If you thought you knew the definition of a bogan, think again.
Language is a continuously changing landscape, in which new words appear, others fade out of general usage and some evolve and take on different meanings.
Bogan is one of the evolving terms that attracted the attention of the team at the Australian National Dictionary Centre, which is responsible for editing the 6th edition of the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary (ACOD), released this week.
They provided the list below of terms that have evolved since they appeared in the 5th edition of the ACOD.
Bogan is one of the words which have changed since the previous edition of the ACOD was released. Bogan first appeared in the 1980s and was originally defined as, ‘a person who is regarded as being uncultured and unsophisticated, esp. such a person from a low socio-economic or poorly educated background.’
However, in the 2017 edition, gone is the reference to socio-economic status, with two (potentially insulting) definitions in its place.
The new definition reads, ‘an uncultured and unsophisticated person; a boorish and uncouth person.’
Rather than confining bogans to a certain socio-economic group, now any of us can be a bogan. The emergence of the term CUB ‘cashed-up bogan’ this century was an early indicator of this shift.
The definition of Generation X has also changed over the years. Originally referring to, ‘young adults who were born in the mid 1960s to mid 1970s, typically perceived to be disaffected and directionless’, members of Generation X are no longer considered to be young or typically disaffected or directionless.
The new definition of Generation X is, ‘the generation born after that of the baby boomers (roughly from the early 1960s to mid 1970s)’.
It is not surprising that technology has changed the words we use, and even the term ‘Internet’ itself has evolved. While previously defined as, ‘an international information network linking computers, accessible to the public via modem links etc’, it is now, ‘a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardised communication protocols’.
Just as technology has introduced new words, so has it changed others. A journalist was formerly described as, ‘a person who writes for newspapers or magazines or prepares news to be broadcast on radio and television’, with the proliferation of internet news sites it has become, ‘a person who writes for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or prepares news to be broadcast’.
Changing social attitudes (and in some countries legislative changes) mean that women are not the only ones looking for the ideal future husband or boyfriend. As a result, the definition of Mr Right has changed from, ‘a single woman’s ideal partner or husband’, to ‘the ideal future husband or boyfriend’.
For more on changes to the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary, see What do selfie stick, paleo diet and whatevs have in common?