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First used by soldiers in New Guinea. Suggested sources are

Previously the word Binghi was used widely in similar fashion to the present-day use of the term Negro for peoples of African ancestry; see titles from this booklist and also writings of Xavier Herbert (e.g. in Capricornia), for example.


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boong (plural boongs)

  1. (Australia, slang, dated) A native of New Guinea.
    • 1943, Australian Army, Timor Souvenir, in Khaki and Green: With the Australian Army at Home and Overseas, page 119,
      A couple of boongs came down and carried me up to the hut where our R.A.P. corporal was.
    • 1998, August Ibrum K. Kituai, My Gun, My Brother: The World of the Papua New Guinea Colonial Police, 1920-1960[1], page 282:
      During the War the soldiers generally referred to Papua New Guineans as “Boongs,” a name also given to black Americans. It is not a nice word, but is fair to say that the Aussies held the boongs in quite some affection during the War.
    • 2000, Prue Torney-Parlicki, Somewhere in Asia: War, Journalism and Australia's Neighbours 1941-75[2], page 48:
      [Department of Information cameraman Damien] Parer's views on mateship encompassed both the Papuans and the soldiers: at one point he wrote ‘“no boongs, no battle”, implying that natives and diggers were equal partners in their fight against the Japanese.’71
  2. (Australia, slang, very pejorative, ethnic slur) An Australian aboriginal.
    • 1988, Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines[3], page 92:
      I heard Bruce tell one of the drinkers he'd bought a place in Queensland where you could ‘still call a Boong a Boong’.
    • 2010, Peter Temple, The Broken Shore[4], page 82:
      [] I quit the feds because I didn't want to be a showpiece boong cop.’
    • 2011, Linda Lee Rathbun, Tjuringa, unnumbered page,
      “Yeah,” he said, “them boongs are a useless lot. The sooner they all die off, the better.”
      “And why is that?” Bill asked.
      “The Abos are nothing but a pack of boozers. All they wanna' do is get pissed.” The man glared at his beer. “Useless, they are.”


See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1959, Xavier Herbert, Seven Emus, 2003, page 5 — The term boong is originally Malayan, meaning “brother”, but it doesn't mean anything like that in Australian usage.
  2. ^ 1988, The Bulletin, Issues 5617-5625, page 121 — They would doubtless have been amused to learn that in New Guinea, where the term "boong" originated, it means "brother" and has a kinship with the Indonesian "bung" and Thursday Island's "binghi".