]

mulga = shield – ‘Aust. Wildflowers in Colour’ text Barbara Mullins – Reed 1969
mulla-mulla, mullamulla – Ptilotus macrocephalus
mullentypery – long-necked tortoise (but not back-referenced in Maq)
mumarki (from marn grook)
mumin – T ciliata
munning (?)

murrnong = yam daisy … Also murrnong, myrrnong, myrrnong. [Wathawarung and Wuywurrung mirnang]

muttai (?)

muttlegarEucalyptus macrocarpa, of Western Australia, with fruits up to 10cm long.


naga – a loin cloth, as worn by Australian Aborigines. [Wuna (NT language) naga dress, covering]

namma (hole)  - WA .. also gnamma hole

nannygai – a handsome fish of fine flavour, Centroberyx affinis, found around the southern half of the Australian coast; redfish. [? NSW language]

nanto – a horse [Kaurna nantu kangaroo, (by transference) horse]

napunyahEucalyptus thozetiana (not in Maq)

narangy – a person on a station whose status is between that of the boss and that of the stationhands. [Dharug narang small, little, few]

nardoo – 1. any of the Australian species of the mud-loving or aquatic genus of ferns, Marsilea. 2. the sporocarps of such a plant ground into a flour and eaten by Australian Aborigines. [Diyari ngardu or Kamilaroi nhaaduu]

narlu – an evil spirit [Macquarie: Aborig.]

narm-boon-bongEucalyptus terminalis (not in Maq)

narrawa burr

nealie ? – Acacia loderi, also Acacia oswaldii (also nelia) Maq “Origin uncertain”

ningaui – a small dasyurid resembling the planigale, as the inland ningaui, Ningaui ridei, and the Pilbara ningaui, Ningaui timealeyi. [? Aborig.; from the name of a mythological being]

nipan ? – Capparis lasiantha – native orange. Actually a native caper. Fruit is eaten and nectar from flowers used by some Aborigines to treat colds.

nondaParinari nonda

noolbenger, noolbender - honey possum Tarsipes rostrata [Nyoongah]



palai – T. ciliat – also…

parakeelia – any of several species of succulent herbs of the genus Calandrinia of inland Australia, with large rose-purple flowers. Also parakeelya [? Guyani]

parma (wallaby Maq)

penda ? - Xanthostemon spp. (incl. Luya’s hardwood)

perentie = perentyVaranus giganteus

piccabeenChiefly Queensland = bangalow [Yagara bigi palm + been, respelling of BEAN]

pinkieSA = bilby Also pinky. [Kaurna bingu]
pirri (point)
pituri – Duboisia hopwoodii – pitcheri, pitchiri
ponde – Murray cod (WAust 10-11/12/05) also goodoo, mewurk

potoroo – any of several species of small macropods of the genus Potorous, having pointed heads and living in dense grass and low, thick scrub in various parts of Australia. [? Dharug badaru]

punkari - white-eyed duck Aythya australis {Yaralde]

punty – any of various shrubs of the genus Cassia, especially Cassia nemophila of all mainland states of Australia; kangaroo bush. [Western Desert language bundi]

purnu - Coolamon, and applied to vehicles because they carry people. (train, Clyde)

qualup bell

quarrion - = cockatiel. Also quarien, kwarrion. [Wiradjuri guwarraying]

quenda – Solanum esuriale – but maq bandicoot

quokka a small wallaby, Setonix brachyurus, found on Rottnest and Bald islands, off Western Australia and in small colonies on the mainland [Nyungar kwaka]

quoll – 1. any of several cat-sized predatory marsupials of the genus Dasyrus, having slender, white-spotted bodies and very pointed snouts; native cat. 2. Also eastern quoll – a carnivorous marsupial, Dasyurus viverrinus, from eastern Australia, having a spotted body but without spots on the tail. [Guugu Yimidhirr dhigul]

Quowcken - name given by West Australian Aborigines to the extensive coastal sand plains along the Great Australian Bight.

robby – a handsome tree of the Tweed and Richmond rivers are of northern NSW, Eugenia moorei, with showy red flowers and rounded, cream-coloured fruit. (Macquarie has no etymology)



saratoda – see barramundi

shiralee – 1. a burden, or bundle. 2 = swag. [Origin unknown says the Macquarie, as does Chambers, which adds "perhaps from an Aboriginal word".]

tammaWA low, thick, shrubby vegetation, especially dominated by species of casuarina. [WA language]

tammar – a small scrub wallaby, Macropus eugenii, of south and south-western Australia and offshore islands. Also dama. [Nyungar damar]

tandan - any of various Australian eel-tailed catfishes, particularly freshwater forms of the genera Tandanus and Neosilurus; dewfish, dhufish. [?]

tarnuk – NIM – water vessel made from gnarl of a gum tree (Kulin people, sthn Victoria)

tarwhine – an eastern Australian bream, Rhabdosargus sarba, distinguished by golden streaks on a generally silver background. [Dharug darawayn]

tcharibeena - Bennett's tree kangaroo, Dendrolagus bennettianus, found in mountainous rainforest of north-east Queensland [? Aborig.]

