• noun a despicable, disreputable or obnoxious person. This term of abuse originated in Australia where it derived either literally from a bag used by a rat-catcher or from the notion of a bag full of rats as the epitome of obnoxiousness. The word became popular in Britain in the early 1960s (helped in no small part by its frequent use in the popular radio comedy-series Hancock‚Äôs Half Hour) and is now often used with a degree of affection. In Australia it often denotes an eccentric.