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See also: Bowser


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From Bowser (a surname), after Sylvanus Bowser, US inventor of the first fuel pump; also a trade name of SF Bowser inc., the inventor's company.


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bowser (plural bowsers)

  1. (now chiefly Australia and New Zealand) A fuel metering/delivery pump at a filling station.
    • 2001, Michael Gordon, Reconciliation: A Journey[1], page 18:
      ‘Kids are breaking into the service station bowsers at night, draining out the dregs of petrol from the bowser hoses, wandering the streets sniffing petrol from Coke bottles all night,’ he said [] .
    • 2008, Adrian Scott, The Road Gets Better from Here[2], page 165:
      I needed at least fifteen litres more petrol in my tank to reach the next major settlement and, unlike China, there were no shiny new gas stations here with bowsers of different types of petrol to choose from, nor were there pretty young gas girls in nice uniforms ready to fill ‘er up – in fact there were no gas stations here at all; petrol was bought and sold strictly off market in private transactions.
    • 2010, David Nichols, Green Fields, Brown Fields, New Fields, footnote citing 1926 report, page 309,
      The Moree Municipal Council decided to devote the revenue derived from the rent of the bowser petrol pumps within the municipality for this year, which amounted to forty guineas.
  2. A road vehicle (often a trailer) for the transport of liquid fuel, particularly aviation fuel at an airfield.
    • 1962, The All England Law Reports, Volume 3, page 435,
      The bowsers then go out to the aircraft and supply them with petrol.
    • 2003, Andy Saunders, No 43 ‘Fighting Cocks’ Squadron[3], page 107:
      By the time No 43 Sqn was given permission to land it was quite dark, and so to assist the pilots in what were to be difficult night landings two petrol bowsers were parked to ‘illuminate’ the runway with their dim blackout headlights. Perhaps, all things considered, the use of petrol bowsers for this particular task was not exactly wise.
  3. (Britain) A mobile water tank deployed to distribute fresh water in emergency situations where the normal system of piped distribution has broken down or is insufficient.
    • 1999 May 12, Kenya National Assembly Official Record (Hansard), page 588,
      Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as hon. Shidie has said, there is no water bowser in Garissa and he categorically said that there is a water bowser to supply water to the people of Kulan. Could he give the registration number of this water bowser which is supplying water to the people of Kulan?
    • 2000, Louis L. Jacobs, Quest for the African Dinosaurs: Ancient Roots of the Modern World[4], page 112:
      The water bowser needed filling.
    • 2010, P. Dissanayake, N. Weragala, V. Smakhtin, Environmental Flow Assessment: Recent Examples from Sri Lanka, Alexandra Evans, K. Jinapala (editors), Proceedings of the National Conference on Water, Food Security and Climate Change in Sri Lanka, Volume 2, page 29,
      Due to increasing levels of water pollution arising from low flows, water becomes unsuitable for bathing during this period and is satisfied by bowser water supply.
  4. (Ireland, slang, used in the vocative) A buffoon or imbecile.