A wigwam for a goose's bridle
A wigwam for a goose's bridle is a phrase, once popular in Australia, meaning "none of your business". A common usage is in response to an inquiry such as Q. "What are you making?", A. "A wigwam for a goose's bridle". The rejoinder was a code for "Mind your own business" and children acquired this pragmatic knowledge after repeated discourse with their parents ended with this response. It was a common family saying.
Originally, the phrase was "a whim-wham for a goose’s bridle", with "whim-wham" a word meaning "a fanciful or fantastic object". The phrase was deliberately absurd as a goose would never wear a bridle. Folk etymology converted the word "whim-wham"—a word that was no longer much used—to "wigwam", an Ojibwa word for a domed single-room dwelling used by Native Americans. This change retained the phrase's absurd meaning and sense.
The phrase is believed to be less popular than it once was.
Other variations of this phrase are:
- "Whim wham for ducks to sit on." (Stated by a woman of English heritage, first of six born (1907) in the US, in Rocks Springs, Wyoming)
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- Walsh, Robert; Eliakim Littell, John Jay Smith (2005 (digitised)) . "Scene in Calcutta". Museum of Foreign Literature, Science and Art. Philadelphia: E Little. p. page 590. First published in The New Monthly Magazine
- Ludowyk, Frederick. "All my eye and Betty Martin! The folk etymology of some popular idioms". OzWords (Australian National University : Australian National Dictionary Centre) (October 1996). Retrieved 2008-06-13.
- Chesterton, Ray (9 October 2006). "Aussie lingo facing extinction". News Ltd. Retrieved 2008-06-13.[dead link]