gunzel

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See also: Gunzel

English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Believed to be a derivation of the American slang gunsel, meaning a gangster or hoodlum who uses a gun, popularised in books such as The Maltese Falcon. In these books the implication was that a gunsel was somewhat foolish and reckless. The word gunzel originated from the Sydney Tramway Museum in the 1960s as a term for foolish or reckless railfans who shot at things with cameras. Usage was originally confined to south eastern states, it has since spread to the whole of Australia and parts of New Zealand. May be used to refer to a specific interest, e.g. "freight gunzel", "tram gunzel".

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

gunzel (plural gunzels)

  1. (Australia), a railway enthusiast. Originally derogatory, referring to overly enthusiastic or foolish rail fans. Now refers to railway enthusiasts in general, and the term is often used with pride.
    • 2008, Mark Dapin, Strange Country (page 293)
      'There're people who have an intellectual impairment,' he said, 'and studying trains seems a natural thing for them to gravitate to. And then there're people who have more of a hobby-style interest in it.' [] He feels gunzels are misunderstood by the outside world.
    • 2016, Tom Chesshyre, Ticket to Ride: Around the World on 49 Unusual Train Journeys
      I ask him about Australian trainspotters. 'Do such people exist?'
      'We call them train gunzels. A gunzel is a person who is really stuck on one thing. In Sydney you get guys on the platforms. This carriage here is the CDF924 – that's the number for Matilda's Restaurant. The guys on the platform will say, "Oh, I haven't seen that for a while" [] '
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Synonyms[edit]

Verb[edit]

gunzel (third-person singular simple present gunzels, present participle gunzelling, simple past and past participle gunzelled)

  1. To engage in railway enthusiast activities.

Synonyms[edit]