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turps Australian English

Meaning: alcohol, alcoholic drinks

For example:

  • My mate Barry was on the turps for years before he started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

  • When I saw Bruce, I said "Geez mate, you don't look too hot. Get stuck into the turps last night, did ya?"

Origin: short for "turpentine", a distilled oil used in mixing paints. Turpentine is not an alcoholic drink, but its smell seems to remind people of a very cheap form of industrial alcohol, and the word "turps" has become a humorous reference to very cheap and strong forms of alcohol.

Variety: This slang is typically used in Australian English but may be used in other varieties of English too.

Quick Quiz:

I knew Harry had been getting into the turps because he
  1. spoke very clearly
  2. looked perfectly normal
  3. couldn't walk in a straight line

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