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”).
- (Australia, New Zealand, slang) Genuine, true, honest, on the level. [From 1894]
1956, Western Australian Parliament, Parliamentary Debates, 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, 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, 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!’
- (Australia, New Zealand, slang, rare, obsolete) Hard work. [From 1882]
- (Australia, New Zealand, slang) Truth.
1917, Ralph Albert Parlette, The Lyceum magazine, volume 27, page 20:
- You look real jockey — thats' the dinkum.