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To decide upon the correct spelling of native words used by a savage tribe that has no written language is a matter of great difficulty, rendered all the more so in this case by the fact the tribe is a large one, occupying a great extent of country, with the result that natives from different localities often vary in their pronunciation of the same word. It is, for example, quite possible, depending partly on the locality of the native using the word and partly on the way in which any white man hears, or thinks he hears it, to write the name of the tribe with which this work deals as Ărŭnta, Ărănta, Ărŭnda or Ărănda. The first of these appeared to us to approximate most closely to the word as pronounced by the northern members of the tribe, and therefore we adopted it. Strehlow adopted the last, but always pronounced the d hard, as if, in English, it were spelt Arănta. It is often very difficult to distinguish between ă and ŭ in the pronunciation of native words.

What appears to us to be as close an approximation as possible to the values of the vowels, consonants and combinations of these in native words, as shown in the following table.

The acute accent is used to indicate the stressed syllable.


Equivalent in English


a in an.


a in far.


e in end

a in late


i in hit


ee in been


o in not


o in no


u in under


oo in pool


i in nine


ou in house


ei in their


er in her


oi in boil


or in order


b in bad


d in do


Equivalent in English


g in go


j in jar


k in kin


l in link


m in me


n in no


p in pin


r in rat


s in sat


t in ten


w in want


y in yes


ch in church


The closest approximation to this is ackn in acknowledge, if the a be slurred over and scarcely sounded.


The closest approximation to this is umb in umbrella, if the u be slurred and scarcely sounded.


There are two separate sounds. If the letters occur in the middle of a word they are usually sounded separately, as in mangrove ; if at the beginning of a word, they are sounded as in English. Both sounds occur in such a word as Ngurangura, evening.


qu in quaint.


sh in push.


The closest approximation to this ult in ulterior, if the u be slurred over and very slightly sounded.



Ăbmóăra. Term of relationship used between the Illpongworra and the older men in charge of them during the Engwura ; also name of a drink mde by steeping Hakea flowers in water.

Ăchílpa. Wild cat (Dasyurus sp.) ; a totem name;

Ădămŭngărínia. Name of a ceremony designed to increase the numbers of the totemic animal or plant . Used by the natives of the Ilpirra tribe.

Ãkĭa. (or Akãkia). Plum tree (Santalum sp.), a totem name.

Ăkũrláitcha. Necklace made from a child's navel string and place round its neck.

Ăkúrna (or Kúrna). Bad.

Ăláilĭnga. Name of black clouds with light margin. The term is also applied to the appearance produced by knocking out a tooth.

Ălătípa. A small bird, mate of the Honey-ant men ; a totem name.

Ălátŭnja. Name given to the head man of a local Udnirringita totemic group.

Ălchántwa. A seed ; a totem name.

Álchĕra. (1) Far past mythic time during which the ancestors of the totemic groups arose ; applied also to the totem and to everything associated with it and the totemic group in far past times. (2) A dream.

Ălchĕrĭinga. Belonging to the Alchera.

Ăldŏrla. West.

Ăldŏrla ĭlŭnga.The western country.

Ăldúra. A hole or shollow cave in a rock.

Ălkírra. Sky.

Ălkírra-kĭwúma. Name applied to the ceremony of throwing the initiate up in the air.

Ălkírna. Twilight.

Ălkna-búma. Term applied to children born with their eyes open.

Ălkna-búnga. Term applied to children born with their eyes closed.

Ălkna-ĭnníra. A large beetle ; name of a totem.

Ălknălãríníka. The men who look on while a man is killed by an avenging party. It means the onlookers.

Ălknălĭnta. Name of a painted rock face in the Emily Gap. It means “eyes painted all round” or “the decorated eyes”.

Ălknărĭnja. Special women who can be “charmed” by singing and who need not marry the man to whom they have been allotted.

Ălknéja. A small grub ; the name of a totem.

Ălknŭrĭnĭáta. Name given to the Arumburinga during the time that it stays at the grave after a native's death.

Ălkŭlla. A term meaning elder , as Mia alkulla, elder sister of a man's mother.

Ălla. Nose.

Ăllălúmba. Name applied to youth after sub-incision in the southern Arunta.

Ăllgúbběra. A very old woman.

Ăllínga. The sun.

Ăllíra. Name applied by a man to his own and his brother's children and by a woman to her brother's children.

Álpărra. Name of a roughly-made wooden trough used by the women for carrying seed and water.

Ălpírtăka. A small magpie, mate of the Honey-ant people ; a totem name.

Ălpíta. White tail tip of the rabbit-bandicoot (Peragale lagotis).

Ălthára. Term that mean “blazing up”.

Ălthéria. A name for ordinary corrobborees.

Álũa ( or úlũa) upãríllima. Name of a blood-drawing ceremony.

Ămba-kélia-írrima. Term applied to showing the Waninga to the initiate. It means “ the child sees and knows.”

Ămbăquérka lĭnja. Child beginning to walk.

Ămbă-máila. A little girl.

Ămbăquérka. A small child.

Áirpínta airpĭntína. Term meaning “round and round,” used when winding hair string round a Nurtunja.

Ămília-ékŭra. A sacred object used during the Engwura ceremony. The word is compounded of ambilia baby and ekura a bag, or pouch.

Ăméra. Spear-thrower.

