As crook as Rookwood

As crook as Rookwood is an Australian idiom for being very sick and almost ready to die. Crook is Australian slang for being chronically sick. Sometimes the phrase is used for deep corruption, but not in the sense that the corruption is led by crooks, people who are dishonest. The term crook is meant in the sense that the corrupt organization has been sick for a long time.

Rookwood is capitalized as it is the name of the biggest cemetery in Australia. This phrase is informal, and when used outside of Australian publications is almost always explained in the text.



Clearly, the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was as crook as Rookwood, a scam which cost Australia dearly. It’s been rotten to the bone for years. [Sydney Morning Herald]

It involved backroom horse-trading with the Opposition that was always going to look sleazy. “As crook as Rookwood,” is the way one angry Labor MP – not a Rudd supporter – put it. [The Daily Telegraph]

In fairness to the Bay, they lost Tyler Blanch, their hooker and dummy-half, in the warm-up and had injured players dropping like flies before they were able to settle. Cameron Green and Hemi Mullen succumbed, while forward leader Simon Kelly soldiered on though as crook as Rookwood. [Echo Net Daily]

“He got crook in December — the flu went right through my squad — and he needed about 10 days off,” Cotterell said. [The Daily Telegraph Australia]


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  1. Theresa Bradley says:

    This is clearly a New South Wales idiom, not an Australia- wide idiom. I live in Victoria and have never heard of this expression before.

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