from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adverb Out to or in remote rural country, especially in Australia or New Zealand.
  • noun The remote rural part of a country, especially of Australia or New Zealand.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Australian The remote bush country of Australia.
  • adjective prenominal same as out-of-the-way.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Australia The most remote and desolate areas of Australia; the desert and areas too arid for growing crops.
  • adjective Characteristic of the most remote and desolate areas of Australia; very remote from urban areas.
  • adverb To or towards the most remote and desolate areas of Australia.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the bush country of the interior of Australia
  • adjective inaccessible and sparsely populated


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From out + back.


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  • Australian. The back of beyond. Back of the black stump. A remote area, the "boonies."

    "Of course, you get various opinions of Outback hospitality."

    W. K. HARRIS, _Outback in Australia_ i. 2, 1913.

    February 7, 2007

  • Also embarrassing restaurant chain whose menu once prompted frindley to write to the management in disgust. What? No pavlova?!

    April 10, 2008

  • It's a shame, because I really do think of Australia, not the restaurant chain, when I hear this word. But I suspect that's unusual.

    April 10, 2008

  • I do too, but not because I've ever been to Australia. Mostly because I'd like to go to Australia. And also because I don't like the restaurant chain.

    April 10, 2008

  • Truth is most Australians abhor the outback. As a word and a myth it's fine.

    April 10, 2008

  • Well, most Americans don't like the wide-open spaces of the West, either, but it's part of the American mythology and in that sense everyone still finds it fascinating. (BTW, just watched the remake of "3:10 to Yuma" again and it's still really good. Mm mm mm. I loves me summa dat Western stuff.)

    For me, just the word "outback" conjures the smell and light of the place, the way the colors change as the sun moves. Reesetee, you really should try to go. It's an incredible place, like no other.

    April 10, 2008

  • 3:10 to Yuma ... I didn't get it. Countless people are willing to die in violent ways so a baddie can get put on a train to go to court. And the baddie, who's an Australian pretending to be an American and must have been cast for his outstanding Outbackness, appears to only pretend to escape, so woulda got on train anyway. Bandit's honour, you know. If I can think of a sillier plot premise I'll be on the next plane to Hollywood. Didn't even have that showdown-with-eternity stare of a decent existentialist pic.

    Geez, I just remembered I'm moving house today so Hollywood's out.

    April 10, 2008

  • I'll second bilby: the Australian outback is amazing to contemplate. But I'll be more distressed if I don't make it to Tallinn before I die.

    April 10, 2008

  • All aboard for Tallinn.

    April 10, 2008

  • You're missing the character arcs, which are the core of that particular plot. Most audiences today tend to discount character-centered drama (at least in movies, though probably not theatre).

    April 10, 2008

  • If you guys just gave away the plot, I'll...well, I'll think of some type of revenge. ;-)

    I agree with chained_bear on the wide-open spaces idea, at least for those of us who've grown up on the increasingly crowded east coast of America. I've been out west and it's beautiful, but I was ready to come home when it came time. I suppose it depends in part on your background and experience whether you like that sort of environment as a place to be rather than visit.

    That said, I still want to see Australia, outback or no. :-)

    April 10, 2008

  • Me, I love the wide open spaces (all too often, from the comfort of a city). But I grew up in the Pacific northwest, where I'm always relieved to return after a sojourn in the east.

    April 10, 2008

  • I remember reading years ago about the wind on the American prairie, and how it drove some people crazy--literally crazy--when they moved there to "settle the frontier" in the nineteenth century. The wind just never stops. At the time, I thought that was a very strange thing--never having spent time on the prairie--but now that I'm older, when we have windy weather here on the non-prairie east coast for just a day or two, the constant blowing does get under my skin. I always think of those pioneer women out there, working their tails off alone in the house (or with children to care for), trying not to go insane from hearing the constant wind.

    I can definitely see how open spaces can get to you over time, if you didn't grow up in them or don't like them.

    April 10, 2008

  • I'm not a fan of the endless prairie - give my drippy coastal rainforest or the smell of a hot Ponderosa pine any day.

    Didja know that homsteaders proving land claims on the plains planted trees to break the wind, but in the northwest you usually had to clear trees?

    April 10, 2008

  • See, I would want the impossible: the wide open spaces and harsh beauty of the outback, but within cooee of an excellent concert hall, a fine orchestra, several theatre companies and at least two dance companies, with an art museum, a natural history museum, a university with lots of nice neo-Gothic sandstone, a glittering harbour and a really impressive stationery store. I could give the opera company a miss, I guess.

    April 10, 2008

  • Yes. Now where is that place?

    April 11, 2008

  • It simply doesn't exist, not even in the Antipodes. Sydney has the prettiest concert hall but Perth's sounds the best; Melbourne and Sydney's orchestras rival each other, as do their universities and their theatre companies; Sydney's harbour wins hands down, while Hobart has one of the best stationery shops, as well as (I nearly forgot) a royal tennis court!!!!

    April 11, 2008