A chiefly Australian word used to indicate an obtrusively puritanical person, as in the sentence:
"(The Reverend Tim Costello) and his supporters in an Inter-Church Anti-Gambling Taskforce were initially ridiculed as wowsers and sad prohibitionists." (The Canberra Times, November 13, 1999)
The ultimate origin of the word wowser (WOW-zuhr) is unknown but it first appeared in print in 1899 in the Australian journal Truth. It gained instant popularity and spread to New Zealand, where the word is still in use, and to England during the First World War.

Efforts were made by the American H.L. Mencken to incorporate the word into the American diction. The literary magazine he edited, American Mercury, featured the word many times. Despite these efforts the expression never really caught on in America.

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