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Unknown. Earliest recorded use in the phrase fair dinkum in 1879, from Australia. Also recorded (slightly later) from Derbyshire and Lincolnshire dialect. Perhaps related to Gloucestershire dialect ding (to work hard).



dinkum (comparative more dinkum, superlative most dinkum)

  1. (Australia, New Zealand, slang) Genuine, true, honest, on the level. [From 1894]
    • 1956, Western Australian Parliament, Parliamentary Debates[1], page 2194:
      Hon. Sir Ross McLarty: We were always dinkum.
      Mr. MAY: The ultimate result showed how dinkum the hon. member was.
    • 1966, Craig McGregor, Profile of Australia[2], page 21:
      The dinkum Aussie everyone talks about, almost always with a certain unreal sentimentality, is clearly a worker.
    • 2004, A. J. Liebling, Direction: Paris, Mollie and Other War Pieces, page 242,
      Larry's jeep was behind mine, and as I went past an intersection, I saw a lot of their chaps around a dinkum super Mark VI tank — p'raps a Mark VII or VIII. I didn't have a chance for a proper dinkum look-see, what?
    • 2006, Ron Fitch, Australian Railwayman: From Cadet Engineer to Railways Commissioner[3], page 65:
      He explained that he was due to have a game of hazards that night with a couple of Italian prospectors and that he was doctoring the dice so that they would do just what he wanted them to do.
      ‘Tim, is this game dinkum?’ asked Ted.
      Highly indignant that such a suspicion should arise, he replied angrily:
      ‘Of course it's dinkum. They'll have loaded dice too!’


Derived terms[edit]


dinkum (uncountable)

  1. (Australia, New Zealand, slang, rare, obsolete) Hard work. [From 1882]
  2. (Australia, New Zealand, slang) Truth.
    • 1917, Ralph Albert Parlette, The Lyceum magazine[4], volume 27, page 20:
      You look real jockey — thats' the dinkum.