Definition of bowyang in English:



NZ, Australian
  • A band or strap worn round the trouser leg below the knee.

    • ‘His entry into Federal politics was marked with the quip, ‘I will not be surprised if I am the first Australian appointed as Governor-General’: he said later that if he got the job he would use Bruce's spats as bowyangs.’
    • ‘Everything we have, either we go back to bowyangs and concertina leggings and then boots and things like that and moleskins and be very English, or use what has come from America.’
    • ‘The story goes that while Sam was working at McVeigh's, an artist visitor was so taken by his bushie whiskers and bowyangs that he asked him if he could take a snap.’
    • ‘Many times I have said, and I repeat it tonight, that we do badly to think of the pioneers as grandfathers, with beards and bowyangs; dead and gone, their labours completed.’
    • ‘To prevent crawlies from getting up inside the legs of their baggy trousers they tied strips of kangaroo hide called bowyangs below their knees, giggling at the silly-sounding name, but awed by the necessity.’
    • ‘I had bowyangs and a billy-can and a hat with corks on strings.’
    • ‘Its an old time band with old time instruments and the band dress in a uniform of white strides with bowyangs and a red shirt and red chequered kerchief.’


Late 19th century: from British dialect bow-yanks, bow-yankees ‘leather leggings’, of unknown origin.