Ămpérta-nŭrra. Name given to a series of corrobborees;

Ămúnga. A fly ; the nam of a totem.

Ămúnga-quĭniaquĭnia. A lizard that snaps up flies. Amunga, a fly ; quinia-quinia, snap up quickly. Some of the Nŭmbakúlla transformed themselves into this lizard.

Ănáiljălúgga. A word meaning “arose” or “came out of”.

Ănáintă-lĭlíma. Ceremony of showing the Atua-kurka to the women after initiation and of cutting off locks of his hair by his elder sisters.


Ănchínya. Grey-haired.

Angurla. Grey cloud.

Anthinna (or Emora). Opossum.

Anua. Husband or wife.

Apera okilchya. Blind man's tree, used for evil magic.

Ampara. Hard-wood pitchi.

Aperta (or perta). A stone or a rocky hill.

Aperta atnumbira. A stone that arose to mark the spot at which men suffering from erkincha died.

Apirka. Powdered charcoal.

Appungerta. Name of one of the sub-sections amongst the Arunta.

Apulla. Relationship therm applied to a father's mother or father's mother's sister.

Apunga. Name of string bag in which Churinga are carried.

Arachitta. Name of poles on each side of the Apulla ground during circumcision.

Aradja. Outside, or on the outside.

Aradjina. Straight.

Aradukka. Came out.

Arakurta. Youth between circumcision and sub-incision.

Aralka-lirima. Striking the mouth with a Churinga ; releasing a widow from the ban of silence.

Aramurillia. Women's name for bone chaplet worn by widow.

Arangaulba. Open out.

Arilta (or Arilta kuma). Ceremony or sub-incision.

Arilta-erlita-atnatinja. Term applied to the second voluntary operation of sub-incision.

Aritna churinga. Secret or sacred name given to each individual and associated with his or her Churinga.

Arragutcha. Fully-grown woman.

Arrai-inkuma. A loud noise made by vibrating the hand rapidly in front of the mouth while shouting.

Arro-iwama. Term applied to a sexually depraved man.

Arua. Rock-wallaby ; a totem name.

Arukala. Men sitting in front of others.

Arukalinia. A term meaning “born first”, “eldest”, or “ most on the outside”.

Arukmuninja. Name of a ceremony designed to increase the numbers of the totemic animal or plant. Used by Hermannsburg, Crown Point and Charlotte Waters natives.

Arumburinga. On of the two spirits originating from the splitting of the original Alchera Kuruna. It is everlasting, and is the double of the Kuruna that undergoes reincarnation.

Arunga. Euro (Macropus robustus); a totem name.

Arunga. Paternal grandfather.

Arungquilta. A magic evil influence. The term is applied both to the evil influence and to the object in which it is supposed to reside.

Arunta. Name of tribe.

Arura. Kangaroo, Macropus rufus; a totem name.

Arura paira. Kangaroo tail.

Arthwarta. A small hawk; a totem name.

Arwatcha. A little rat; a totem name.

Atalaia. A hollow sound.

Atcha. Resin derived from porcupine grass.

Atna-arilta-kuma. Ceremony of introcision or cutting open the vulva.

Atnabita. Contemptuous term applied to a man who is always interfering with women; foul-smelling.

Atna-nilkna. Term applied to a man who has intercourse with a woman of right section for him to marry, but who has not been allotted to him.

Atnalchulpira. Grass parrots, mates of the kangaroo men; a totem name.

Atnimokita. Name of a corrobboree.

Atninga. An avenging party.

Atninga unterrima. Dances in connection with avenging party.

Atninpiritcha. Princess Alexandra parakeet; a totem name in the Alchera, but only birds now.

Atninja. Moon.

Atnitta. Stomach.

Atnitta irrima. A term means “ to endow with sight or feeling.”

Atnitta ulpailima. Hitting a man's stoch with a stone Churinga during the ceremony of returning Churinga.

Atnongara. Name of small stones carried in the bodies of medicine men, with the possession of which their magic power is associated.

Atnunma. A digging-stick.

Atnumbanta. Brake o boughs behind the initiate sits at the circumcision ceremony.

Atnumbira. A diseased growth issuing from the anus.

Atnuta. A term meaning “limp,” and applied to the body of an animal just killed, or to one whose limbs have been dislocated.

Arnurrinia. Name of youth immediately after operation of circumcision in the Southern Arunta.

Atnilinga. The red flower of a Hakea tree.

Atua.A man.

Atua iruntarrinia. Men who have the power of seeing the Iruntarinia.

Atua-kirra. Men's meat, a term applied to the food presented by an Urliara man to his Abmoara.

Atua-kurka. Status term of yong man after sub-incision : it means literally “a little man.”

Atua oknurcha. A big man ; name applied to the moon.

Atwia-atwia. Name of officals during the circumcision ceremony.

Auadaua. A grass seed ; a totem.

Aurainga. Podargus (a bird) and its eggs ; name of a totem.

Au-aritcha. Name applied, in the Southern Arunta, to the initiate during the circumcision ceremony.

Au-aritcha iwuma. Name applied to throwing the initiate up in the air, in the Southern Arunta.

Aworra. A word meaning “emblem,” applied to a stick that represents a man during the avenging ceremonies.

Bultara. Name of one of the sub-sections in the Arunta tribe.

Benogra. Name for bones in the Kakadu tribe.

