Moll // is a slang term with two different meanings in two places:
- In the United States, an archaic term for a gangster's girlfriend. See gun moll.
- In Australia and New Zealand, usually pejorative or self-deprecating, for a woman of loose sexual morals, a bitch, slut, or prostitute. The term can also be used for a girlfriend of a surfie or bikie.
For the American sense, see gun moll. The remainder of this article describes the Australian and New Zealand sense.
Etymology and spelling
"Moll" derives from "Molly", used as a euphemism for "whore" or "prostitute". The Oxford English Dictionary lists the earliest usage in a 1604 quote by Thomas Middleton: "None of these common Molls neither, but discontented and unfortunate gentlewomen." The existence of the popular derivative spelling, mole, likely reflects the word's history as a spoken, rather than written, insult. Popular usage of this spelling can be seen in the name of The Comedy Company character, Kylie Mole. Another example can be seen in a poem by Kevin Munro: "'That Dee will have our jobs; she's a fair dinkum mole!'". The author suggests that this spelling doesn't carry the underworld connotations of the much older moll variant.
Use in popular culture
In Your Eyes is a 2014 film (dramedy/romance) about two people, a woman (Zoe Kazan plays Rebecca Porter) and a man (Michael Stahl-David plays Dylan Kershaw) who are spiritually and psychologically connected from a young age then come to realize each other as young adults delving into deep emotional and psychological issues of the heart and mind yet never having met in person. The male star refers to a female bar patron (accurately) as a "Moll".
Puberty Blues was a 1981 movie based on the autobiographical novel by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey about their experiences of being 13-year-old girls on Sydney’s southern beaches. In the novel, movie and television series, girls were referred to as molls, bush pigs, top chicks or glam mags. The term was again popularised following the 2012 television series Puberty Blues, based on the same novel.
"Game on, moles!" became a popular catchcry in 2006, after scheming contestant Anna used it on Australian reality television show Big Brother. It spawned a range of novelty products such as T-shirts. The phrase has since been quoted in many Australian reality television programs. "Game on, moll!" was said by Jordan Loukas, a contestant on Australia's Next Top Model in 2007 and subsequently became an advertising slogan for the show. The catchcry was again used in an advertising promotion for reality series My Kitchen Rules in 2012 and then being displayed during the show being broadcast in 2013 when used by contestant Jake Harrison. Emma Dean, the eventual winner of the 2013 season of Masterchef Australia, used it self-referentially to describe the way contestants treated each other - "It's just... game on, moles" - and this quote featured prominently in promotion leading up to the series.
The slang term has also lent itself to wordplay with homophonous terms, such as by character Kath from Kath & Kim: "Kim loves to make a mountain out of a molehill. And in this case there are two moles, Kylie and Danii Bolton. I know the pair of them. Pieces of works, both of them." Kel, another character on the show, says the following to supporting character, Sandy Freckle during an argument: "You're not a freckle, you're a mole!"
- “moll, n.” The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. OED Online. Oxford University Press. 8 April 2013 <http://dictionary.oed.com/>.
- Munro, Kevin. "Netted Rainbows: A Collection of Poetry", Eloquent Books, 2009.
- In Your Eyes (2014) at IMDB
- Puberty Blues (1981) clip 2 on ASO - Australia's audio and visual heritage online
- Home - ZOO Weekly
- BB06 Anna Game on Moles - YouTube
- Alice in wonderland - TV & Radio - Entertainment - smh.com.au
- Channel Seven - My Kitchen Rules 2013: Sneak Peek (QLD) - YouTube
- Masterchef Australia: Series 5 First Look #1 - YouTube
- Molls, scrags and bitch fights - The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
- Kath & Kim. Season 1, Episode 3. "Sport".
- Kath & Kim. Season 2, Episode 7. "The Shower".