Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Australia & New Zealand A person regarded as obnoxiously puritanical.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person with a strong moral views for temperance, abstinence, etc, and who promotes them generally or in particular seeks to impose them on other people.
  • n. A lout or similar disruptive person.

Etymologies

Possibly from dialectal wow, to howl, complain, of imitative origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
John Norton, an early enemy of wowsers (temperance sense), claimed it to be an acronym for "We Only Want Social Evils Remedied", but that's likely a folk etymology. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • One, that I was the last person you would call a wowser and secondly, that I'd seen a fair bit of life on my travels with 60

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  • One, that I was the last person you would call a wowser and secondly, that I'd seen a fair bit of life on my travels with 60 Minutes and not too much would shock me.

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  • He said Ms Keneally had upset many in the union ranks with her "wowser" remark when emergency service workers called for the wider adoption of Newcastle's 1am lockout policy at pubs and clubs to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence.

    Latest News - Yahoo!7 News

  • Responding to the suggestion, Ms Keneally said she wouldn't turn NSW into a "wowser" state.

    Latest News - Yahoo!7 News

  • Mr Overland said he was not a "wowser" and it was also up to local and state governments and its citizens to develop geographic areas in a socially responsible way.

    The Australian | News |

  • It was definitely a tease, with only one true 'wowser' action image (that of Kenobi and Qui-Gon leaping to a nearby platform while in combat).

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • As a simple race-and-chase, "The Adjustment Bureau" succeeds on the purest cinematic level, especially in a wowser of a climactic pursuit that recalls "Inception" in its mind-bending tour through multiple doors of perception.

    Ann Hornaday reviews 'The Adjustment Bureau,' an ambitious, impressive thriller

  • Vonnegut and the Little Prince appear to be especially popular, and I'm sure the wowser below is not the only Fight Club tattoo walking around out there.

    An Amazon.com Books Blog featuring news, reviews, interviews and guest author blogs.

  • Steve Englehart is writing at this point, and having just come off a couple of mind-blowing stories one where Strange witnesses the beginning of the universe, and another where he recreates the Earth in exact detail after its total destruction, he decides to come up with another wowser.

    John Seavey’s Storytelling Engines: Doctor Strange | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

  • It would be an engraved invitation to every wowser and shaman in the land to invade Massachusetts and attempt a new lasting ideological colonization therein.

    The Chimes at Midnight

Comments

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  • It can be issue-specific.

    May 11, 2008

  • An obtrusively puritanical person.

    May 11, 2008