"Humpy" is the name given to the traditional Australian Aboriginal hut. A humpy is a well-made construction of bark and the boughs of a tree. The traditional humpy is large enough to hold sleeping family members at night and in wet weather but would be very cosy should the family wish to stay inside for long periods of time (ie, they would be cramped).

Today the word humpy has been reappropriated by the majority of white Australians to mean a poorly constructed tin/iron shanty owned by a homeless/poor person. The word has subsequently gained a negative association as it is linked to low socio-economic areas (eg, the old derro lives in his humpy near the old shanty town).

The traditional humpy is also known as the gunyah (or gunya), mia-mia (or mai-mai), or hurley (or wurley).

Also, the more informal term for pink salmon (a species of Pacific salmon). Humpies are relatively easy to distinguish from the other varieties of Pacific salmon: they are smallest species, tend to have very fine scales, and are far and away the slimiest as well. Despite their small size, humpies are also the rowdiest and most feisty of the Pacific salmon. Humpies are also very distinctive in that as they grow ready to spawn, they tend to aquire a large hump on their back (hence the name "humpy", which is actually a vulgarisation of the formal "humpback salmon"). These humps can be pretty impressive, sometimes making the fish appear rounded like a halibut.

Humpies have yet another distinction: they are the cheapest and "lowest-grade" of the salmon. There is no commercial market for fresh humpy as far as I know - virtually all commercially-caught humpy ends up as canned salmon (fresh humpies do, however, make for excellent sandwitch spread). The result of this, commercial fishing-wise, is that the massproduction-oriented salmon fisheries (e.g., gillnetting) will often target the humpy; whereas in fresh-fish producing fisheries (those that produce fewer, but are more quality-oriented; namely trolling and dipnetting) they are regarded as a nusciance and will often be thrown back into the waters from whence they came; or, if they are caught by brutal fishermen - cursed at and mutilated.

Hump"y (?), a.

Full of humps or bunches; covered with protuberances; humped.

 

© Webster 1913.

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