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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Noun

Singular
government man

Plural
government men

government man (plural government men)

  1. A representative of the government.
  2. A supporter of the government.
  3. (Australian, obsolete, euphemism) In the days when Australia was a penal colony: a convict.
    1888: Whatever it was that had happened to him in the old times when he was a Government man he didn’t talk about.Rolf Boldrewood, Robbery Under Arms [1]

Usage notes

The term convict was considered an insult in early colonial Australia, government man was the approved euphemism (reference: Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore, 1987, paperback ISBN 1-86046-150-6, page xi.). See convict for other terms.


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