Chalippa-lippa. Navel cord.

Chankuna; Small berry ; name of a totem.

Chantunga. Name of birds, the mates of the Udnirringita people.

Chantchawa. Name given to the head man of a local group in the north-eastern part of the Arunta.

Charunka. Word meaning “very wise”.

Chaurilia. Offering of food made by younger to older after certain ceremonies.

Cheruka. Term meaning “half roasted.”

Chicherta. Name of the head men of the local totem groups in the Hermannsburg district, Western McDonnell Ranges;

Chicherkna. A whistling bird in the form of which a man's spirit flies away from the body at death.

Chiepa kukka terama. Split into two.

Chiepa kuma. To split.

Chilara. Head-band worn by men.

Chimurillia. Men's name for bone chaplet worn by widow.

Choritja. Native name of Alice Springs.

Chua-ninga. Mates, or a pair.

Churinga. (1) Name applied to a sacred totemic ceremony. (2) Name applied to a wooden or stone slab associated with the Kuruna, or spirit, of each individual. (3) Name applied to anything regarded as sacred.

Churinga alknarinja. Churinga of an alknarinja women.

Churinga amunga. Fly Churinga used for curing eyes that have been bitten by flies.

Churinga ilkinia. Name of design associated with each totem.

Churinga ilpintira. Name of sacred totemic ground or rock drwaing.

Churinga indulla-irrakura. Name of original Churinga either stone or wood associated with each Alchera individual.

Churinga knanja. The Churinga associated with the totemic ancestor of each individual in the Alchera, or made at a later time.

Churinga talkara. The original stone Churinga made by Numbakulla, of which one was associated with the Kuruna or spirit of each Alchera ancestor.

Churinga tidjanira. Churinga made out of mulga wood.

Churinga uchaqua. Sacred stone representing the chrysalis stage of the Udnirringita grub.

Churinga unchima. Stones representing the eggs of the witchetty grub.

Churinga unginia. Churinga of a long-whiskered rad used to induce the growth of the beard by rubbing it on the chin of a young man. Unginia is the name of a rat gives its name to a totem.

Churunkura. White.

Echunpa. A large lizard called Parenthies (Varanus giganteus), that gives its name to a totem.

Ekeirinja. Forbidden or tabu.

Ekura. Him, or his.

Ekura. A pouch or bag.

Eliaqua erkuma. Term applied to the embracing of the Waninga by the youth during initiation.

Elonka. Fruit of Marsdenia sp.; a totem name.


Elucha. Name of official who holds the shields on which the initiate is placed at the circumcision ceremony.

Enchichichika. Design painted on boy's back at the throwing-up ceremony during initiation.

Engwura. Name of a long series of totemic ceremonies.

Epairia. A woman (middle-aged) who has had children.

Equilla timma. An expression that means “projecting smell” into anything such as food.

Equina. Name sometimes given to white pipeclay.

Ereninna. A snake ; name of a totem.

Erilknabata. A very wise man.

Erilkna. Ready to die.

Erilknabata. One of the names applied to very wise old men.

Erinta. Cold.

Erita wideriga. A term meaning “silly” or “bewitched”.

Erkincha. A disease to which young people are especially liable.

Erlia (or Ilia). Emu, a totem name.

Erlia (or Ilia) inka. Emu foot.

Erliwatchera.A large lizard (Varanus gouldi); a totem name.

Erlkintira. White bat (Megaderma gigas) , name of a totem.

Ernia. A white, greasy substance pressed out by the fingers from the skin glands on the sides of the nostrils.

Erola (or Rola). General name for tree or wood.

Ertnatulunga. Name of the sacred storehouse in which the Udnirringita men keep their Churinga.

Ertoacha. Name given to a part of the internal reproductive organs of a male opossum or other animal. Used as a charm.

Ertua. Wild turkey (Leipoa ocellata); a totem name.

Ertwaitcha. Bell bird; a totem name.

Erulla willia. Limestone or soft earth.

Eruncha. Name given to evil or mischievous spirits commonly called 'debbil-debbil.”

Eruncha urupurra. An evil who prevents a man from rising out of his grave.

Erunchilcha. Name of a design drawn on the forehead of a medicine man made by an Eruncha. T means the Eruncha's hand.

Etata. Life.

Etunja. A twig of eucalyptus.

Gammona. Mother's brothers.

Gnoilya. Wild dog, name of a totem.

Gola (or Kola). Hair.

Gola aradjina. Straight hair.

Gola luda-luda. Wavy hair.

Idnimita. Name of the grub of a Longicorne beetle that gives its name to a totem.

Idracowra. White man's name of Chamber's Pillar. The native name is Iturka worra, a man who has connection with women of the wrong section.


I-itcha (or itcha). Word meaning “not” or “no”.

Iknula. Name of black line painted above the eye of a newly-born child to ward off sickness. The same term is applied to the line painted above the hole in a Ratappa stone through which the spirit children are supposed to pass in and out.

Iknura. East.

Ilkunia. Whittled sticks thrown on the bodies of men who have been speared by an avenging party.

Ilarntwa. A skin pouch or wallet.

Ilcha. Hand.

Ilcha gnulla mulla. To move the hand on the wrist.

Ilchaquarra. Large lizard.

Ilchilcha-intun-wutha perrima. Women's dance during the initiation ceremonies in the Southern Arunta.

