Where does the word “sundowner” come from and What does the term sundowner mean?

The word “sundown” itself is presumed to be a contraction of “sun-godown” or perhaps the archaic “sun-gate-down,” and a sundowner is either a person who times a certain action relative to sundown, or a deed performed at sundown.

There are at least three quite distinct applications of the term.

The oldest is an Australian usage found as early as 1875, and applies to a nomad who times his arrival at a dwelling with sundown, so that he will be invited to spend the night.

where does the word sundowner come from and what does the term sundowner mean scaled

The second is an Americanism, found near the turn of the century, denoting a person now known as a “moonlighter”, a hustler who holds down a secondary job, usually in the evening, in addition to his regular employment.

The third, dating to the 1920’s, is a South African term applied to a drink of conviviality taken at sundown.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.