An Australian term for a slow-witted, stupid person, or in military circles, a raw recruit. ‘Drongo’ is actually an Australian bird name, but Aussie Talk, edited by Arthur Delbridge, suggests that there was a racehorse called Drongo in the 1920s which became famous for never winning a race. This may have inspired transferred use of its name. There may, however, be a direct reference to the bird itself, as with another Australian term of mild abuse, ‘galah’. This is the Aborigine name of a rather lovely pink and grey cockatoo that is especially noisy. An Australian saying has it that a person can be as ‘mad as a gumtree full of galahs’. ‘Galah’ itself, applied to a person, means either a fool or a show-off. Examples of ‘drongo’ used as a vocative occur in An Indecent Obsession, by Colleen McCullough. An Australian man calls another ‘you stupid drongo’. The same speaker uses this expression again to another man later in the book, equating it with ‘you barmy fucker’. As for ‘galah’, it is not clear whether its use in War Brides, by Lois Battle, is vocative or not. An Australian woman says to an American man: ‘You’re a great galah, aren’t you? Galah. Galah. It’s a bloody parrot from the islands.’

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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