Definition of birthstain in English:



NZ, Australian
  • A perceived stigma attached to convict ancestry.

    ‘a more confident Australian nationalism converted the birthstain into a hallmark’
    • ‘I took a voyage of discovery through convict society in search of the birthstain.’
    • ‘The poem is a riposte to his backhanded compliment to Australians, "Your birthstain you have turned to good."’
    • ‘It is customary in Australia to dismiss the whole subject with a deprecatory reference to a birthstain.’
    • ‘I wish I had a birthstain!’
    • ‘He was sadly shocked on arriving at Adelaide to find that his quotation about the birthstain was not to the palate of the people of New South Wales.’
    • ‘It reveals the involvement of British politicians and clergy in creating a birthstain that reached far beyond convict crimes.’
    • ‘He was unpopular in the colony due to a series of gaffes and misunderstandings, most notably over his reference to the birthstain of Australia's convict origins.’
    • ‘Having absorbed the widespread idea that the birthstain was a self-inflicted wound, I had my own assumptions about the outcome of this research.’
    • ‘Any search for a reason why Australian society saw its history as a birthstain must include an examination of the convict crimes.’
    • ‘I sought to understand why fear of a birthstain impacted at a family and a public level.’


Late 19th century: from birth + stain.