Monday, 20 June 2011

Nomenclature continued due to serious ommissions in the previous post

Wow, this is a hot topic. I have learnt some new words from the comments on the last post - Bev, I am particularly impressed with the term "nasty" for a nappy. Maybe this is a more suitable and precise term for one that needs changing :).
Unfortunately I left out some very important words, and fully accept the remonstrations from my fellow Antipodeans. I will try to stick to clothing (and accessories, in a half hearted attempt to keep the list down.

These, dear overseas readers, are thongs. A thong is when only one item of footwear is present. Any resemblance to extremely uncomfortable underwear must be a co-incidence. ;) I admit that I steer away from this word when in international company, because conversation concerning the nether regions attracts smirks, even when you are actually talking about beach footwear and being entirely respectable and serious. Fortunately thongs are not serious clothing.


(I did take my own photo of the pair that lives at the back door for use on trips in the yard to feed the chooks, but decided that they were too disreputable for public viewing)


I had considered putting in the next item in my previous post, but left it out because I could not decide what to call them.



When I lived in South Australia, these were called bathers. When I entered Grade 2 in Victoria, I was ridiculed for this term, and told it was a "cozzie". When I moved to New South Wales, the term was swimmers, and in Queensland, they are called togs.
I mostly stick to the more formal "swimming costume", as I am a little confused. I checked with my children, and they tell me that "swimmers" and "togs" are both understood at school, and using either term would not gain attention, but that "cozzie" or "bathers" would attract strange looks and possibly questions.

Over your togs, you wear a rashie,, so that you will not be sunburnt.


I think the reason this is not a universally understood term is that only countries with high rates of skin cancer use these items of clothing, although I have heard this sort of clothing called a "sun protective top".

I did not sew anything this weekend. Can you tell?

22 comments:

shams said...

This is interesting. My entire childhood, those were called thongs and I grew up in the San Francisco area. Now when I call them thongs my kids are highly annoyed. I have tried to retrain myself, but it's hard. The other term used for those in my childhood was "Jap Flaps" but that always felt like a slur to me, so I did not use it.

My daughter routinely wears a rash guard and we call it a rash guard. :)

And we call those things swimsuits, or suits (for short), or bikini, tankini, etc, as the case may be. I definitely learned the term bathers from my Aussie blogging friends. :)

KID, MD said...

Flip Flops are what we generally call that sort of footwear, although I have heard them referred to as thongs, but not often as that is generally followed by a sophomoric snicker.

kbenco said...

The Pacific Ocean has surfers on both sides them ;), and they talk to each other?! Rash guard is a very formal term though.

sdBev said...

-Chooks? haven't heard that term since my grandparents passed on. I'm assuming you have chickens?
-I grew up calling them thongs or flip flops, but thongs now have a different connotation (the uncomfortable underwear). They've become shower shoes to be worn at the public showers when camping or along beaches and swimming pools.
-rashies are a new word from my Aussie friends and that's exactly what we're calling them.
-bathers have always been swimming suits to me, but I have heard the term bathing suit which has always sounded strange because bathing was synonomous with the activity of removing all clothing and cleansing your every nook and cranny with soap followed with lavaish applications of water.

As for the "nasties", that may be a familial thing and yes refer mostly to the "filled" absorbant material beneath the vinyls. I know people did look at us strangly when grocery shopping my husband offered to go get the "clean nasties".

I've always been interested in words, meanings of words, histories of words and now international uses of words. Thanks for starting this topic

PS I probably should use words I can't spell

Bernice said...

My parents grew up in Sydney. I remember my Grandfather using the term 'cossies' which is actually short for 'costume' i.e. swimming costume. My father always used the term 'costume'. This was very confusing for my friends (from central coastal Queensland) who used the term 'togs'. When they came over to our house for a play, he'd ask them if they'd packed their costumes. This would immediately bring on puzzled looks. They were always wondering if they were supposed to have brought over some sort of dress-ups (i.e. pirate, fairy)

Gail said...

I grew up on the beach in sun-cancerous Queensland. In the 1960s we didn't have rashies, but we wore togs with thongs and terry towelling hats. I now live in Sydney and my family all wear bathers.

Alison said...

It's a cozzie here....always! Sydney born & bred.

Love sham's "Jap Flaps" term. That cracked me up big time.

One of my all time favourite US expressions is "violators" as in "violators will be prosecuted". We, of course, call them "Offenders". But I have visions of violators violating things......

Tanit-Isis said...

In my area (western Canada) thongs became flip-flops some time in the early nineties, I think. Once people started wearing thong underwear, it became increasingly uncomfortable to call the footwear thongs. Such an odd thing to remember.

I would say swimsuit or bathing suit. If pressed to give a definition of togs, I think I would have said 'a generic term for clothing". It being swimwear specific would never have occurred to me.

Steph said...

I say flip flops, sun shirt, and swimsuit... People understand what I'm talking about.

