blackboy

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English[edit]

Xanthorrhoea semiplana
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Etymology[edit]

From black +‎ boy. For sense (plant of genus Xanthorrhoea): from a supposed resemblance of the plant to an Aboriginal boy holding an upright spear.

Noun[edit]

blackboy ‎(plural blackboys)

  1. (Australia, obsolete, possibly offensive) An Aboriginal boy or servant.
    • 1898, Guy Boothby, Billy Binks—Hero, republished in Ken Gelder, Rachael Weaver, The Anthology of Colonial Australian Adventure Fiction, page 118,
      A moment later he beckoned the blackboy to his side, and when he arrived pointed to the ground. The boy gesticulated in answer, and then both pulled their horses to a standstill and waited for me to come up.
    • 1906, South Australian Geology Department, Henry Yorke Lyell Brown, Robert Etheridge, Reports (geological and general) resulting from the explorations made by the government geologist and staff during 1905, page 36,
      September 30th, 1905.—Examined some hills in the locality. A Chinaman and some blackboys are camped here with some cattle belonging to the Mount Diamond butcher.
    • 1930, Mary Montgomerie Bennett, The Australian Aboriginal as a Human Being, page 49,
      His tracks joined a cattle pad, and the blackboys followed them at speed, two riding on each side of the path.
  2. (Australia, informal) Any plant in the genus Xanthorrhoea, native to Australia.
    • 1946, Walkabout, Volume 13, page 49,
      As with many things, the pioneers followed the natives in the use of the Blackboy. They also found that the gum possessed some property that will cure dysentery and other internal complaints. The gum was also used for dyeing, tanning and varnishing.
    • 1966 November 8, Parliament of Western Australia, Parliamentary Debates, page 2181,
      The gum from the blackboy trees was used for the making of varnish and stain, []
    • 1977, Royal Society of Western Australia, Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, Volumes 60-61, page 5,
      As with any fire, blackboys and sedges were the first to grow, little else appearing before the first rains, which were followed by a flush of herbaceous shoots.

Synonyms[edit]