Ilchinkinja. Name of special messengers sent out to invite, or summon members of local groups to ceremonies such as the Engwura. The word means the beckoning or lifted hand.

Elia (or Erlia) inka. Emu foot.

Ililika. A girdle of thin strands of vegetable fibre string made by the Waramunga, and used by them as a girdle, but traded south to the Arunta and used by them for magic.

Ilkinia. Name of sacred design associated with each totem.

Illa wuntama. Term applied to a fire that rushes along.

Illapa. A stone axe.

Illapurinja. Term applied to (1) the first woman made by the Inkata Achilpa, (2) a woman who goes out as a Kurdaitcha. The word means “the changed one”.

Illatilkumma. A sound made by hitting a solid object.

Illaura-illima. Ceremonial drinking of water at the returning of Churinga.

Illina. We two.

Illiura. Younger men painted with designs of the emu totem during the Mbanbiuma ceremony.

Illpongworra. Term applied to men during the close of the Engwura ceremony. It means “men not greased”.

Illunja. Jew lizard (Amphibolurus sp.); a totem.

Illyonpa. Name of a corrobboree.

Ilpa. Womb.

Ilpilla. A large bundle of eagle-hawk feathers, worn in the middle of the back; also a leaf.

Ilpilla tierga. A yellow leaf.

Ilpintirra. Name of sacred design drawn upon rock or ground, emblematic of the totem.

Ilpirla. A drink made by steeping honey-ants in water.

Ilpirra. A tribe living to the north of the Arunta.

Ilquatera. A term signifying mates and applied to animals, usually birds, that are supposed to be associated with members of particular totems.

Ilta. A word that means “growling,” or “angry talk”.

Ilthura. Small holes in the ground near Emily Gap, each containing one large stone, called Churinga uchaqua, and a smaller one, Churinga unchima.

Ilthura oknirra. The great Ilthura, a small cave in the rocks at Emily Gap at which Intichiuma is performed.


Ilya ilporkita. Name of beaked boomerang.

Ilyabara. A piece of bark.

Ilyabara iwuma. Ceremony of throwing bark in the direction of the mother's Alchera camp by a boy whose nasal septum has been pierced.

Imampa. Pad of emu feathers used as a chignon.

Immirrinja. A man's opossum fur-string girdle;

Impara. The sun rising red.

Inapatua. Incomplete human being who were transformed by the Numbakulla into men and women.

Inarlinga. Echidna, so-called “porcupine”; a totem name.

Inbumilla. To stamp.

Inchinkinja. Name applied to two star men who are supposed to ensure that a native, when he is very ill, shall not recover.

Indada. A name for ordinary corrobborees.

Inda-illja. An expression meaning “two together”;

Indailgwa. Large bough of a tree.

Indera-gnunta. Term applied to an old wise man who knows everything.

Indjerka. Rotten, or dry.

Indoiga. Fur string.

Indukira. South.

Indulla-irrakura. Name of original Alchera Churinga of each individual, either stone or wood.

Indwaira. Inside, or on the inside.

Inguding-guda. Leafy twigs worn by the Illpongworra men during the Engwura.

Ingudjida. Tlak; what anyone says.

Ingurda-ingurda, or Luda-luda. Curved, wavy, or zigzag.

Ingwa. Night or darkness.

Ingwaina kurka. Little toe bone used for cutting designs by Numbakulla.

Ingwalara. Name of medicine men at Charlotte Waters.

Ingwana. Yours.

Ingwitchika. A grass seed ; a totem name.

Ingwunta. To-morrow.

Ingwurninga inkinja. The name of a ceremony in which the decoration represents the skulls of slain men. The words mean “bones, arisen.”

Ininja. Name given to an avenging party sent out to kill a native accused of having killed someone by magic.

Injaira. A word meaning a large number, or mob; also , complete or all.

Injilla. A form of pointing-bone used by the Kurdaitcha.

Injiparilla. A small fly, a totem name.

Inka. Foot.

Inkalikikama. To destroy.

Inkata. The term in general use, applied to the head man of a local totemic group.

Inkulta. Flaked stick worn on the head, associated with fighting or killing a victim.

Inpirta. Term applied to a widow during mourning. It means “the whitened one,” in reference to the fact that she is smeared over with pipeclay.


Intatherta. Name given to the feather shoes worn by a Kurdaitcha man in the Southern Arunta.

Interlinia. Name given to feather shoes worn by a Kurdaitcha man in the Northern Arunta.

Intherta. Name applied to a ban of silence.

Intichiuma. Name of ceremony designed to increase the numbers of the totemic animal or plant. Used by natives of the Udnirringita totem.

Intil-yapa-yapa. Water beetle; the name of the totem.

Inturita. Rock pigeon, mates of the Euro men; a totem name.

Inturkirra. Spear-like seed of a long grass used by women for magic.

Inwurnina. Pointing-stick of the Eruncha.

Inwurra. Name of special messengers carrying Churinga.

Iquincha. Ashes.

Irara-rura. Squares.

Irchanipinna. Name applied to running with exaggerated hight knee action during ceremonies.

Irkalanga. The brown hawk (hierarcidera orientalis); a totem name.

Irknulla. Bark of a tree.

Irkoa-atua. Term of address applied to the man who removes the decoration from the initiate after the Arilta ceremony.

