One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A person of reckless courage.
- ‘At Glenferrie Oval, a record crowd of 36,000 shoehorned into the ground known as the Sardine Can to see Ron Barassi, a Ned Kelly figure after leaving Melbourne over summer, make his debut as Carlton's captain-coach.’
- ‘I'm not a Ned Kelly and probably no-one you know is that sort of character.’
2A person who shows a lack of scruples in business.
as game as Ned Kelly
informal Audaciously bold.
- ‘From hip to shoulder he was covered with blood from the spur, an’ although he could scarcely raise a trot you could see he was still as game as Ned Kelly.’
- ‘We know that by the time of the first world war, there was a saying among the Diggers in the trenches, ‘Oh he was as game as Ned Kelly’.’
- ‘But today his name is used everywhere by Australians of all kinds, who praise a man's courage by saying: ‘He's as game as Ned Kelly.’’
- ‘‘Good on you Ned’ is a compliment, ‘as game as Ned Kelly’ an old saying.’
Late 19th century: from the name of Ned Kelly (see Kelly, Ned).
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