Definition of wild colonial boy in English:

wild colonial boy


NZ, Australian
  • 1An outlaw who lived in the bush.

    ‘Ned Kelly, the original wild colonial boy, has served to reinforce the myth of the bush in Australia's national identity’
    • ‘If you know the country, he said, then you will be a wild colonial boy forever.’
    • ‘In the latter part of the novel, the focus shifts to his being a “wild colonial boy”, an Australian of the wilderness, owned by nobody.’
    • ‘The wild colonial boy soon slipped off into the night.’
    • ‘For the rest of that Australian bush town he was just another wild colonial boy who was always worth blaming for something.’
    • ‘The bushranger was better known as "the Wild Colonial Boy".’
    1. 1.1informal A boisterous man with no regard for convention or authority.
      ‘our boys were no angels, but there were plenty of wild colonial boys down there’
      • ‘The Australian cricket establishment is as reactionary as they come, and the wild colonial boy from Melbourne knew he didn't have much rope to play with.’
      • ‘Come the toss-up for the first Test, those wild colonial boys will be singing from the same hymn-sheet.’
      • ‘Who is going to wind up those wild colonial boys into a state of froth-mouthed frenzy?’
      • ‘The wild colonial boy of Australian medicine with the gruff voice and tender touch was probably the first doctor to give life to the "aid abroad" crusades.’
      • ‘In the early years he had a reputation as something of a "wild colonial boy".’


Mid 19th century: from the Australian and Irish ballad ‘The Wild Colonial Boy’.