Help Wordnik hunt for a million missing words by backing our Kickstarter!


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)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 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