Aussie slang: ocker

Ocker is a surprisingly common piece of slang for a relatively recent import into the Aussie language.

 

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Meaning: A person who is uncultivated and ignorant. Typically this term is used to refer to a rough Aussie male who has an aggressively thick Aussie accent and manner.

 

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Previous to ‘Crocodile Dundee’, Paul Hogan was famed for his comedy show in which he played a number of characters including this guy – Super Dag: an ‘ocker’ super hero complete with zinc on his nose and terry-towelling hat.

 

How to use it: ‘Ocker’ is both a noun and an adjective, and given that you’re calling someone ignorant, it might not go over so well –  so use it wisely.

Examples: ‘John is such an ocker’, ‘That was pretty ocker, mate’

 

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An Ocker is traditionally a slobbish guy who might be found on the couch drinking beer and watching football – which is less and less likely these days in the younger generations as most young Aussies take an interest in keeping fit and active.

 

Plus Plus: 

There is the more obscure female slang, ‘Okerina’. It was popular in the 1970s but is not so commonly heard today.

 

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Dame Edna (played by Aussie comedian Barry Humphries), is no okerina – she prides herself on how sophisticated and cultured she is – and despises ockers. Famed for her outlandish costumes, she’s seen here in her Sydney Opera House dress.

 

Origin:

In the typical Australian love of shortening names, Ocker was originally a slang nickname for anyone named Oscar or Horace.

 

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After the Ginger Meggs cartoon in the 1920s included a character called Ocker Stevens, anyone with the surname Stevens was also likely to be called Ocker.

 

The more common definition of ‘ocker’ didn’t appear until the 1960s when Comedian Ron Frazer played the character of Ocker on the Mavis Bramston show.

 

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Ocker would appear leaning on a bar, speaking with a broad Australian accent, wearing shorts and thongs, and periodically sinking a glass of beer. As that character was called ‘Ocker’, ocker became the name of the type.

 

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