Whinge

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Dr. Goodword
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Whinge

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:38 pm

• whinge •


Pronunciation: (h)winj • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: Complain persistently in an annoying way.

Notes: This word is strictly British. It may be used 'as is' for a noun referring to whiners. Otherwise, the action noun and adjective is the present participle, whingeing. The personal noun is whinger. Notice the British and some Americans retain the final E when suffixing the word to distinguish its pronunciation from that of singing, winging, and bringing.

In Play: The verb may be used this way: "Gordon is 65 years old and still whingeing about how his mother treated him as a baby." Today's word works as a noun, too, like this: "Gretchen lets off steam by occasionally having a good whinge."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a variant of whine from Scottish and the northern British dialects. In late Old English it was hwinsian which, by Middle English was simply whinsen. It is akin to German winseln "to whine, whimper", and Icelandic hvísla "whisper". All three words came from Proto-Indo-European kwei- "to hiss, whistle" with an -n- suffix. Apparently, only Germanic languages enjoyed this PIE contribution. (Our old friend and long-time contributor Sue Gold of Westtown School thought today's Good Word deserved spreading throughout the English-speaking world.)
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David Myer
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Re: Whinge

Postby David Myer » Wed Jul 01, 2020 3:45 am

This one is also well used in Australia. In particular it is used to describe English migrants. They are (or were) universally called whingeing Poms. Poms is a slightly derogatory term for the English - whether as migrants or still British residents.

The problem arose after the second world war when the Australians desperately needed skilled labour. Migration officials went to UK and offered "Assisted Packages" to anyone in England. For ten pounds, the entire family would be trans-shipped to Australia and permanent residency status given. The qualifier was that they had to stay for two years. The program stopped in about 1970.

The trouble was that although many wonderful (and adventurous) people were enticed by the scheme, it also tended to attract the disgruntled. "Oh well, it's no good here in England. Let's go and see if it is any better over there. Nothing to lose." This is of course not a sensible way to start your new life. When they got here, they would grumble for two years about how it's not like home. Then (with permanent residence granted) they would go back to England. When they got there of course, the place had changed. It hadn't really, but they had to put up with poverty, cold weather, warm beer and all the other hardships of life that they had fled in the first place. Only now, they had experience of prosperity (or at least, opportunity), warm weather and cold beer. So after three months back in England, they would sell up and come back to Australia permanently. But of course, it didn't stop them whingeing. The term whingeing Pom is now obsolescent because most of them have died whingeing and it is now quite difficult to migrate here. So we only get the keen ones.

I know this is all a sweeping generalisation, but it is astonishing how this story matches reality for many many families.
Last edited by David Myer on Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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call_copse
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Re: Whinge

Postby call_copse » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:57 am

That's quite offensive David. Everyone knows we have cellar temperature beer, not warm beer. :wink:

I must admit a properly poured pint will be on my list of priorities fairly shortly...
Iain

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Re: Whinge

Postby David Myer » Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:51 am

LOL! Yes, just teasing, really. And no. 1 on my list of things to do each time I return to UK, is to pop down to the local and have a pint of real beer (at cellar temperature). Don't tell anyone, but these thin Australian lagers are not for me. Thank heavens for the boutique brewery movement in Australia. There's a fantastic range of beers here now, but I still hanker after a pint at the pub in England.

Not whingeing, mind!

David

damoge
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Re: Whinge

Postby damoge » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:06 am

Looking for clarification. I always heard the epithet "pom" was short for POME (pronounced pommy) and stood for Prisoner of Mother England. I was told it was used as a derogatory term aimed at the earliest "settlers" by the newer voluntary arrivals.
Is this all nonsense?
Everything works out, one way or another

David Myer
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Re: Whinge

Postby David Myer » Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:37 am

Debby,

I too have heard this explanation. But I doubt its veracity. There is much debate and several alternative explanations for the origin of the term. The POME is said to have been stamped on the uniforms of convicts in early Australia, but I have read that that is simply not true.

Some say that Pom is short for pomegranate and that is rhyming slang for immigrant. I am doubtful on that one too. Poor rhyme and just unlikely that the term immigrant was used in those days - anyway, everyone was an immigrant except the few poor locals who weren't annihilated.

Here's another unlikely option:

"Australians have been using the word freely since its probable emergence in the late 19th century as a nickname for English immigrants, a short form of pomegranate, referring to their ruddy complexions."

A couple more possibilities can be found here:

https://english.stackexchange.com/quest ... e-term-pom

It does appear that all of this is nothing more than speculation. Perhaps the Good Doctor can add something of substance to this?


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