Flog is a word that is practically commonplace in Australian vernacular, and evidence does indeed suggest the word was invented on Australian shores. However, wordsmiths can’t be 100% sure, since the word ‘flog’ also has historical meaning in English.
In fact, most English-speaking countries other than Australia have all seemed to have agreed upon a standard definition. It’s just Australia that has run amok with it and turned it into more of a slang term.
So, what is a flog in Australia? And what is a flog in English? Read on to find out.
‘Flog’ in Australia
One of the earliest appearances of the word flog in Australia happened in 2006 on Urban Dictionary. One user lists several definitions for the word, with one them being “a poser, someone who likes to big-note themselves.” Big-note, by the way, means to brag or boast about yourself.
But flog can have other definitions in Australia. Rather than using it to call someone a poser, it can also be used in a derogatory way. BuzzFeed reported in 2015 how the word flog was aimed at Sydney Swans AFL player Adam Goodes for his on-field performances.
In the article, it’s claimed ‘flog’ can be another term for wanker, and is/was used as a more acceptable way of saying so. But ABC writer Adam Collins was quoted as saying, “In its current application it basically means someone is deemed to be a shit bloke.”
But wait, flog can also have other applications in Australian culture. This 2017 Facebook post from the group Aussie English says flog, when used as a verb, means to drive recklessly. For example, “he loves flogging his new car.”
‘Flog’ in the UK
Take a trip over to the United Kingdom and utter the word flog to someone, and they’re going to have a different interpretation of what you’re talking about.
Most of the definitions in British English (again, there is more than one) see flog used as a verb. The most common definition says to flog someone means to beat them harshly with a whip or a stick, particularly as a punishment.
Other popular uses for the word flog see it used when selling something, particularly when whatever is being sold is sold for cheap. This definition also appeared on Urban Dictionary, “I flogged my piece of shit car to some uni student.”
This definition is perfectly used in the British TV show, Flog It, which sees members of the public bringing in any antiques they own, to be valued by experts and then being given the option to sell it to them, or to ‘flog’ it to them.