illywhacker

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Uncertain. Suggested by lexicographer Sidney Baker to derive from speiler, via eeler-spee or eeler-speeler by pig Latin, and from which illywhacker. The verb form whack the illy is a back-formation from the noun.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

illywhacker (plural illywhackers)

  1. (Australia, colloquial, rare) A small-time confidence trickster or seller of trinkets.
    • 1985, Peter Carey, Illywhacker, Faber and Faber 2003, p. 228:
      ‘What's an illywhacker?’ said Charles. ‘Spieler,’ explained Leah, who was not used to children.

Usage notes[edit]

The term was little used before revived by Peter Carey's 1985 novel Illywhacker, and the original sense is now difficult to ascertain.[1]

Derived terms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2001, Susan Butler, The Dinkum Dictionary: The Origins of Australian Words, Text Publishing, ISBN 187648585X.