"Fanny" is another funny one. I remember rather sticking my foot in it once in mixed company when I first moved here by suggesting someone needed a smack on the fanny....

kbenco said...

How terribly rude of you Steph ;)!
My boss in the USA was named Randy. I much preferred to call him Mr "X", which he thought was very stuffy of me. It took me at least a year before I could call him by his first name without finding it a distracting word.

Carolyn said...

In Western Australia, we wear bathers, and thongs to the beach, and rashies for the kids,although my burns-easily husband wears one too :)
The phrase "sit your fanny down here" caused much shock to me whilst we lived in the US, and also I had a female friend called Randi, when addressing her I found it difficult to keep a straight face...

liza jane said...

Rash guard, bathing suit and flip flops. Every year I see more and more kids wearing rash guards here in the US.

When I lived in Australia I learned the hard way not to talk about which team you were "rooting" for. Of course here it just means you are cheering on. "Fanny" was also a funny one. I teach a girl named Fanny. I don't suppose anyone in Oz would be named Fanny.

Love this topic!

Patricia said...

I am in Ontario, Canada. I grew up with bathing suit and flip flops or thongs were interchangeable while I was a child. My Mum is from New Zealand so that might have had some effect though. We say rash guard but it is a newer expression. New enough not to have a nickname yet.

While living in NZ,I learned the hard way (no pun intended) about a slang term. I asked a co-worker if he would mind giving me a "ride". Apparently I should have asked for a "lift". Very embarassing.

ejvc said...

I find the term "swimming costume" (used here in Britain) intrinsically amusing, as I expect loads of little fairy princesses and supermans (supermen?) in the water. I call it a swimsuit or bathing suit.

Thongs were thongs when I grew up in Colorado, but I agree, not now. To me they are flip-flops now.

Here in Britain rashies are, as far as I can tell, unknown, since the danger of sun damage is minimal. One reason I like this climate. Yes, people do try to be careful but it hardly matters, speaking as one from a high and sunny clime where lack of protective gear resulted in many childhood blisters.

However, I am looking for a new word -- the inflatable things that little kids put on their arms. My daughter calls them (motion to arms, make blowing sound) and I haven't got a much better word. They're "floaters" in Swedish and the catalogues call them "inflatable armbands".

Carolyn said...

Thank you for your comment, but; oh dear, I hope my jacket stood up to the zooming process... I have worn it a few winters, and along with being too afraid to wear it comes the same fear of having it laundered....

And in answer to ejvc; floaties!!

Allison said...

I grew up on the Prairies of Canada where we wore thongs or flops in the summer time to go with our bathing suits.

One of my friends was thinking of taking burlesque dance lessons and a friend's husband suggested she could call herself Randie Dandie. She has Dandie Dinmont terriers and thought this was a great name until I told her the "other" meaning of randy. She was horrified and I was amused at the way the whole word thing got mixed up.

We call those inflatable swimming things for kids water muscles or water wings.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Those were called thongs in the US while I was growing up in California; "flip flop" was a rarely used alternative name. As Tanit-Isis points out, sometime in the 90s they became flip flops full-time, and now nobody calls them thongs anymore.

Most people in the US say "diapers" for nappies, I've never heard "nasties."

And I agree with Allison on the term "water wings" for the inflatable arm floaters for children.

Allison said...

Oh yes...my mom also called flip flops slops and that was a pretty common term in our area.

Vicki said...

Very late to the party here, but thought I would say that as a Victorian all my life I have never called my bathers a cozzie! I have a vague recollection we may have called them togs when I was little but now call them bathers exclusively. But then I did grow up in the country ;/ As to the rashie, I would not have known what you were talking about if you had not shown a picture. I can't think of any name for them? I must have just told the kids to put the top on...or something.

kbenco said...

Ooh, controversy - 3 Sydneysiders fighting it out over bathers and cozzie, and a Victorian agreeing with me that Doncaster Park primary school should have stuck with "bathers" instead of "cozzie". Maybe these terms are very patchy in their distribution. I told you I was confused about what to call a swimming costume in slang!

Paola said...

Late on the scene here - born and bred Sydneysider. We always swam in swimmers. Married Queenslander who always refers to them as togs. Our progeny, born in NSW, call them togs too. Sacrilege!

Do Queenslanders call Dressing tables duchesses? Hubby does and I am wondering if it is a Queenslander things, or is a family peculiarity (from a peculiar family)

Hen said...

I am so glad you clear this all up. I once got a funny comment by an Australian friend/colleague/neighbour when I said I only had to get my swimsuit and we could go to the beach. She thought that sounded so official, as if I were really serious about the swimming. She said swimming costume - like ejvc I picture carnaval. The floaters are called swim wings! No wait - water wings. It all gets more complicated because in German and Dutch we use a lot of pseudo english words, which turn out to be not understood by native speakers.