A reader of the Ozwords website tells me he has been reading H V Evatt’s book The Rum Rebellion and has run across two attention grabbing words: Plousiocracy and malversation.
He asks for an explanation.
Well, the first thing these words point us to is the vast learning of old “Doc” Evatt.
Beyond that, I can tell you that plousiocracy means “rule by the wealthy, the rich.”
It comes from plousios – the Greek word for rich.
In other words, it’s an exact synonym for plutocracy, from the same source.
Malversation means “corrupt administration”.
It’s constructed from the obsolete verb “malverse” meaning “to act corruptly in a position of trust”.
Thackeray, in his novel Henry Esmond, could speak of a character who was turned out of the House of Commons for “malversation of public money”.
By the way, Geoffrey Dutton included Doc Evatt’s Rum Rebellion in his “Australian Collection” list of Australia’s greatest books – so don’t be put off by the occasional $25 word.
To which I should add that I read the book about a year ago—and loved it, so it comes with my personal recommendation.
Last night I talked about the Australian language with Chris Smith on Sky News. You'l find the podcast here: Chris Smith Tonight Podcast | Sky News Australia | Sky News Australia (My conversation with Chris is the last ten minutes of the show.)
Tonight I be talking language with John Stanley on 2GB. 4BC, 2CC and the Nine Radio Network -- right after the nine o'clock news (eight o'clock in Queensland). We'll respond to your questions or comments on the open line (131-873) or the text line (0460-873-873).
For Sydney readers I'll be presenting the news bulletins this afternoon on Hope 103.2FM.
In the current issue of The Spectator Australia my language column looks at an expression that should get an award as the "Oxymoron of the Year."
* If you're looking for my most recent book "Flash Jim" you'll find it here -- Flash Jim, The astonishing story of the convict fraudster who wrote Australia's first dictionary by Kel Richards | 9781460759769 | Booktopia
* You can find all my books currently in print here -- Booktopia Search Results for 'kel richards'. We sell books, hardback, paperback, audio, CDs.
* And also here -- Results for kel richards | Book Depository
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* Many of my out of print books can be found at ABE Books -- Kel Richards - AbeBooks