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In Australian slang what is meant by cactus?


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2010-05-22 03:57:15
2010-05-22 03:57:15

If something is "cactus", it is broken, doesn't work any more, or another great Australian idiom - "buggered".

Practical application = "Bugger! The motor threw a rod. It's cactus."


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Prickly Pear Cactus (native South American), was brought to Australia in 1788 on the First Fleet. It became a pest, quickly overrunning many thousand acres of farmland. To combat it, the caterpillar/moth Cactoblastis (also South American native), was introduced in the 1920s. Wildly successful, it practically eliminated the spiny exotic in a few years. defeated. Hence, CACTUS, in Australian slang, means: beaten, finished, ruined, kaput etc. e.g. Jim threw just two punches, and Jack was cactus.

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