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Alternative forms[edit]

  • golliwogg (Original spelling — the final ‘g’ was dropped within nine years of publication.)


Coined for the illustrations by Florence Kate Upton for her mother Bertha Upton′s 1895 children′s book, The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls — and a ‘Golliwogg’.


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golliwog (plural golliwogs)

  1. A rag doll or mascot in the form of a caricature of a black minstrel.
    • 1983, Norman E. Lee, John Curtin, Saviour of Australia[1], page 47:
      Lyons was ideal material for the ‘Honest Joe’ image. He had a round chubby face under a mop of curly hair that made him resemble a cross between a koala bear and a golliwog.
    • 2010, Bridget Griffen-Foley, Changing Stations: The Story of Australian Commercial Radio[2], page 286:
      A golliwog doll, ‘Rickety Kate’, was fixed to the studio wall.
  2. (dated, racist, offensive) A black person.
    • 2002, Gillian Klein, Reading Into Racism: Bias in Children′s Literature and Learning Materials[3], page 41:
      Deemed equally ‘harmless’ by its perpetrators is that close relation to the cannibal; the golliwog. [] Dixon′s brilliant essay ‘All things white and beautiful’ (1976) argues that golliwogs are associated with fear and darkness, quoting an Enid Blyton story of Noddy being trapped and robbed of his car and his clothes, even his ‘dear little hat’ by ‘four big strong golliwogs’. Dixon observes how a four-year-old got the message from the pictures alone, which show the golliwogs driving off and ‘poor little’ Noddy on the ground.
  3. (Australia) A hairy caterpillar.[1] [From 1920.]
  4. A receiver of stolen goods.[1] [From ca 1930.]
  5. (Can we clean up(+) this sense?) (Rhyming slang as "the" golliwogs): greyhound racing



  1. 1.0 1.1 "golliwog", entry in 1984, Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, 8th edition, reprinted 1991, page 483.