One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The stem of a corn plant.
2Australian NZ informal A person born or resident in New South Wales.‘he was keen to recruit someone other than a cornstalk in order to counter the Sydney bias’
- ‘This retrospective view seems to have been drawn from the contemporary memoirs of one of the Australian soldiers, who wrote the New Zealanders differed materially from the 'Cornstalk' (New South Wales) troops.’
- ‘There were cornstalk Smiths, Victorian Smiths, and Smiths who eat the crow; there were Maori Smiths, Tasmanian Smiths, and parched up-Smiths from Cairns.’
- ‘People from Sydney were mere cornstalks “reared in semi-tropical climates”.’
- ‘He was also keen to recruit someone other than a Cornstalk in order to counter the Sydeney bias.’
- ‘The Federation Flag was flown as commonly, particularly in NSW, in part because cornstalks thought the Blue Ensign as so close to the Victorian flag it made no difference.’
- 2.1archaic A native-born Australian, as distinct from an immigrant.‘as fast as the cornstalks grew, new settlers from Britain arrived with their cultural baggage’
- ‘He was one of the "cornstalks" of the Assembly.’
- ‘There was a Cornstalk who came to a marquee in which certain of us were sitting one rainy afternoon.’
- ‘The cornstalks represented a "long and attenuated form of growth" with poor muscular development.’
- ‘Here was Young Australia trouncing the Old Cornstalks, and the Cornstalks cannot have enjoyed the experience.’
- ‘A 'cornstalk' daughter-in-law was the last thing the Honourable Frederick wanted.’
Early 19th century: in cornstalk (sense 2) with allusion to the alleged tallness and leanness of native-born Australians.
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