“Sunnies”

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.

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13 responses to ““Sunnies”

  1. Can’t speak for Scotland but ‘sunnies’ for sunglasses is common enough here (London).

  2. I’ve rarely if ever heard the term in California, likely only from visiting Aussies (perhaps an “-ies” fetish?).

  3. Sunnies is in reasonably common use in Britain, at least in England.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Do the Scots have an concept of what sunglasses are?

    #jk #aboutTheClimateNotThePeople

  9. 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.

  10. I’ve been seeing it in U.S. fashion reporting and retail copywriting for several years. For example, Free People, a women’s fashion brand that originated in Philadelphia, calls many of its sunglasses “sunnies” (https://www.freepeople.com/sunglasses/). Also see L.A. Confidential: https://la-confidential-magazine.com/chic-sunglasses-inspired-by-your-favorite-travel-destinations

    Definitely an Aussie import (the term, not the products).

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