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From mull +‎ -ock.


mullock (usually uncountable, plural mullocks)

  1. (now Britain dialect) Rubbish, waste matter.
  2. (Australia, New Zealand, mining) Waste rock from which the wanted gold, minerals, opal, etc., has been extracted; waste material generated while searching for minerals or while mining, such as when sinking a shaft.
    • 1875, New Zealand House of Representatives, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives of New Zealand, Volume 2, page 30,
      The gold, both in the quartz and mullock, is very fine, and, owing to the soft and ferruginous nature of the stuff, specks can but very rarely be seen during working.
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, Capricornia, Chapter X, p. 167, [1]
      He stopped and took up a handful of mullock. The stones clattered on the coffin; the mud remained in his hand.
    • 1996, Janette Turner Hospital, Oyster, Virago Press, paperback edition, page 4:
      On certain days, when hot currents shimmered off Oyster's Reef, we would detect the chalk-dust of the mullock heaps, acrid; or, from the opal mines themselves, the ghastly fug of the tunnels and shafts.
    • 2003, ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Public to Have a Say on Waste Dumping, Oct. 15, 2003:
      The company is considering a site at Mandurang Valley and two others near its mine in Kangaroo Flat, south-west of Bendigo, for a mullock heap that could reach 21 metres over 25 years.
  3. Nonsense, rubbish.
  4. (Britain, Yorkshire, dialect) A mess; the result of a blunder.
    • 1911, John Hartley, Yorkshire Lyrics: Poems written in the dialect as spoken in the west riding of Yorkshire, page 242,
      For when they saw awr Mary, / They made a mullock on it, / For they thowt 'at all them flaars / Had been put on Mary's bonnet.
    • 1924, Willie Riley, The Garden of Delight, page 122,
      This attitude she never varied; but the face that was ordinarily so expressionless worked at times with strange emotions as she unfolded her story, and once or twice her voice needed clearing.
      "I made a mullock of it, you see," she explained.

Related termsEdit


  • Oxford English Dictionary