Please don’t rouse at me

I discovered a fun Australian slangy word last night, thanks to a woman I follow on Twitter, @obsidiantears83. She was talking about wanting to rouse someone for not doing something he was supposed to do. But this isn’t rouse in the sense of waking someone up. She explained a bit in a few tweets:

  • Rouse means “get angry/frustrated and yell at.”
  • “Rouse” the slang is pronounced with a short sharp OU and the S is pronounced Z (E is silent). Kind of means “to yell crankily”
  • But it isn’t always yell, but the feeling behind yelling. It is one of those words that is hard to translate.

The OED defines rouse in this sense as an intransitive verb that is an Australian and New Zealand colloquialism, meaning “to scold.” It is frequently constructed with at, on, or onto, taking on the meaning “to upbraid.”

The etymology says to compare it with the verb roust, which the OED defines as “to shout, bellow, roar, make a loud noise.” Roust’s etymology says to compare with the “Norwegian rausta, rousta, in the same sense,” and then points back to the noun roust, defined as “Voice, cry; shout, roar.” That comes from the Old Norse raust, meaning voice. (Norwegian raust, Faroese reyst, Swedish röst, Danish røst).

It turns out that rouse in the sense of waking someone up also has an interesting etymology. More on that Friday.