Irkun-oknirra. A term applied to men who are given to chattering.

Irna. A form of pointing-stick.

Irpanta. Small lizard, mates of a large lizard ; a totem name.

Irpunga. Fish ; a totem name.

Irquantha; Churlish ; applied to a man who does not obey a summons to a ceremony.

Irriakura. Bulb of Cyperus rotondus, a favourite food; the name of a totem.

Irripitcha. Ring-necked parrot.

Irritcha. Eagle-hawk (Aquila audax); a totem name.

Irrunpa. A large lizard (Varanus giganteus); the name of a totem.

Iruka. Name of string bag in which Churinga are carried.

Irulchiukiwuma. Movement of shields made by members of an avenging party when returning. The object of the movement is to ward off the spirit of the dead man.

Irundera. Father of a man's Anua woman or wife.

Irundera-tualcha. Father of the special Anua woman who is actually allotted to a man.

Iruntarinia. General name applied to spirit individuals.

Iruntuwura. Name of men on whom the initiate lies during the circumcision ceremony in the Southern Arunta.

Ita-leritchika. Term applied to an old wise man.

Ita-luka-luka. One of the terms applied to a wise man.

Iturka. Yterm applied to a man who has relations with a woman of the wrong class or section – that is, one who is not Anua to him.

Iwaiyu. Name for spirit in the Kakadu tribe.

Iwunnia. Pointing-sticks used by an Eruncha or mischievous spirit.

Iwupa. Nail-tailed wallaby ; a totem name.

Kadja kurka. Term sometimes applied to a little child.

Kadnunga. Trunk of a tree.


Kadnunga-ulya. Hadow of a tree trunk.

Kainda-kainda. Circles.

Kaindinia. Youngest, last born or most behind.

Kaitisha. a tribe to the North of the Ilpirra, at Barrow Creek.

Kakia. Plum tree, a species of Santalum ; name of totem.

Kalana. A lizard, a totem name.

Kamba unjiamba. Unjiamba juice.

Kartwia-kwatcha. Name given to what is called the rain country in the north-east of the Arunta. The rain-makers here are supposed to be especially able.

Kartwunga-wunga. Birds, the mates of the Kangaroos men, often seen on the backs of the kangaroos.

Kauaua. A pole of the same nature as the Kauwa-auwa (q;v.) used by the lesser Inkatas at the Engwura.

Kauwa-auwa. A sacred pole erected by Numbakulla, up which he climbed and which he drew up after him into the sky when he had finished his work in connection with the making of Kuruna and Churinga and the institution of the Knanjas. Used now at the Achilpa Engwura.

Keinda. Leaves.

Keinda Irriakura; leaves of the Irriakura plant.

Keinda-ulya. Shadow of the leafy part of a tree.

Kirarawa. Name of one of the moieties of the Urabunna tribe.

Kirra. Meat or flesh.

Kirra indida. Meat gone bad.

Kirra mberga. Big meat or whole body.

Kirra tjilka. Piece of meat.

Kirra urkna. Meat gone bad and liquefying.

Knailjalugga. Arose from, or came out of.

Knamulla. To stand up.

Knanikilla. Local totem centre ; an area of country inhabited by spirits of ancestors. Those of each centre belong to one totem.

Knanja. Totem.

Knera-kunja. Child beginning to crawl.

Knorinia. Name of Jessie Gap.

Knubbera. Small torpedo-shaped stone Churinga into which certain of the Alchera bulbs of the yelka plant (Irriakura) were transformed.

Kola (or Gola). Hair.

Koperta. Head.

Koperta kakuma. Ceremony of head – or scalp-biting;

Koperta ulda. Hair of a woman's head.

Kobong. Name for totem in some West Australian tribes.

Koinyu punna. Poor old thing.

Kudjia. General name given to a number of children gathered together.

Kukaitcha. Name of head man of an Ulpmerka group.

Kulchia. Arm bands made of opossum fur string.

Kulla. A word meaning enough, or all right, or quite so.

Kumara. Name of one of the sections of the Arunta tribe.

Kupitcha. Small or little. The term is applied to a leader of a totemic party who has been deputed by a greater leader to act as such.

Kurdaitcha. An evil being. Name appleid to a man who goes out, wearing shoes made of emu feathers, to kill some individual.


Kurka. Small, or little.

Kurna (or Akurna). Bad.

Kuru-urkna. Name given to the girdle made from hair cut drom a dead man. It is compounded of Kuruna, “spirit,” and Urkna, “essence,” as, for example, the liquid formed when meat is thoroughly rotten.

Kuruna. The spirit part of every individual. It was formed by Numbakulla in the Alchera, and continually undergoes re-incarnation.

Kutta. Altogether.

Kwanjitera (Kwanjatara). A word used to express “two tied together.”

Kwatcha. Water. (see also Quatcha.)

Kwatcha alia. Salt water.

Lalkira. Nose-bone.

Lalunba. Term applied to a youth when shown to the women in camp immediately after sub-incision.

Lamburkna. Name of Alchera camp of Numbakulla.

Lara.A river or creek.

Lartna, see initiation.

Lartna.Ceremony of circumcision.

Latjia. A yam, a totem name.

Latunpa. Series of ceremonies connected with the owl totem.

Leilira. Stone knives of the little hawk men used for circumcision.

Lewa-lumma. Name given to men who llof on while a man is speared during an avenging expedition.

