Green’s Dictionary of Slang

kangaroo n.1

1. (US) an Australian; an Australian soldier; an Aborigine.

[Aus]Sydney Gaz. 30 Oct. 4/1: But, props, she may be like Miss Flirt, and wouldn’t admire such a lover as Bill Kangaroo.
[UK]C. Lamb Elia Ser.1 (1835) 245: The kangaroos – your Aborigines – do they keep their primitive simplicity un-European-tainted.
[UK]Pall Mall Gazette 12 Apr. 5/2: The ‘kangaroos’ as our colonial friends are sometimes dubbed.
Globe 9 July 1/4: Thomas Atkins [...] has nicknamed the Colonial troops the ‘Kangaroos’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 May 12/3: [H]e presented himself again as a swarthy, swearful swaggie. This time he not only passed flying, but heard himself chuckled over by the experts as ‘a tough case, good for wear,’ ‘a rough diamond,’ and ‘a real old fighting kangaroo.’.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 17 Sept. 1/4: The bribe of a monkey-man’s shivoo / Has lured them as a crimp, / And changed the hop of the kangaroo / To a meek, obedient limp.
[Aus]C.E.W. Bean Anzac Book 31/1: [I]n the general murmur of voices one noted the broad tones of the British Tommy and the harsher ones of Tommy Kangaroo, the latter less careful of his grammar than the other.
[US](con. 1899) H.P. Bailey Shanghaied Out of Frisco 165: Accompanied by most of the sailor ‘Kangaroos’.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 1 May 6: You called the Kangaroo / Uncouth and inartistic.
J. Buchan Castle Gay (1932) 17: The white uniforms of the Kangaroos were now plentifully soiled.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 235/1: kangaroo – sometimes used to mean an Australian.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Outcasts of Foolgarah (1975) 122: [He] organized a kangaroo aristocracy based on wealth instead of social background.

2. a thin, slope-shouldered person [the supposed resemblance to the animal].

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.

In compounds

kangaroo feathers (n.) [kangaroos do not have feathers; the susceptibility of hearers to the story (retailed in the Boer War by the Australian Bushrangers and in WW1 by Anzac infantry the Prince of Wales Light Horse) that the feathers in their bush hats were ‘kangaroo feathers’; ]

(Aus.) an impossible thing, often an unlikely story, often combined with ‘molasses mines’ or ‘goanna farms’ as the epitome of absurd impossibility.

[N.W. Advocate (Tas.) 16 Oct. 2/8: [T]he Boers say that the [...] men with kangaroo feathers are the ones they want; they are frightened of the Australians, who can beat them at their own game].
[[Aus]Cumberland Argus (Parramatta, NSW) 31 July 4/1: Our Kangaroo Feather Wearers. Best Shots in the World [...] A Tommy told me that it was easy to tell the Queenslanders by the Kangaroo feathers in their hats].
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 1 June 1/7: The bookmakers who could lay more than two horses in a suburban Hurdle Race could sell shares in a molasses mine or a kangaroo feather company.
[Aus]W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 30: kangaroo feathers — (1) A tall tale; (2) an impossible thing.
[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 26 oct. 6/6: [T]alking a few hurried glances to see if she could spot any goanna farms or kangaroo feather factories.
[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. of Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: kangaroo feathers. A tall feather, an impossible thing.
kangaroo hop (n.)

(Aus.) a short-lived feminine affectation in which the hands were held palm-down at the breast, a pose reminiscent of the kangaroo.

[Aus]Punch (Melbourne) 8 Oct. 8/2: Look at the Pholly girls, victims of kangaroo hops, Roman falls, Grecian bends, and all the other atrocities of fashion.
[US]Spectator (Melbourne) 22 May 27/2: The young lady that affects water-falls, the Grecian-bend, or the kangaroo-hop.
Kangarooland (n.)

(Aus.) Australia, thus Kangaroolander, Australian.

