: chiefly Australian an obtrusively puritanical person
Did You Know?
"Wowser" is a 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 to 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.
"I'm no wowser, but I draw the line at abusive, foul-mouthed drunks." - From an article by Mike Smithson in the Sunday Mail (South Australia), July 2, 2006
"A number of well-known and not-so-well-known people have taken part in the Hello Sunday Morning scheme where they give up drinking for a week, month, or more. These are not wowsers or problem drinkers but ordinary Kiwis who decide to temporarily go on the wagon." - From an article by Dave Armstrong in The Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand), July 8, 2013
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