Lilpuririka. A term meaning running like a creek.

Lirra-lirra. The strated wren ; mates of the Emu men ; a totem name;

Lonka-lonka. A flat, plate-like ornament made from the shell of Melo or Melagrina margaritifera; it is used also as an object of magic.

Lubra. The usual name applied by white people to a native woman. In other parts of Australia the usual term is gin. The arunta term is Arragutja.

Luda-luda. Curly, wavy, or zigzag.

Lukwurra. Women's camp.

Lumalia-maila. A girl with breasts growing.

Lungarinia. Name of one of the two first women created, according to the Achilpa tradition.

Maegwa. The fully grown witchetty grub insect.

Maila. Female.

Maila kaindrungna. A young married woman.

Maliera. One of two names given to men who have passed through the Engwura.

Mara. Good or great.

Maraknirra. A term applied to an especially great ancestor. It is compounded of Mara (good) and oknirra (very great).

Marilla. Name of the design drawn on the body of a medicine man made by an Eruncha.

Markilanua. Term applied to a married man.

Matturi. Name of one of the moieties of the Urabunna tribe.

Mauia. Small magic stones belonging to the Kaitisha tribe ; also the magic that they contain.


Mbainda. Name given to the main camp of any local group.

Mbala (or Mbala tera). You two.

Mbanbiuma. Name of a ceremony designed to secure the increase of the number of any animal, plant or material object that gives its name to a totemic group. General name in use amongst the Arunta tribe.

Mbatjalkatiuma. Name used for the Mbanbiuma ceremony by the North-eastern Arunta natives.

Mberga (or Mberka). The whole body of an animal or plant.

Mberka oknirra. Big men. Name applied to the Panunga-Bultara men.

Mberka tungwa. Little men. Name applied to the Purula-Kumara section.

Meimba. A special pitchi in which leaders of totemic groups carried Churinga.

Meruwinja. A baby, after its skin has darkness in colour.

Mia. Mother, mother's sisters.

Mia alkulla. Mother's younger sister.

Mornja. Solfty or carefully.

Mulga. Name of various species of Acacia (usually A. aneura) which form dense scrub in various parts of Australia.

Mulla. A cave.

Mulyanuka. Name applied to men and women who belong to the other moiety of the tribe to that to which the individual using the term belongs. Thus a Panunga or Bultara man calls all the Purula and Kumara, Mulyanuka, and, vice versa, a Purula or kumara amn calls all the Panunga and Bultara, Mulyanuka.

Munna (or Mirna). Vegetable or seed food.

Munyeru. A species of Claytonia, the seeds of which are used for food.

Mura. Wife's mother. Term applied to all women whose daughters are eligible to a man as wife.

Nakrakia. Term applied to individuals who belong to the same moiety of the tribe as the speaker ; thus a Panunga or Bultara man calls all Panunga and Bultara, akrakia. A Purula or Kumara man, all Purula and Kumara, Nakrakia.

Nakuka. Him, or his, if a long way off.

Nakwia. Over there.

Nama. Grass.

Namatunna. A variant of Namatwinna ; a small bull-roarer.

Namatwinna. Name of a small bull-roarer. It is made to sound by first hitting it on the grass.

Narlungwa. A series of totemic ceremonies.

Nagata; This side.

Ngdera-ngunta. One of the terms applied to a wise old man.

Ngurangura. Evening.

Ni-inda (or Ni-inta). One, or by itself.

Niendakuna. Name of a ceremony designed to increase the numbers of the totemic animal or plant. Used by the natives in the North-east McDonnell Ranges.

Nimmerra. Name applied by a woman to the father of a man to whom she is Anua.

Ninta. One.

Ninchi lappa-lappa. Scarlet-fronted Ephthianura ; a totem name in the Alchera, but only birds now.


Nukunja. Term meaning “my two sons”.

Nukwa. My, or mine.

Numbakulla. The great Alchera Being of the Achilpa and other traditions.

Nung-gara. Name of medicine man on the Finke River.

Nurtunja. A pole used in sacred ceremonies, emblematic of the animal or plant giving its name to the totem with which the ceremony is concerned;

Obma (or Wobma). A snake ; name of totem.

Ocherka. The sun.

Okalpara. Cave near Alice Springs in which the Eruncha and Iruntarinia live.

Okincha-laninna irrulknakinna. Name given to the girdle into which the opossum fur-string girdle and head-bands of a dead man are made up. The first word is the ordinary one applied to the article ; the second is compounded of irra (he), ulkna (grave) and kinnai (from).

Oknia. Father, father's brothers.

Oknirra. Great, large or very.

Oknirrabata. One of the terms applied to a wise old man.

Okunjepunna oknirra. A expression meaning “much infatuated”.

Paira. Tail or penis.

Paira arilta kuma. Operation of sub-incision.

Paira irripurinnia. Ceremony of rubbing the penis in connection with an avenging party.

Pamera. To open wide, spread out.

Panda. Soft-wood pitchi.

Papa. Stick given to a child to help it to walk.

Papilla-irrima. Presentation of visiting men to local women after the ceremony of returning Churinga and telling the latter each man's Alchera camp and the name of his mother and her knanja.

Parra. Mound made on the Engwura ground. It represents the track followed by the original Inkata of the Achilpa totem in the Alchera.

