A few days ago, Louise Linton, the wife of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, got into trouble for posting this picture on Instagram:

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 11.55.48 AM

The trouble stemmed from her hashtagging various items of her designer clothing–weird and creepy in itself, all the more so when accompanying a picture of getting off a U.S. military jet with official government markings.

What caught my eye was the reference to Tom Ford “sunnies”–sunnies being Australian shorthand for sunglasses. All citations for the term in both the Oxford English Dictionary and Green’s Dictionary of Slang are from Australian or New Zealand sources.

Linton is a native of Scotland who has lived in the U.S. for more than fifteen years. Did she pick up “sunnies” in Scotland, or is the term prevalent in the U.S. circles in which she travels? Please weigh in if you know.

17 thoughts on ““Sunnies”

  1. Definately a common term in England. I am guessing due to a combination of the close links with Australia (many people emigrated there in the 60s/70s) and a huge trend for Australian TV in the 80s and 90s.

  2. I encountered ‘sunnies’ for sunglasses for the first time when visiting Australia in 1991. I live in London but cannot recall ever hearing a British person saying it.

  3. Not a Scottish term, I’m sure. Not that Louise Hay is a typical Scot. I bet she’s never been doon the Barras!
    I don’t think I’ve ever heard it in England either. ‘Shades’ would be the more usual term. ‘Sunnies’ has a distinctly Aussie ring about it. It may have passed to younger people (those of my daughter’s age – mid-30s) through Australian TV without me being aware of it.

  4. Australian soaps such as Neighbours and Home & Away would have been broadcast daily at lunchtime and early evening on British TV when Linton was growing up. Many Aussie terms became more familiar to UK viewers around that time.

    1. Also a lot of Australians came over to the UK in the 80s and 90s. Other terms which i remember hearing for the first time around then include ‘offie’ for off-licence (liquour store) and ‘eski’ for cool-box (a brand name I think).

  5. Definitely used in England (and I would expect Scotland also) I would have thought it was a Britishism, though not surprised it’s Aussie in origin.

  6. “Sunnies” is British as well, as far as I can tell. It may not be originally (I don’t know), but has certainly crept into usage. At least down south…

  7. As an American living in Scotland, I can say I have definitely heard some people say “sunnies” here. It struck me as weird.

  8. I have just started seeing “sunnies” used by Americans for sunglasses. I heard/read it often (though only said by women and in women’s magazine copy) when I was living in England for three years in the late 90s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s