bush telegraph

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

bush telegraph (plural bush telegraphs)

  1. (idiomatic) A system used by undeveloped societies in remote regions for communication over long distances, such as drum sounds, word-of-mouth relay, or smoke signals.
    • 2007, "From Sudan to supermodel stardom," msnbc.com, 28 Aug. (retrieved 19 Sep. 2008):
      When I was born, family and friends came from all over, thanks to the bush telegraph. There were very few telephones where I grew up, so my father mentioned my birth to someone at the market. And that woman told a man who was delivering rice to a place up the road. He told someone there, who was taking a herd of cattle south, toward the villages. And pretty soon the news of my birth had spread far and wide.
  2. (idiomatic) A gossip network.
    • 1911, Jack London, Adventure, ch. 9:
      I suppose you've received information, by bush-telegraph, that that third assistant understrapper and ex-sailorman at Tulagi is going to deport me as an undesirable immigrant.

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