Peinda (or pinta). A spring or a running river or creek.

Peiniya. Name applied to the operator at the ceremony of circumcision.

Perta (or Aperta). A rock, stone or rocky hill.

Perta atnumbira. A stone associated with a man suffering from Erkincha.

Perta Churunkura. White pipeclay.

Perta ikurra. A small white stone placed under the armpita of the initiate in the Southern Arunta.

Perta-india. A rock cave.

Perta-indura. A small rock cave.

Perta indurja. A mountain range.

Pertaka. On a hill.

Pertalchera. Storehouse of the Churinga, usually a small cave.

Perta ratappa. Stones in which Kuruna (spirits) live.

Pertaringa. Belonging to the hills.

Perta tukira. Boils that a man plucked from his body. They became changed into stones, and are now used for evil magic.

Pitchi. Wooden trough used for carrying seed, food, water and babies.

Pituri. A narcotic made from the leaves of Duboisia Hopwoodii.

Porka. Tired.


Purka. Charcoal.

Purria. A white gum (Eucalyptus rostrata).

Purula. Name of one of the sections of the Arunta tribe.

Quabara. Sacred ceremonies concerned with the totems.

Quabara nurtunja. A ceremony in which a Nurtunja is used.

Quabara undattha. Sacred ceremony in which undattha or bird's dwn is used.

Quaninnia imbenya. You go to the left side.

Quatcha. Water.

Quatcha erinta. Cold water.

Quatcha kangura. A cloud.

Quatcha peinda. A spring.

Quatcha urimba. Warm water;

Qualchala. Word meaning “at a water-hole”.

Quirra. Bandicoot, a totem name.

Quitia (or Quai-itia). Younger sisters.

Quoradja imbenya. You go to the right.

Quoradja pitchinna. You come to the right side of me, said to a man stanfing a little way off.

Railtchawa. Name of medicine men amongst the northern Arunta.

Ratappa. Name applied to the young child to which a Kuruna gives rise inside the mother, also to the baby immediately after birth.

Ratappa unkumba. Stredded bark on which a young child lies in a pitchi.

Rera knilliga. Roots grown round, or surling roots, such as those growing from the bulb of the Irriakura plant; The sacred name of the man of the Irriakura totem.

Rera-rear. Small roots of a plant.

Rola (or Erola). A tree ; also a general name for wood;

Rola Engwura udnirringa. Name of twigs of Eremophila worn by men during the Engwura ceremony;

Rola taga oknirra. A big log.

Rulla (or Erulla). Ground, earth.

Runurkna. Mud.

Tailya. No good. A term applied to a sound made by striking something hollow.

Taja chiepa kuma terama. To split a log into two.

Takula. A pointing-stick.

Tanilla. Cold.

Tanunda. Bough platform on which Churinga are stored.

Taperta. Name of series of lizard totem ceremonies.

Tapunga. Name applied to men upon whom the initiate lies during the ceremony of sub-incision.

Tatara. Shell parrot, the name of a totem.

Tchanka. The bull-dog ant ( a species of Myrmecia), the bite of which is supposed to deprive medicine men of their powers.

Tchinperli. Small flints stuck into it, used for evil magic.

Tchintu. An object of magic supposed to contain the heat of the sun.

Teitchilla. Teeth.


Teppa. A word meaning “back.” It is applied to the long ridge of a hill;

Tera. Two.

Terna (or Turna). Name of a wooden trough or pitchi.

Thara. Name of special fire made by members of an avenging party by the side of which the victim is killed.

Thippa-thippa. Small birds, mates of the large lizard men ; a totem name; in the Alchera, but only bird now.

Tidja. Native name for the mulga tree (Acacia aneura).

Tidja alchera. Mulga tree containing Kuruna or spirits.

Tidjanira. Name given to special wooden Churinga made out of mulga wood.

Tierga (or Turga). Yellow.

Tjitjingalla. Name of one of the ordinary corrobborees.

Tmalpunga. Name given to the two first men who arose from the Kuruna carried by the Inkata Achilpa.

Tmara; Camp.

Tmerga. Yesterday.

Trora. Name of musical instrument consisting of two sticks struck on one another.

Tualcha mura. Mother of the women allotted to a man as his special Anua.

Tukira. Boils.

Tulkara. Quail and its eggs; a totem name.

Tuma. To strike.

Tundun. Name of the Bull-roarer in the Kurnai tribe.

Tunga. Ironwood tree (Acacia Farnesiana).

Tunpilillima. Ceremony of pressing a sacred object such as a Urtunja against the body of an old man.

Turga. Fig tree (Ficus platypoda).

Turna. General name for pitchi.

Turna ertua. Boat-shaped soft-wood pitchi.

Turna panda. Shallow soft-wood pitchi.

Turna ultna. Deep soft-wood pitchi.

Tukuka. Red.

Twaidja. A saddle or depression in a hill range.

Twanyirrika. The spirit whose voice is supposed by the women to be heard when the bull-roarer sounds. Also the name of the first two Alchera men who performed circumcision, and of certain Churinga.

Uchuilima. Lithe or active.

Udnirringa. Name of a bush, on which the Udnirringita grub feeds, that gives its name to the totem;

Udnirringita. A witchetty grub; a totem name.

Uldra. A short spear.

Ulchilkinja. Wattle seeds; name of a totem.

