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OK, so whaddatheymean when someone says
"Don't come the raw prawn with me, mate"?

Well, basically it means something like this:

  • Don't try and put one over on me, mate! or
  • Don't take me for a fool, mate or
  • Don't bullshit me, mate! or
  • Don't take the piss, mate or
  • Whaddalottacrap!

Some sources say it is a WWII Australian Army expression. As to why it arose: one suggestion is that the reason lies in cooked prawn being more palatable than raw prawn. However, anyone from a fishing background who has handled raw prawn flesh, will know that it is limp, wet and slippery; like the sort of people at whom this phrase is directed.

Ballina's Big Prawn
The Big Prawn at Ballina, NSW - Looks 'cooked' to me!

While a raw prawn might be difficult to swallow, prawns have always been a part of our national cuisine – beer and prawn nights being a classic example. Paul Hogan let us down when promoting our famous culture by telling Americans he would put another “shrimp” on the barbie for them when they came over to visit. The thing is, he had to say that because Americans don’t eat prawns, only shrimp, and at the time it was thought that they didn’t understand what a prawn was. But we all know what Hoges really wanted to say was: “G’day mate. Put another prawn on the barbie for me, will ya?” Aussies say prawn. Americans say shrimp.

Paul Hogan with a Raw Prawn
Paul Hogan with a Raw Prawn

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