Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 11:21:09 +1000
From: Ross Chambers
Subject: A raft of...?

A phrase which appears and disappears in Australia is "A raft of..."

Its users seem to be mainly from the
governmental/managerial/labour-union classes, who often refer to
"a raft of new legislation/issues/concessions" etc.

I hadn't seen or read it for a couple of years, since its last term as a
vogue phrase--now the phrase seems to have found a new life in the last
half-year or so--perhaps related to the change of Federal government

Partridge says
1) "A (very) large number, as in 'A raft of people attended the meeting'
NZ, since ca.1944. Adopted ex US servicemen.

2) 'A number of wagons during shunting' Railwaymen's since ca.1945, same
source as 1).

[although these uses referring to concrete items is currently uncommon
in Oz, the phrase being reserved for abstract concepts-- rc]

The Question: Where did these influential US servicemen derive the term?

Kind regards - Ross Chambers



Ross Chambers Sydney Australia

"L'Australia non e solo agli antipodi, e lontana da tutto,
talora anche da sa stessa."

(Australia is not only at the Antipodes, she is away from everything,
sometimes even from herself)

Umberto Eco