Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

Tuckered Out of Tucker

Glennis, Pat, Robert Patterson, and Rohn Rohnski are the first four subscribers to our daily Good Word to remind me that our word for today, tucker, is a slang term for “grub, food” in Australia and New Zealand (but it is only 7 AM at this point). Here are some of the examples they sent it:

  • We’ll go and have some tucker now.
  • The tucker the farm cook dished up was grouse, mate.
  • I’m hungry, time for some tucker.

(I like the adjective grouse, too.)

Tucker, in fact, has too many meanings: someone who tucks in sewing, a frilly neckpiece dandies of the past wore (later worn in concert with a bib), and an advanced US car that came out briefly in the 40s and was quashed by the big auto manufacturers (see the movie by the same name).

When we come across such words, given the limited space we have, we choose what we think is the most interesting (and it was a close call between the verb sense we chose and the noun sense mentioned by our friends from down under since speakers in North American and the UK are generally unaware of the NZ usage).

Since the noun in this sense is a different word, we may do it some day. I’ve put it on the list. We haven’t had a good Aussie word in a long time.

One Response to “Tuckered Out of Tucker”

  1. JD Says:

    In the UK we use the word ‘tuck’ instead of ‘tucker’ to mean food in some instances; for example, a school sweetshop is known as a ‘tuckshop’. I don’t know whether it is related to the phrasal verb ‘to tuck in’ – as in ‘grub’s up – tuck in!’

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