swagman

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English[edit]

A swagman
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Etymology[edit]

From swag +‎ man; Australian sense from 1869.

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

swagman (plural swagmen)

  1. (Australia, historical) An itinerant person who walks from farm to farm carrying a swag and seeking work, often in exchange for food and lodging.
    • 1902, Barbara Baynton, The Chosen Vessel, Bush Studies, 2007, Echo Library, page 89,
      She was not afraid of horsemen; but swagmen, going to, or worse, coming from the dismal, drunken little township, a day′s journey beyond, terrified her. One had called at the house today, and asked for tucker.
    • 2007, Melissa Harper, The Ways of the Bushwalker: On Foot in Australia, page 100,
      In his prose works Landlopers and Knocking Round, Brereton penned affectionate portraits of shearers, swagmen and farmers′ wives, based on people he had met on his walks.
    • 2009, Bronwyn Sell, John Caffrey, c.1850-87, Law Breakers and Mischief Makers: 50 Notorious New Zealanders, 2010, ReadHowYouWant, page 72,
      The policeman thought it best to surprise the man, since he might be armed, so he disguised himself as a swagman and pounced as the man returned from his bridge-painting job.
  2. (US, slang) A fence, a middleman for transactions of stolen goods.
    • 1971 November 22, Frank E. Emerson, They Can Get It for You BETTER Than Wholesale, New York, page 34,
      According to Tommy, the mob uses swagmen like himself as down-the-line distributors for these large jobs.

Synonyms[edit]