Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

wowser

play
noun wow·ser \ˈwau̇-zər\

Definition of wowser

chiefly Australian

  1. :  an obtrusively puritanical person



Did You Know?

Wowser is a delightful word with an interesting background, though its ultimate origin is unknown. The word first appeared in print in 1899, in the Australian journal Truth, and was instantly popular in Australia. It spread to New Zealand, where it remains in use, and then eventually arrived in England, possibly brought by the Australian troops who served there during World War I. The American writer and editor H. L. Mencken liked "wowser" and attempted to introduce it in the United States. He used the word frequently in American Mercury, the literary magazine he edited. Despite Mencken's efforts the term never truly caught on in American English, though it is used occasionally.

Origin and Etymology of wowser

origin unknown


First Known Use: 1899


Learn More about wowser


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up wowser? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

different from the usual or normal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

accomodate acommadate acommodate accommodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