Green’s Dictionary of Slang

wog n.1

[ety. unknown; it appears to have been used in East End of London from c. 1910; suggestions include that of F.C. Bowen in Sea Slang (1929), who includes ‘Wogs, lower class Babu shipping clerks on the Indian coast’, but provides no further detail. Popular belief has always chosen the acronym westernized oriental gentleman or wily oriental gentleman, while the OED (2016) and Partridge (1937) opt for abbr. SE golliwog, and certainly this once-popular doll, with its caricatured ‘black’ features and ‘nigger minstrel’ clothing, has long since been marginalized as politically incorrect]

1. (also woggo, woggy) a derog. term for any non-white, esp. an Indian or Pakistani and latterly, in the UK, Bangladeshi; thus feminized as woggess.

[[Aus]Coburg Leader (Vic.) 8 June 1/5: Every Saturday Cookie Filer blots out his little dog ‘woggey’].
L. James Hist. King Edward's Horse 188: The King Edward's Horse called the Indian Cavalry ‘The Wogs’—which is the diminutive of ‘Golliwogs’,—a description that was very apt of these dark apparitions in khaki and tin-hats.
[UK]F.C. Bowen Sea Sl. 153: Wogs, lower class Babu shipping clerks on the Indian coast.
[UK]J. Cary Mister Johnson (1952) 92: She calls him privately, ‘Mr. Wog.’ [Ibid.] 125: What I like about you, Wog, is you aren’t afraid of me. [Ibid.] 127: Where’s that bitch, Matumbi? Hi, Johnson, where’s that nigger Wog?
[UK]G. Kersh They Die with Their Boots Clean 1: [of Arabs] A man gets knifed. A throat gets slit. A bomb goes off. The Wogs are out for blood!
[NZ]D. Davin For the Rest of Our Lives 160: ‘Please, sister, I’m not a wog [...] I’m an Egyptian, sister.’ ‘But all Egyptians are wogs, Mohammed. So you must be.’.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 12 Dec. 9/5: That unspeakable Texan oil man, who having given up one belly-dancer from a Cairo sink, plans to lavish another Woggess on the lascivious crowd of his particular set.
[UK]A. Burgess Time for a Tiger 60: [of a Malaysian] ‘These Wogs are hot-blooded’ .
[UK]J. Braine Room at the Top (1959) 192: I’ve killed forty Japs at least, not to mention that Wog I ran over in Calcutta.
[UK]A. Burgess Right to an Answer (1978) 120: I wouldn’t drink with a Wog [...] not if it was the best champagne.
[Aus](con. 1944) L. Glassop Rats in New Guinea 141: The replies were just as long and even more emphatic than those of the Cairo Wogs.
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 34: [of a Pakistani] You mean you got hitched to a wog?
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 30 Sept. 32: You don’t mind if we call you a black bastard or a wog or a nigger or anything because it’s entirely a joke.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 21: ‘Ooh, is easy to make you look Egeeto. You have Egyptian face, Egyptian eyes ...’ ‘Hell and blazes!’ [...] ‘Him – a Wog! A Worthy Oriental Gentleman! The thought affronted him.’.
[UK]S. Berkoff Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 29: You can’t give in to the kaffir / to the wog.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 37: What with Beverly Hills overrun by Arabs, Iranians, Texans, and other wogs with megabucks.
[UK]A. Hollinghurst Swimming-Pool Library (1998) 171: [of Pakistanis] ‘NF’ had been scrawled, with a pendant saying ‘Kill All Niggers’ or ‘Wogs Out.’.
[UK]D. Widgery Some Lives! 4: Yesterday a health visitor at work was greeted by a four-year-old with the words ‘Fuckin’ wog.’.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett White Shoes 5: Being a half-baked wog didn’t worry Les. Or a pommy either.
[UK]V. Headley Yardie 108: [of a W.I. male] All you wogs are the same.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 11 Sept. 11: A scrawny white family [...] used to stand at the top of the road and shout ‘Woggy, woggy’ at us.
[UK]Guardian G2 21 Feb. 6: I knew that to do so would offer me some protection from being called a wog.
[US]T. Udo Vatican Bloodbath 44: He would be OK as long as none of the woggoes tried to speak to him.
[UK](con. 1910s) M. McGrath Silvertown 5: Fer gawd’s sake git some powder on yer face, you’re as black as a woggie-wog, her mother, Sarah, would say.
[Scot]I. Rankin Fleshmarket Close (2005) 61: Wogs Out . . . Pakis Are Shit.

2. (Aus. juv.) a very young child.

[Aus]Queenslander (Brisbane) 18 Apr. 42/2: You know how tiresome littles ones, can be sometimes. Really some of them won’t do up their own shoes if they can get any one to do it for them. [...] But when I heard about the Brownies, I determined to get the little boarder-wogs interested.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.

