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illustration Fossick



Part of speech: verb

Origin: Australia and New Zealand, mid-19th century


(informal) Rummage; search.


Search for gold in abandoned workings.

Examples of Fossick in a sentence

"Alvin went to the flea market to fossick for interesting trinkets."

"The prospectors went to great lengths to fossick for gold."

About Fossick

This term was coined in the 1850s by Australians and New Zealanders, but it may be rooted in a word known to British immigrants: “fussock,” a dialect term meaning "to bustle about" or "to fidget."

Did you Know?

“Fossick” is a term that became popular with 19th-century Aussies and Kiwis who picked over abandoned mining excavations to search for gold or gemstones. In Australia, "fossicking" is protected by a number of laws which vary from state to state. For example, in Queensland, fossickers must obtain a license, but in New South Wales, there is no such requirement. Interestingly, searching for opal has its own specific term: “noodling,” which is also a term for catfish fishing in the southern United States.

illustration Fossick

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