from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. (slang) a rumour, or an erroneous or improbable story.


From Furphy ("a surname"). The firm of Furphy and Sons (still in business today) manufactured and supplied water carts[2] to the Australian Imperial Force in Egypt during World War I. Soldiers stood around these and talked, exchanging rumours and news. The manufacturer's name, which was emblazoned on the carts, was soon adopted for unreliable information or speculation. [3] (Wiktionary)



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  • Australian English has a rich collection of idioms.

    February 1, 2016

  • The cats quell the quoll and the bilby
    So Australia announces a kill spree.
    It's only a furphy
    They're aiming at cur-free,
    But cats are kaput, or soon will be.

    The dogs were in agency purview
    And doubtless some barking and fur flew,
    But their count is slight
    When hunting at night-
    Most dogs will abide by a curfew.

    January 28, 2016

  • Australian idiom: misleading information, a rumour, unsubstantiated idea.
    Origin: Manufacturer's name embossed on cast-iron water carts used to supply front-line troops in WW1. Solders congregated to draw rations and swap rumours.

    June 15, 2009

  • Commonly accepted derivation (courtesy wikipedia):
    "…from water carts made by a company established by John Furphy: J. Furphy & Sons of Shepparton, Victoria. Many Furphy water carts were used to take water to Australian Army personnel during World War I. The carts, with "J. Furphy & Sons" written on their tanks, became popular as gathering places where soldiers could exchange gossip, rumours and fanciful tales."

    April 25, 2008

  • Very Australian, this one. Often used in reference to a rumour that is simply not true.

    eg. "A new airport? It's a complete furphy."

    November 21, 2007