Tasmanian-English Dictionary

(Contributed by Wally McOuat)

Before coming to Australia I was familiar with several differences in terminology compared to common usage in America. Like all of you, I knew a “lift” was an elevator, and a “boot” was a trunk. However, I had neglected to study the specific Tasmanian dialect especially as it related to cycling. This trip opened my eyes to several terms that should be added to the next edition of the Tasmanian to English dictionary.

I’m sure most of you can relate. Take the concept of elevation, for example.

“A small climb” means you’ll be visiting Granny.
“A fair climb” means the van will be at the base of the climb.
My favorite, the “rider’s climb,” means Pantani once did it in an hour.

Similarly, Tasmanians appear to have some distinct terms for distance:

“A wee bit down the road” means fill your water bottles.
“A bit of a ways” (the standard) means you should pack a lunch.
“A far piece” means rational folks would pack a tent.

The terms for time were no better. “You’ll be there in an hour” means that Lance would.

My favorite, however, was wind. You East Coasters can particularly appreciate:

“A slight headwind” is equivalent to a small craft advisory.
“A moderate headwind” means a Class 1 hurricane is about 50 kilometers offshore.
And “a stiff breeze” means you may see Dorothy and Toto along the way.


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