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Cub

This abbreviation has become known in parts of Australia during the early months of 2006, possibly the creation of David Chalke, a successful social analyst and communications consultant. It stands for “cashed-up bogan” and refers to a type of young, white, mainly working-class male.

Bogan by itself has been used both in Australia and in New Zealand in recent decades, either for someone who is stupidly conventional and old-fashioned or for a person who is uncouth or uncultured. It’s said to have started in Melbourne and to have been popularised by The Comedy Company, a television programme that aired in Australia for a couple of years in the late 1980s. Where it comes from is uncertain. Several places in New South Wales have it in their names (and there’s also Bogan shower, a dust storm, among other terms). Pam Peters of the Australian Dictionary Research Centre suggests that these may have been borrowed in the nineteenth century from the name of a local tribe of aborigines. The other half of the name, cashed-up, is an Australian colloquial term meaning well-supplied with money, which was originally applied to seasonal workers who had just been paid.

An article in the Age of Melbourne describes cashed-up bogans as “extremely well-heeled, skilled, blue-collar workers” and says they are being wooed by advertisers because they are both moneyed and aspirational. But others prefer to regard them as loutish, sexist, poorly educated and unintelligent, deriding them for being ostentatious with their money and easily falling prey to slick marketing. They sound very much like the British chavs.

The Cub market is increasingly targeted by companies touting discretionary items such as high-end cars, boats and motorbikes, pricey home entertainment systems and pre-mixed alcohol and spirits.

The Age, Melbourne, 20 May 2006

Cubs have money, and they want to spend it on flash stuff. Like cars, boats, motorbikes, luxury clothing and expensive home entertainment systems.

Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June 2006

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 10 Jun. 2006

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

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Last modified: 10 June 2006.