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A sundowner (swagman)


From sundown +‎ -er.


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sundowner (plural sundowners)

  1. (Australia, obsolete) An itinerant worker, such as a swagman, who arrives at a farm too late in the day to do any work, but readily accepts food and lodging.
    • 2008, Arthur Upfield, Kees de Hoog (editor), Wisp of Wool and Disk of Silver, Up and Down Australia, page 279,
      What he saw was not usual in this part of Australia - a sundowner, a bush waif who tramps from north to south or from east to west, never working, cadging rations from the far-flung homesteads and having the ability of the camel to do without water, or find it.
    • 2010, John Hirst, Looking for Australia: Historical Essays, page 60,
      Like the Australian sundowners, some of these trampers were suspected of never wanting to find a job.
  2. (Australia, obsolete) An itinerant worker, a swagman.
  3. (nautical) A sea captain who shows harsh discipline by requiring all hands to be on board by sundown.[1]
    • 1985, Ronald H. Spector, Eagle Against the Sun:
      Arrogant, aloof, and suspicious, a “sundowner,” or strict disciplinarian, King inspired respect in many but affection in few.
  4. (medicine, colloquial) A patient, usually demented, who tends to become agitated in the evening.
    • 1977, Jules Hymen Masserman, Current Psychiatric Therapies, page 179,
      These patients may improve by day only to relapse at night (nocturnal delirium or sundowner's syndrome).
    • 1989: William H. Reid, The Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: Revised for the DSM III R., page 71,
      They generally occur in the evening or at night in the form of "sundowner" syndrome, as a result of diminished sensory input and social isolation and/or exposure to an unfamiliar environment (e.g., the hospital).
    • 2007 February 7, Dennis Fiely, Dark Ages: For the elderly fighting mental or physical problems, life takes a frightening turn when nighttime comes, The Columbus Dispatch
      Sundowner′s syndrome” refers to changes in mood and behavior that begin near dusk.
  5. (originally colonial slang, especially southern Africa) A cocktail consumed at sunset, or to signify the end of the day.
    • 1918, Robert Valentine Dolbey, Sketches of the East Africa Campaign, page 117,
      The cocktail, the universal “sherry and bitters” and sundowner will have to be retained.
    • 1952, Doris Lessing, Martha Quest, Panther 1974, p. 146:
      Mrs. Lowe-Island [] had imagined the Sports Club as a large shadowy veranda, with native servants standing like willing statues around the walls, plenty of sundowners, and that laughter which is the result of personal comment […].
    • 2005, Franz Wisner, Honeymoon With My Brother: A Memoir, page 243,
      Per custom, we capped our drives with a sundowner cocktail party at a scenic vantage point.
  6. A cocktail party held in the early evening.
    • 2005, Edward M. Bruner, Culture on Tour: Ethnographies of Travel, page 83,
      The Sundowner is basically a cocktail party with a buffet on a riverbank in the bush.
  7. A physician employed by the government who practises for private fees after his official hours.
  8. Any worker who practises for private fees after official hours.
    • 1956, Redbook: The Magazine for Young Adults (volume 108, page 64)
      These "sundowners" hold jobs in other — usually related — trades, and do their servicing nights and weekends.
    • 1961, Radio-electronics (volume 32, page 262)
      [] according to Home Furnishings Daily, “Public exposure of the sundowners provides strong support for our campaign for state licensing of TV technicians. []

Derived terms[edit]