3. any foreigner; esp. in the phr. the wogs begin at Calais; also attrib.

G. Wigg in James Rise and Fall of the British Empire (1994) 560: The Honourable Gentleman and his friends think they are all ‘wogs.’ Indeed, the Right Honourable Member for Woodford [i.e. Winston Churchill] thinks that the ‘wogs’ begin at Calais.
[UK]J.P. Carstairs Concrete Kimono 90: Very exclusive. No wogs, no Indians, nothin’ like that.
[Aus]I. Moffitt U-Jack Society 106: The race broadcasts whine with lunatic intensity down the dusty streets of the United Wog Republic.
[Aus]P. Corris ‘Luck of Clem Carter’ in Heroin Annie [e-book] Have you got the letter for that wog [i.e. middle european] yet?
H. Caen in S.F. Chronicle 26 July 🌐 Lord Redesdale seems to have been a particularly unpleasant fellow in the ‘Wogs begin at Calais’ tradition.
[Aus]P. Temple Bad Debts (2012) [ebook] Silly buggers who didn’t like Jews or Ities or other kinds of wogs.
[Aus]B. Matthews Intractable [ebook] [of a Lithuanian/Jewish immigrant] [B]ecause he could not speak English, [he] was considered stupid [...] and tormented by the other kids who called him ‘a dumb wog’ or a ‘greasy dago’.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 662: Foreigners are foreign. Wogs begin at Calais. Some even begin the other side of the Severn.

4. (N.Z.) a Maori.

[UK]F. Keinzly Tangahano 174: Sell them to the Wogs.

5. a black person.

[UK]D. Bee Children of Yesterday 29: ‘Pah! Wogs!’ O’Brien said.
[UK]P. Terson Apprentices (1970) II i: There was stacks of wogs at St. Ives.
[Aus]K. Gilbert Living Black 225: ‘Who said it anyway?’ [...] ‘Oh some wog.’.
[UK]N. Farki Countryman Karl Black 78: In Britain Mr Mayer would be called a ‘golly-W.O.G.’, Western Orientated Gentleman.
[SA]P. Hotz Muzukuru 60: We were having trouble getting information out of the wogs.
[UK](con. 1979–80) A. Wheatle Brixton Rock (2004) 141: ‘Who are you calling nigger, you big white shit.’ [...] ‘You’re a cheeky wog, aren’t you?’.
[UK]R. Milward Kimberly’s Capital Punishment (2023) 145: I think he also disliked people from Ghana. ‘Wog,’ he muttered.

6. (US) as white wog, an Irishman.

[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 25: If we Irish are ‘white wogs’, these mannikins are the Gurkhas of Ireland.

7. (Aus.) a foreign language, usu. Middle Eastern or southern/eastern European.

[UK]‘Kylie Mole’ (Maryanne Fahey) My Diary 72: [S]he can’t see anythink and goes, ‘Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?’, which is wog for ‘Where are you?’, and he goes ‘Here,’ and they do it.

8. (Aus.) a Mediterranean immigrant, e.g. a Greek or Yugoslav; also attrib.

[Aus]J. Waten Bottle-O! 16: Tommy had called him a dirty wog more than once. Tommy was always picking on the foreign boys at school.
[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 182: Greek youths, understandably tired of being taunted as ‘wogs’ by counterparts of Anglo-Saxon appearance, have taken to retaliating with ‘skips’ or ‘skippies.’.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Boys from Binjiwunyawunya 290: Middle Eastern appearance. Me a wog? They’re kidding.
[US](con. 1949) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 225: ‘You hear that, Moon. All these Greeks and Italians, grunting, making noises like a bunch of animals.’ [...] ‘A buncha wogs,’ said Moon.
[Aus]Penguin Bk of More Aus. Jokes 341: We’ve lots of ethnics here so we give everyone a nickname, according to their country of origin. Since you’re from Italy, we’re going to call you Wog.
[Aus](con. 1964-65) B. Thorpe Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 100: We saw some Greek-looking guys in white suits [...] ‘Ah, the surfing wogs,’ laughed Bluey.
[Aus]P. Temple Dead Point (2008) [ebook] They don’t want a fucken wog can’t speak two words of English [...] Nobody likes Serbs, right?
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 181: We would happily put shit on every wog in town, except of course for the Italian and Greek kids we classed as our friends, because they weren’t wogs, they were our mates.
[Aus]P. Temple Truth 61: ‘Now is that Australian of Croatian descent or citizen of Croatia?’ [...] ‘It’s a family with a wog name. Like me.’ ‘What about me?’ Barry said. ‘Is an Irishman a wog?’ ‘Mick is a kind of early wog as I understand it.’.
[Aus]B. Moore ‘Aus. Sl.’ paper given at Leicester U. Slang Workshop Sept. 2012 n.p.: In the 1950s and 1960s in Australia wog came to be used to describe migrants of southern European origin, especially those from Italy or Greece. Later, the usage expanded to include migrants of Middle Eastern origin. In general, wog would not be used in Australia to describe a person from India or Pakistan .
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Old Scores [ebook] ‘Cut me and the wogs right out. The Italians will be out of business’.
[Aus]P. Papathanasiou Stoning 80: ‘Third wave [of immigrants], towelheads. Second wave, wogs. First wave, whitefellas’.

