boomerang


boomerang
/booh"meuh rang'/, n.
1. a bent or curved piece of tough wood used by the Australian Aborigines as a throwing club, one form of which can be thrown so as to return to the thrower.
2. something, as a scheme or argument, that does injury to the originator.
3. Theat.
a. a mobile platform, adjustable to different levels, for painting scenery.
b. a batten, usually suspended vertically in the wings, for holding lighting units.
v.i.
4. to come back or return, as a boomerang.
5. to cause harm to the originator; backfire.
[1820-30; < Dharuk bumariny]

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Curved throwing stick used chiefly by the aborigines of Australia for hunting and warfare.

About 12–30 in. (30–75 cm) in length, the returning boomerang varies in shape from a deep curve to almost straight sides of an angle. The ends are twisted or skewed in opposite directions. It is held at one end, above and behind the thrower's shoulder, and swung forward rapidly. Just before release, the thrower adds spin by flicking the wrist so that the stick will loop around and return to him. Returning boomerangs were used only in eastern and western Australia as playthings, in tournament competition, and by hunters to imitate hawks for driving flocks of game birds into nets. The longer, straighter, and heavier nonreturning boomerang can kill animals and even humans.

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      curved throwing stick used chiefly by the Aboriginals (Australian Aborigine) of Australia for hunting and warfare. Boomerangs are also works of art, and Aboriginals often paint or carve designs on them related to legends and traditions. In addition, boomerangs continue to be used in some religious ceremonies and are clapped together, or pounded on the ground, as accompaniment to songs and chants.

      The Aboriginals used two kinds of boomerangs and many varieties of boomerang-shaped clubs. The returning boomerang (the name derives from the word used by the Turuwal tribe in New South Wales) is light, thin and well balanced, 12–30 inches (30–75 cm) in length, and up to 12 ounces (about 340 grams) in weight. It varies in shape from a deep, even curve to almost straight sides of an angle. The ends are twisted or skewed in opposite directions either as the boomerang is being made or after it has been heated in ashes.

      The boomerang is thrown with a vigorous action in which the thrower may run a few steps to gain greater impetus. It is held at one end, above and behind the thrower's shoulder, with the concave edge to the front, and swung forward rapidly with the flatter side underneath. Just before release, added impetus is given by a strong wrist movement; it is this spin, together with the skew of the edges, which determines its unique flight pattern. If thrown downward or parallel to the ground, it sweeps upward to a height of 50 feet (15 metres) or more. When thrown so that one end strikes the ground, it ricochets into the air at terrific speed, spinning endwise. It completes a circle or oval 50 yards (45 metres) or more wide and then several smaller ones as it drops to the ground near the thrower. A figure-eight course may also be followed.

      Returning boomerangs were used only in eastern and western Australia as playthings, in tournament competition, and by hunters to imitate hawks for driving flocks of game birds into nets strung from trees. The returning boomerang is generally considered to have developed from the nonreturning types, which swerve in flight.

      The nonreturning boomerang is longer, straighter, and heavier than the returning variety. With it animals were maimed and killed, while in warfare it caused serious injuries and death. One type has a picklike hook at one end. Boomerang-shaped, nonreturning weapons were used by the ancient Egyptians, by Native Americans of California and Arizona, and in southern India for killing birds, rabbits, and other animals.

      Today boomerangs are often made of high-grade plywood and fibreglass. Boomerang competitions—measuring the speed and distance of thrown boomerangs as well as the accuracy and catching ability of the thrower—are held regularly throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and Japan.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • boomerang — is an Australian word which has moved into International English. It was borrowed from Dharuk, the Aboriginal language spoken in the Sydney region. While the spelling boomerang is now standard, in the early period the word was given a variety of… …   Australian idioms

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  • Boomerang — (ingl., de or. australiano; pronunc. [bumerán]) m. Bumerán. * * * Un boomerang es un objeto que tras ser lanzado regresa a su punto de origen debido a su perfil y forma de lanzamiento especiales. Cualquier material es válido para construir un… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • boomerang — (del inglés; pronunciamos bumerán ) sustantivo masculino 1. Bumerán. bumerán o boomerang sustantivo masculino 1. Arma arrojadiza propia de los indígenas australianos, formada por una lámina de madera encorvada, que, una ve …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • boomerang — [bo͞om′ər aŋ΄] n. [< Austral native name] 1. a flat, curved stick that can be thrown so that it will return to a point near the thrower: it is used as a weapon by Australian Aborigines 2. something that goes contrary to expectations and… …   English World dictionary

  • Boomerang — Boom er*ang, n. A very singular missile weapon used by the natives of Australia and in some parts of India. It is usually a curved stick of hard wood, from twenty to thirty inches in length, from two to three inches wide, and half or three… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Boomerang — Boomerang, engl. Schreibung für Bumerang (s.d.) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • boomerang — → búmeran o bumerán …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas


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