Tjukurrpa – “the flash of the present moment and the echo, far off, from primary, long-vanished events” (N. Rothwell, W. Aust 5-6/1-08)

tookoonja ? - Morinda citrifolia

toolache – a large wallaby, Macropus greyi, of the border country between South Australia and Victoria; Grey’s  brush wallaby. [Yaralde dulaj]

toolah - Maq no etymology

towri – the territory or hunting ground of an Aboriginal tribe. [Kamilaroi dauray]

towrow (?) fishing net

tuan – any of certain brush-tailed, carnivorous marsupials, rat-sized and largely arboreal, of the dasyurid genus Phascogale; phascogale; wambenger. [Wathawurung duan]

tuart – a large tree, Eucalyptus gomphocephela, endemic in south-western  Australia on calcareous coastal soil. [Nyungar tuwart]

tuckeroo – a fast-growing slender tree, Cupaniopsis anarcardioides, of northern and eastern Australia, with fern-like leaves and showy black seeds set in an orange-red, fleshy case, often cultivated as an ornamental. [? Yagara dagaru]

tungoo – as boodie Also, tungo.

tupong - noun congolli (a marine and freshwater fish...) [Gangubanud dubang]

uroka = eldin = gruie

waddy – 1. an Aboriginal heavy wooden war club. 2. a heavy stick or club of any kind [Dharug wadi tree, stick of wood, wooden weapon]

waddy-wood – a tree, Acacia peuce, with very hard dark wood, found in the dry interior of Australia [Macquarie no etymology]

wallaby – 1. any of various members of the family Macropodidae, many resembling kangaroos, belonging to a number of different genera, as Macropus (as the tammar and parma), Thylogale (as the smaller pademelons), Setonix (as the quokka, Onychogalea (as the nail-tailed wallabies), Lagorchestes and Lagostrophus (as the hare-wallabies), Petrogale (as the rock wallabies). 2. Obsolete colloquial a swagman. 3. on the wallaby (track) Colloquial on the move, most frequently with reference to a swagman, seasonal worker, et. [Dharug walaba]


wallowa – a wattle ‘Aust. Wildflowers in Colour’ text Barbara Mullins – Reed 1969

wallum – 1. a small shrubby tree, Banksia aemula, of coastal eastern Australia, mainly Queensland and New South Wales. 2. the sandy heath-land country in which this species grows. [Gabi waalum]

wambenger = tuan
wamulu – yellow-flowering and for art SMH 4.3.05 p13

wanderrie – any of various plant species of the genus Eriachne, which are native to inland Australia and range from slender annuals to tussocky perennials, with purple of straw-coloured spikelets. [Macquarie no etymology]


wandoo – a white-barked tree endemic to Western Australia, Eucalyptus wandoo. [Nyungar wandu]

wanya – T. ciliata

waybungCorcorax melanorhamphos - white-winged chough [? Aborig.]

wee juggler

wilan-wilan – crescent-shaped cloud – Sandy Desert – ABC-TV Kurtal: Snake Spirit

wilga – a small shapely tree, Geijera parviflora, of inland eastern Australia, valuable as fodder in drought. [Wiradjuri wilgar]

wilgie – a red ochre used by the Aborigines to paint their bodies for ceremonial occasions. Also wilga, wilghi, wilgi, wilgy. [Nyungar wilgi]


willy-willy – a spiralling wind, often collecting dust, refuse, etc.; dust devil [? Yindjibarndi wili wili, or from Wembawemba wilang-wilang]

wirilda – Acacia retinoides - Yaralde

wollum wollum – Hymenosporum flavium
wonga (-wonga)
wongai (NIM) Torres Strait native plum
woolia – T. ciliata
woota – “ “
wootam – “ “

woylie – a small bettong, Bettongia pencillata, of central and southern Australia, having a long prehensile tail covered with black hairs on the upper surface towards the tip; brush-tailed bettong. Also woilie. [Nyungar walyu]


yadthor - Acacia bidwillii
yarrabah satinash ?? -  Syzigium angophoroides

yarran – 1. a small tree, Acacia homalophylla, found in inland eastern Australia, useful as fodder, and for firewood and fenceposts. 2. Also, bastard myall. A wattle, A. glaucescens, which is chiefly coastal and has silvery foliage and fluffy spikes of flowers. [Kamilaroi yarran a river gum tree]

yarri – 1. Dasyurus maculatus gracilis, the spotted tail quoll (North Queensland subspecies) [Commonwealth Dept of Environment and Heritage website] 2. Eucalyptus patens, the Swan River blackbutt [not in Maq. Presumably Nyungar]


yoolahng – an Aboriginal initiation ceremony for young males who are reaching manhood. [Dharug yulang place where initiation ceremonies take place]

yorrell – a species of mallee, Eucalyptus gracilis, found in dry areas of southern inland Australia. (? Macquarie no etymology)

yowie – an ape-like human, about two metres tall, believed to roam in certain parts of Australia, especially southern NSW. [Yuwaalarraay yuwi dream spirit] 

yudi ?

Baagandji = Pakkantji
Banggala = Parnkalla south of Lake Torrens to the Gawler Ranges, SA
Bundjalung – Northern Rivers NSW and SE Qld
Gabi – Mary River district, Redcliffe to Fraser Island, Queensland
Gangalu – Dawson River district, Queensland
Gangubanud – from the coast at Portland Bay, Victoria
Goreng Goreng – vicinity of Bundaberg Queensland
Guugu Yimidhirr
Kulin – sthn Victoria
Muranpatha – NT?
Mutthi Mutthi
Nyoongah, Nyungar 
Oyster Bay language
Paakantji = Baagandji (Maq)
Ulurai – people near Lightning Ridge (SMH 20.1.05)
Yagara – from the vicinity of Brisbane
Yuwaalarraay – a dialect of Kamilaroi, from near Lightning Ridge

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