In derivatives

woggishness (n.)

the nature of immigrants.

[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. (2nd edn) 175: Derivatives [of wog] include [...] woggishness.
J. Metcalf Kicking against the Pricks 156: Or reject the woggishness of VS Naipaul.
wog-like (adj.)

characteristic of an Asian or other variety of ‘wog’.

[Aus]Hepworth & Hindle Boozing out in Melbourne Pubs 15: There was a time [...] when to drink wine as an ordinary tipple in Melbourne Town was to be branded as an alcoholic derelict, a poof, a frog or woglike alien.

In compounds

wogball (n.) [its popularity among Mediterranean immigrants]

(Aus.) soccer.

[Aus]Age (Melbourne) 14 June n.p.: The game, widely regarded as ‘wog ball’ or ‘sissy’ in the past, has suddenly captured the nation’s imagination.
[Aus]W. Vamplew [paper title] ‘Wogball’: Ethnicity and violence in Australian soccer.
T. Brabazon Laying on the Periphery 144: Because soccer in Australia has strong ethnic support, to the point where it has been termed ‘wogball’ through much of its history, the expert commentators are frequently immigrants or the sons and daughters of immigrants.
[Aus]B. Moore ‘Aus. Sl.’ paper given at Leicester U. Slang Workshop Sept. 2012 n.p.: Soccer is often called wogball .
wog-bashing (n.)

the unprovoked, racist assault on those of a different colour.

[UK]A. Higgins ‘The Bird I Fancied’ in Helsingør Station and Other Departures 193: Aggressive Mohawks out for a night of booze-up and wog-bashing in dirty Leicester Square. 12 Dec. 🌐Having these drunken yobbos roaming the streets declaring today ‘National Leb and Wog Bashing Day’ [...] really makes my blood boil.
wog chariot (n.) (also wogmobile)

(Aus.) a vehicle seen as esp. popular among immigrants.

[Aus]K. Lette Girls’ Night Out (1995) 139: Con was [sic] mohair and drove a wog chariot. The kids at teachers college called it a ‘marrickville Mercedes’ – a red ET Monaro with a sun roof and mag wheels.
[Aus]B. Moore ‘Aus. Sl.’ paper given at Leicester U. Slang Workshop Sept. 2012 n.p.: A wog chariot (or wogmobile) is the kind of car favoured by some ethnic youths, typically a large sedan car such as a Valiant extensively modified with power-enhanced features .
wogland (n.)

any country whose natives are seen to qualify as ‘wogs’, e.g. India, Pakistan .

[Aus]J. McNeill Old Familiar Juice (1973) 104: dadda: That was when we just got back from wog-land [i.e. after WW2] .
[UK]H. Mantel Beyond Black 205: I don’t want borning in bloody wogland, you hear [...] I don’t want to come back as some nig. 11 Aug. 🌐 Now fuck orf back to fuckin wogland.
wog mansion (n.)

(Aus.) a large and vulgar house.

[Aus]Australian Mar. n.p.: Remember the wog mansion? There was a time not long ago when this form of immigrant housing was ridiculed by popular culture for its excess of phallic pillars and pebble-mix driveways. Today, the wog mansion has an Anglo imitator, the outer suburban McMansion. 17 Feb. 🌐 Carbo, the only non-Anglo Aussie character [...] could have been plucked straight out of Acropolis Now with his stereotypical Greek family – cue hysterical mother and Carbo’s wog mansion house.
wog telly (n.)

(Aus.) communty television, broadcast in a variety of languages by the Special Broadcasting Service.

[Aus]Age (Melbourne) Apr. n.p.: She watches those films on wog telly with writing at the bottom.
[Aus]B. Moore ‘Aus. Sl.’ paper given at Leicester U. Slang Workshop Sept. 2012 n.p.: Wog telly is television broadcast by SBS (the Special Broadcasting Service that has programs in many community languages) .

In phrases

wog it (v.)

of a westerner, to adopt the lifestyle of a poor Asian worker; synon. with ‘go native’.

[Aus]R. Rivett Behind Bamboo 400/2: Wog it, act or live like an Asiatic coolie.