Home >  Blog >  Some language trivia

Some language trivia

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 27 May 2014
I wonder how many of you think “wagging school” & “to play the wag” are peculiarly Australian expressions? I confess I did.

I’m currently reading Dickens’s novel Dombey and Son and recently encountered the following passage in Chapter XXII: A trifle of management by Mr Carker the manager.

 

“My misfortunes all began in wagging, sir; but what could I do exceptin’ wag?”

“Excepting what?” said Mr Carker.

“Wag, sir – wagging from school.”

“Do you mean pretending to go there and not going?” said Mr Carker.

“Yes, sir; that’s wagging, sir,” returned the quondam Grinder, much affected.

 

Incidentally, quondam was a new word for me. Here’s the Macquarie Dictionary online entry:

quondam
/?kw?ndæm/ (say 'kwondam)
adjective that formerly was or existed; former: his quondam partner.
[Latin: formerly]
Author: Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President
About: Garry Collins was ETAQ President from mid July 2005 to 15 March 2014. He taught English in state high schools for around 35 years and now tutors in English curriculum courses in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.
Tags: General news

Post comment

Upcoming Events

State Conference 2019

State Conference will be held on 17th August 2019 at Lourdes Hill College,Hawthorne Road, Hawthorne. Bronwyn Lea, UQ will present a keynote address on the value of  poetry in the new curriculum landscape. Second keynote  to be confirmed. As usual there will be a huge range of practical and inspirational workshops for you to ...

Category:   State Conference
Start Time:   8:45 AM
Date:   Saturday 17th August 2019
Venue:   Lourdes Hill School
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000


View all

Latest News

 

View all

Blog Feed

Editor of Words'Worth - Expression of interest

Oct 04 2017
Words'Worth is the journal of The Englis...

Grammar myths

Sep 12 2017
An edited version of the letter below was pu...
Read all

Testimonials

Read All

This is the first time I have been to an ETAQ conference and it was really sensational to get so much at all of the sessions.

ETAQ conferences always have sessions that make me excited to be a teacher.

I know that ETAQ conferences in the past have never disappointed - valuable, relevant, practical, inspiring so I came again.

Read All

Newsletter

Receive updates
from ETAQ

PO Box 3375, STAFFORD,
Queensland, Australia, 4053
(07) 3284 3718
ABN: 17 689 278 512

Connect to a great range of people who are passionate about English and have their finger on the pulse.

Be Connected