S. Porter Alfred Dudley, or the Aus. Settlers 36: For know ye [...] the wonderful delights of going to make a home for themselves in kangaroo land.
Tait’s Edinburgh Mag. Dec. 380: The publishing energies are developing rapidly in Kangaroo-land.
[UK]Birmingham Jrnl 5 Mar. 8/1: [M]etalliferous miracles began to be wrought in Kangaroo-land.
[Ire]Waterford Mail 3 Sept. 4/2: Kangaroo-Land — Small Tormentors. The sufferings of ‘new hands,’ from this class of tormentors [...] are soon mitigated by habit, and in little while they learn to tolerate [...] their ‘inevitable presence’.
[UK]Graphic (London) 3 June 3/3: In their first innings the Twickenhamites scored 271 [...] against the Kangaroolanders’ meagre 75.
[UK]Nuneaton Advertiser 24 July 8/2: Had there been time to finish the match between the Australians and Liverpool and District Saturday, the team hailing from Kangarooland would most likely have had another defeat notched against them.
[Aus]Referee (Sydney) 25 Mar. 6/6: It looked as if Jack [Dempsey] was trying to squeeze the kangaroolander’s neck, and thn referee ordered them to break away.
Boot and Shoe Recorder 26 35/2: ‘Kangarooland’ (Sydney).
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 June 24/2: Monday’s Vancouver mail brought bad news for Australian followers of pugilism. Champion middle-weight of Kangarooland, Tim Murphy [...] succumbed to Californian Neill (a comer of first quality).
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 20 Feb. 2nd sect. 17/7: They imagine waddy-whirling and gohanna-assassination to be the main sport of kangaroo-land.
[Aus]R.H. Knyvett ‘Over There’ with the Australians 195: We ‘bushies’ and ‘outbackers’ from the Land of the Kangaroo.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 235/1: kangarooland Australia.
[US](con. WWII) J.O. Killens And Then We Heard The Thunder (1964) 378: ‘Prettiest girl in Kangaroo-land,’ he mumbled.
M. Winckler Case of Dr. Sachs [trans.] 107: I met him when I was spending my year in Kangarooland.
kangaroo piss (n.)

(Aus.) any beer (or wine) reckoned as poor quality; spec. Foster’s Lager.

Google Groups: alt.peeves 19 June [Internet] Fosters. Kangaroo piss.
Google Groups: rec.windsurfing 22 Oct. [Internet] Speaking of piss, isn’t that what you Ozzies call beer. Man, some of that stuff you guys are trying to pawn off on us Yanks or Wanks is pure kangaroo piss!!
Urban Dict. 9 Dec. [Internet] kangaroo piss n. inexpensive, poor-quality Australian white wine. Have you tried Yellow Tail chardonnay? / Blehh, I can’t drink that kangaroo piss!
Deviant Art 23 July [Internet] Hah, no one in Australia drinks Foster’s. It’s actually kangaroo piss that we export to the rest of the world .
BritishExpats.com 23 July [Internet] So, if you ever happen to be going for a swift half with an Aussie buddy, and he asks you at the bar ‘What can I get’cha Pommie?’, quick as a flash reply with ‘Anything but a pint of that kangaroo piss Foster’s, please.’ That’ll grab his attention.
kangaroo straight (n.) [suggested by the gaps or ‘jumps’]

(US) a poker hand which resembles a straight but has a card or cards missing, thus a worthless hand.

[US]Abbott and Costello Show [WPIX-TV] That’s a kangaroo straight [HDAS].
[US]R. De Christoforo Grease 34: He’d fold like he was holding a kangaroo straight in a poker game.
S. Altes ‘When I Was Spy For a Day’ Tech 14 Apr. [Internet] Without any prodding from me the Soviet empire folded faster than a guy holding a kangaroo straight in a game of seven-card stud.
M. Bollman Basic Gambling Mathematics 103: A double inside straight flush such as 4♢6♢8♢ is sometimes called a kangaroo straight.
Kangaroo Valley (n.)

1. Earls Court, London, base for many expatriate Australians.

[UK]Tatler 14 Sept. 31: Symptomatic of the expansion of the Australian community in London is the thriving Down Under club in Earls Court (now said to be known as Kangaroo Valley).
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 14: Better get back to Kangaroo Valley via the Norf Circular.
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 12 Oct. 35: I was fresh out of Kangaroo Valley.
M. Hughes et al. London 353: Earl’s Court has been a haven for travellers from Australia since the 1940s, earning itself the nickname ‘Kangaroo Valley’.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

T.W. Shapcott Limestone and Lemon Wine 177: I had a sister who came back from London with Kangaroo Valley gossip.

In phrases

have kangaroos in one’s/the (top) paddock (v.) (also have possums...) [SE top paddock, used fig. for the head]

(Aus./N.Z.) to be eccentric, to be mentally unstable.

[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 89: To have kangaroos in one’s top paddock and to have the white ants, to be silly or mad.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 235/1: kangaroos in your paddock – to be ‘batty’ or silly.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 59: Strewth, what’s wrong with His nut? [...] Kangaroos in the top paddock, by the seem of it.
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 31: Kangaroos in the top paddock: One of many phrases indicating that someone is stark, raving mad. However, the person is a harmless madman.
[Aus]Bulletin issues 5626-33 92/2: ‘Whacky’, which has to do with the number of kangaroos loose in the top paddock.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 128: A person may also be described as having [...] kangaroos in the top paddock.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 99: have possums in the top paddock Mentally deranged.
a kangaroo short in the top paddock (also short of a few kangaroos in the top paddock)

(Aus.) a phr. describing a fool.

[Aus]Syndey Morn. Herald 7 June 35/5: Even a soap-dodger who’s a kangaroo short of a full paddock can understand.
[Aus]Jennifer ‘Australian Sl. Phrases’ Jennifer’s Jibberish [Internet] A kangaroo short in the top paddock .... not very bright, simple.