Uldma. Name of one of the main local divisions of the Arunta tribes.

Uliara. Human hair-string girdle worn by men.

Ulkna. Mound on the grave.

Ullagubbera. A small hawks; name of a totem.

Ullakakulla The act of dislocating the joints of a dead animal such as a kangaroo.


Undiara. Name of a place associated with the kangaroo totem near Henbury on the Finke River.

Ungalla. Name of one of the sub-sections of the tribe.

Ungamillia. The evening star.

Ungaraitcha. Elder sister.

Ungna. General name for roots and bulbs such as those of the Yelka (Cyperus rotundus).

Ungperta-ngara. Name applied to a long series of totemic ceremonies.

Ungunja. Men's camp.

Ungwendama (or Ingwendama). Sleep.

Uninapathera; name in the Southern Arunta equivalent to Nakrakia in the north.

Unjaiga. A samll witchetty grub, the name of a totem.

Unjiacherta. A word meaning “place of the the Unjiamba men.”

Unjiamba. Akea tree, from the flowers of which a sweet drink is made ; a totem name.

Unjipinna. Term of adress applied by a boy to a man who has relinquished his right to the sister of the former as wife; the boy must provide the man with hair.

Unkapera. A bundle carried by an Alchera ancestor containing Kurunas or men and women;

Unkir-atua. Greedy men.

Unkulla. Relationship term applied to the sons and daughters of father's sisters.

Unkulpa (or Ungulpa). Native name for the plugs of “tobacco” made out of Pituri (Duboisia Hopwwodi).

Unpora ninga. Mates, or pair.

Unta. You;

Untaina. A small rat; a totem name.

Unthippa. Name of a group of women who danced across the country in the Alchera. The Unthippa dance during inititation represents this.

Untungalirrima. Name applied to the ceremony of scraping the backs of recently initiated youths by one who has just been circumcised, the object being to make them on terms of equality;

Ura. Fire.

Uraburabba. A whirlwind.

Urachipma. Native name of Mount Sounder; it means the place of pitchis, the best specimens of these being made by the natives in that locality.

Ura-inpirta. Name applied to widow, covered with pipeclay and ashes.

Urapulla. Black.

Urapuncha. The place of fire; a mountain lying to the north of the McDonnell Ranges called Mount Hay.

Uria. Male.

Urilyara. The name given to a little fire that first smoulders and then goes out; the name of a totem.

Urimba. Hot.

Urinchitta. Spark of fire.

Urinthantima. Name applied to man who holds the shield during circumcision in the Northern Arunta, also the name of the man on whose knees the novice sits when the fire-stick is handed to him by Mia during the circuncision ceremony.


Urkarkinja. Name applied, in the Southern Arunta, to two men who watch over the vouth during the initiation ceremonies.

Urkna. Juice of decaying meat. Also applied to sap of a tree. It sinifies the essence of anything;

urkwapinja. Name of a ceremony designed to increase the numbers of the totemic animal or plant. Used by Burt Plain natives.

Urlatcha. Alchera name of a woman ; it means “breasts.”

Urliara. Status term applied to men who have passed through the Engwura.

Urliwatchera. A large lizard (Varanus Gouldi) ; the name of a totem.

Urpma. Name of cicatrices resulting from cuts made on women during inititation ceremonies.

Urpmala. Term applied to the act of fire-makng.

Urpmilchimilla. Final burial ceremony at the grave. The word means “trampling the twigs on the grave.”

Urpura. Magpie; the name of a totem.

Urtnantha. A number of trees growing together.

Urumbinya. Name in the Southern Arunta equivalent to Mulyanuka in the Northern.

Urumparilla. Name of large spear.

Urumpilla. Name applied to the shorter forms of Engwura ceremonies.

Urumpira. Heavy wooden spears, made of mulga.

Uwilia. Name of men who paint the initiate at the circumcision ceremony.

Uwinna. Relationship term applied to a father's sister.

Waingurri. Name of a tribe living out to the west of the Arunta.

Wairidja. Camp from which the Inkata Achilpa set out.

Wajinna. Women's name for the Udnirringita grub.

Walgna. Grave.

Wallira. A sacred object emblematic of some totemic animal or plant, or part of one.

Wanpa. Name given to sticks struck together to keep time to dancing during corrobborees.

Wetta. Small leafy boughs and twigs carried by men during the Engwura.

Wha, wha. A loud shouting sound made during the performance of ceremonies.

Whakutnimma. Term applied to running round the performers of a ceremony during which the men shout Wha! Wha!

Willia. Soft. Limestone is erulla willia, or soft earth.

Witia. A younger brother.

Wongara. Duck; a totem name.

Worra. A youth.

Wultha chelpima. Term applied to the ceremony during which the performers lie down on the Wurtja, during the initiation ceremonies.

Wulya (or Uwilia). Men who paint the youth at the Lartna ceremony.

Wunga. A young woman before the breasts hang pendant.

Wupira. Special necklet worn by Urliara men at the close of the Engwura.

Wurley. Name of bough shelter used by the natives; the term has been introduced from other parts of Australia.


Wurtja. Name given to the initiate during the ceremonies attendant upon that of circumcision, after his back has been painted and until the operation.

Wurunta. Hard-hearted or greedy.

Yarunpa. Name of honey-ant (Melophorus inflatus), which gives its name to a totem.

Yinga. I or me.