A proud day indeed. The word “bogan” is among the new monthly entries to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Frankly, it’s a surprise it’s taken those posh lexicographers so long to notice, but better late than never.
Austral./N.Z. colloq. depreciative term for unfashionable, uncouth, or unsophisticated person, esp. of low social status.
The Dictionary of New Zealand English defines a bogan as “an uncouth or stupidly conventional person, a ‘nerd’.” For the Oxford Dictionary of New Zealandisms, meanwhile, the bogan is “a type of conspicuously unsophisticated person” (both of those via this Auckland University page).
Across the Tasman, the Australian National Dictionary Centre gives us this:
Bogan is Australian (especially teenage) slang for someone who is not ‘with it’ in terms of behaviour and appearance, someone who is ‘not us’; hence, someone horrible, contemptible.
Some lexicographers have suspected that the term may derive from the Bogan River and district in western New South Wales, but this is far from certain, and it seems more likely to be an unrelated coinage.
The term became widespread after it was used in the late 1980s by the fictitious schoolgirl ‘Kylie Mole’ in the television series The Comedy Company …
The earliest evidence we have been able to find for the term is in the surfing magazine Tracks September 1985: “So what if I have a mohawk and wear Dr Martens (boots for all you uninformed bogans)?
But in New Zealand, of course, we can claim our very own Doctor Bogan.
Dave Snell has grabbed a PhD from Waikato for his “study focussed on how bogans develop their identity and function in the community”.