Dingo’s breakfast

Dingo’s breakfast has recently been added to the Oxford English dictionary. Dingo’s breakfast is an Australian phrase that actually means no breakfast at all. A dingo’s breakfast originated with stories of the Australian swaggy, or transient worker, who crossed the land looking for work to pay for his next meal, often he was without provisions in the morning. Just like the dingo who lived on a subsistence diet, the swaggy would rise and find nothing to eat, so his “breakfast” consisted of “a scratch, a piss, and a good look around.” The dingo got his name in 1789, from the Dharruk word din-go, meaning tame dog, though dingos are not tame. The Bushmen call dingos warrigals, or wild dogs.



A dingo’s breakfast consists of a scratch, a pee and a good look around. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Miss France’s Malika Menard wore a mini Eiffel Tower on top of her head while Miss Australia Jesinta Campbell’s outfit complete with high-heeled Ugg boots was branded ‘a dingo’s breakfast’ by some. (The Metro)

Has SABMiller made a dingo’s breakfast of £6.2bn Foster’s bid? (Management Today)

Alice Mayor Damien Ryan later explained, through an interpreter no doubt, that the local custom out bush is to have a dingo’s breakfast: a pee and a good look around. (Alice Springs News)

They are reputed to do well on ‘a dingo’s breakfast’ – a drink of water and a look around! (Dog World)

In lean times, or when you are travelling and in a hurry to get going in the morning, there might only be time for “a dingo’s breakfast”, which is just a p-ss and quick look around before you embark on the day’s toil. (Cairns Post)


Check Your Text


  1. You need to elaborate on the use of the phrase in “looking like a dingo’s breakfast”

  2. Many First Nations people did indeed befriend dingoes and cooperated with them when hunting for mutual benefit, so if the Dharruk called them tame, then they indeed were tame to them. Just not the kind of ‘domesticated’ tameness (ie. slavery almost) that many would recognise as tame. Without fear of humans is also ‘tame’. I have met a couple of lovely dingoes at Featherdale Wildlife Sanctuary near Blacktown in Sydney, they wagged their tails and sniffed and licked my hand through the bars – no fear = tame, acting just like any other friendly dog in fact. Oh, and wild dingoes are not tame, but the dingoes many people have as ‘pets’ in Australia are indeed tame.

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