This guide helps you to find the English meaning of an Aboriginal word. Click onto the tabs across the top of this page for more detailed information.
To begin, it first may be helpful to understand the scope of your search. There were and are, hundreds of Aboriginal dialects throughout
Many Aboriginal word dictionaries are organised differently to their English counterparts. They are often arranged according to locations, such as state, and within this, according to the tribe which used the word.
Thus, knowing where a word originated from or which tribe used the word will help you to narrow down your search.
If you cannot find a word, it may be that it is not in a dictionary. Also keep in mind that some Aboriginal languages have been passed on orally, rather than written down, so pronunciation and spelling may vary. To complicate things even further, an Aboriginal word may have different meanings across different dialects (Reed, 1977).
For words that can not be found, it might be helpful to approach the source of the word. For example, if the word is used as a street name or building name, then check with the body responsible for naming it.
Answering an inquiry
State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
+61 3 8664 7000