waltz Matilda

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From waltz + matilda (romantic name for a swag).

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Verb[edit]

waltz Matilda (third-person singular simple present waltzes Matilda, present participle waltzing Matilda, simple past and past participle waltzed Matilda)

  1. (Australia) To travel on foot carrying a swag (belongings wrapped in a cloth); to so travel looking for work.
    • 2002, Stuart Dick, Outback to Asia, page 163,
      As far as I was concerned the choice was Alice Springs, the center of the great Outback or a box car. There was no contest. I was ready to waltz Matilda.
    • 2005, Kristin Otto, Yarra: A Diverting History of Melbourne′s Murky River, unnumbered page,
      A 1928 bestseller offered the opinion that ‘there is only one way of getting off the beaten track—take a swag. Victoria is full of possibilities for the walker willing to “waltz Matilda”,’ and went on to describe the track.
    • 2012, Bruce Kapferer, Legends of People, Myths of State, page 173,
      Indeed, while in Australia before the war Simpson had “waltzed matilda,” tramped through the bush, independent and outside the constructed differentiating society, carrying all his worldy goods—his “bluey”——on his back.

Usage notes[edit]

Now chiefly used in the context of or in allusion to the song Waltzing Matilda.