Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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Hopefully this dosen’t offend anyone, just found it in the storage shed looking for other stuff. A friend gave it to me a long time ago, probably just after the promotion had finished (?) back in the olden days..

Illustration for article titled NSFWowsers*

If unsure of the term ‘wowser’ here’s some info below. I wasn’t aware it’s an Australian term and thought it was used world wide, is it?


The term wowser - surely one of the most impressive and expressive of Australian coinages - is used to express healthy contempt for those who attempt to force their own morality on everyone. The person who abstains from alcohol (for whatever reason) is not thereby a wowser: s/he’s just probably very fit. But when s/he tries to force everyone else to do as s/he does, then s/he is a wowser. Or as C.J. Dennis defines the term: ‘Wowser: an ineffably pious person who mistakes this world for a penitentiary and himself for a warder’.


The term originally meant `A person who is obnoxious or annoying to the community or who is in some way disruptive’ and was applied, for example, to prostitutes and public drunks. Feminists and equal opportunists got the `wowser’ guernsey too: Truth (Sydney) (1902): ‘Another of his whims or freaks was to promise a number of wowsers of the `wild woman’ type (to use a term coined by Mrs Lynn Linton) that he would supplant men in the Public Service with women’. These `wild women’ wowsers were seen as on a par with `the warrigal wowsers of Waine’ whom Truth (1904) castigates as `lewd larrikin louts’.

The shift to the present sense of wowser (to wit, a mealy-mouthed hypocrite, a pious prude, one who condemns or seeks to curtail the pleasures of others or who works to have his or her own rigid morality enforced on all) occurs at the turn of the century. The earliest citation for this sense in The Australian National Dictionary is 1900. In 1903 Truth bugles again: ‘He ridicules the mournful croakings of the wasted wowsers who denounce every earthly pleasure as sinful’. Truth, in fact, is rich in anti-wowser invective: (1904) ‘The watery wowsers who wouldn’t be seen sipping a nobbler in a public house, but who swig good stiff inches from the big black bottle on the bedroom shelf’; (1904) WHITE-EYED WOWSERS simulating sanctity... whose whole life is one pious yelp against the ordinary joys of common humanity’; (1906) ‘Those pious, Puritanical, pragmatical, pulpit-pounding self-pursuers whom we call wowsers’; (1911) ‘Moliere’s Tartuffe was a Roman Catholic French wowser’; (1912) ‘...the denunciation of Sunday golf and every kind of rational Sunday recreation - except that of putting ‘tray-bits’ in the Sabbath plate - which it is the wowser’s recreation to count up in the vestry afterwards’; (1914) ‘Governor Strickland was asked recently for his definition of the new word “wowser”. The Governor said it was generally defined as a man who objected to three inches of an open-worked stocking, but sweated his employees’; (1915) ‘The wowsers enjoy the whine of life’; (1916) ‘Because of the howls of the wowsers, the venereal diseases are just those that are most carefully concealed....’; (1916) ‘The Wowser is invariably a member of the exploiting class or one of his professional, clerical, or other hangers-on’.


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