- Rummage; search.
- Search for gold in abandoned workings.
“Alvin went to the church sale to fossick for interesting trinkets.”
“The prospectors went to great lengths to fossick for gold.”
“I love to spend my weekend fossicking through thrift stores for good finds.”
Australian English, mid-19th century
Why this word?
“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 that 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.
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