Drongo is an Australian slang term used to describe a 'fool', a 'stupid person', a 'simpleton'. There is also a bird called a drongo. The spangled drongo is found in northern and eastern Australia, as well as in the islands to the north of Australia, and further north to India and China. It is called a drongo because that is the name of a bird from the same family in northern Madagascar. The spangled drongo is not a stupid bird. It is not a galah. One book describes it thus: 'The spangled drongo catches insects in the air, chasing them in aerobatic flight'. There is one odd story about the drongo, however: unlike most migratory birds, it appears to migrate to colder regions in winter. Some have suggested that this is the origin of the association of 'stupidity' with the term drongo. But this seems most unlikely. So what is the true story? There was an Australian racehorse called Drongo during the early 1920s. It seems likely that he was named after the bird called the 'drongo'. He wasn't a an absolute no-hoper of a racehorse: he ran second in a VRC Derby and St Leger, third in the AJC St Leger, and fifth in the 1924 Sydney Cup. He often came very close to winning major races, but in 37 starts he never won a race. In 1924 a writer in the Melbourne Argus comments: 'Drongo is sure to be a very hard horse to beat. He is improving with every run'. But he never did win. Soon after the horse's retirement it seems that racegoers started to apply the term to horses that were having similarly unlucky careers. Soon after the term became more negative, and was applied also to people who were not so much 'unlucky' as 'hopeless cases', 'no-hopers', and thereafter 'fools'. In the 1940s it was applied to recruits in the Royal Australian Air Force. It has become part of general Australian slang. Buzz Kennedy, writing in The Australian newspaper in 1977, defines a drongo thus: A drongo is a simpleton but a complicated one: he is a simpleton [of the] sort who not only falls over his feet but does so at Government House; who asks his future mother-in-law to pass-the-magic-word salt the first time the girl asks him home.... In an emergency he runs heroically in the wrong direction. If he were Superman he would get locked in the telephone box. He never wins. So he is a drongo. The origin of the term was revived at Flemington in 1977 when a Drongo Handicap was held. Only apprentice jockeys were allowed to ride. The horses entered were not allowed to have won a race in the previous twelve months.

Australian idioms. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Drongo — Spangled Drongo Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia …   Wikipedia

  • Drongo — Dron go, n.; pl. {Drongos}. (Zo[ o]l.) A passerine bird of the family {Dicrurid[ae]}. They are usually black with a deeply forked tail. They are natives of Asia, Africa, and Australia; called also {drongo shrikes}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • drongo — ● drongo nom masculin (mot malgache) Passereau de teinte noire des pays tropicaux de l Ancien Monde et d Australie, chassant les insectes à l affût. drongo n. m. ORNITH Passereau de la savane arbustive et de la forêt, au plumage noir, au bec… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • drongo — DRÓNGO s. m. pasăre mică sau mijlocie, răspândită în Africa, Madagascar, India şi nordul Australiei, cu penajul negru metalic şi coada lungă şi înfurcată. (< fr. drongo) Trimis de raduborza, 15.09.2007. Sursa: MDN …   Dicționar Român

  • Drongo — (Edolius Cuv., Dicrurus Vieill.), Gattung der Singvögel aus der Familie der würgerartigen Zahnschnäbler; Schnabel etwas gebogen, platt, niedergedrückt, am Ende ausgekerbt, auf dem Rücken erhaben, an der Wurzel stark behaart, die Nasenlöcher sind… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • drongo — s. m. [Ornitologia] Pássaro dentirrostro …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • Drongo — Dicruridae Dicruridés …   Wikipédia en Français

  • drongo —    An Australian term for a slow witted, stupid person, or in military circles, a raw recruit. ‘Drongo’ is actually an Australian bird name, but Aussie Talk, edited by Arthur Delbridge, suggests that there was a racehorse called Drongo in the… …   A dictionary of epithets and terms of address

  • drongo — drongo1 /drong goh/, n., pl. drongos. any passerine bird of the family Dicruridae, of Africa, Asia, and Australia, the several species usually having black plumage and long, forked tails. [1835 45; < Malagasy] drongo2 /drong goh/, n., pl. drongos …   Universalium

  • Drongo — drongai statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Dicrurus angl. drongo vok. Drongo, m rus. дронго, m pranc. drongo, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – dronginiai siauresnis terminas – andamaninis drongas siauresnis terminas –… …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

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