In Seinfeld S03E10 ("The Stranded"), there is a part where Elaine is sitting on a couch with some other people, and one woman (I believe the host of the party), is talking about her fiancé, and putting heavy emphasis on the word "fiancé." Elaine says to her "Maybe the Dingo ate your Baby," to which the woman looks a little confused about.

Did Elaine say this for a reason? Besides being random, was there a reason pointed out in the episode that she was alluding to? Or was she just mocking the woman?

Video of scene:

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    It's not random. Did you search for Dingo ate my baby? It's a pretty famous incident.
    – Paulie_D
    May 20, 2017 at 13:39
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    @Paulie_D no I never heard of this incident. I wouldn't have thought that searching the phrase would yield an actual event.
    – Timothy G.
    May 20, 2017 at 13:42
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    Well it was. Try Google search for it. Pretty harrowing.
    – Paulie_D
    May 20, 2017 at 13:42
  • I've seen this episode. Earlier in the episode someone referred to dingos and Australia, can't remember exactly who, but I think Elaine was just referring to that and affecting an Australian accent just to be obnoxious. I don't think she was referring to a famous incident. There was probably quite a few people and babies killed by dingos.
    – user43097
    May 21, 2017 at 2:55
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    It was an infamous enough incident that Oz's band in the hit 90s show Buffy the Vampire Slayer was named "Dingoes Ate My Baby".
    – 1006a
    May 22, 2017 at 3:44

4 Answers 4


Elaine is paraphrasing a line from certain movie. She was doing it out of frustration to mock the lady who was blabbering and kept calling her fiancé "baby".

It's a reference to the 1988 movie A Cry in the Dark starring Meryl Streep, who uses a New Zealand/Australian accent, as this movie was based on a true story.

The gist of that true story is:

Azaria Chamberlain (11 June 1980 – 17 August 1980) was an Australian 2-month-old baby girl who was killed by a dingo on the night of 17 August 1980 on a family camping trip to Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory.... Her parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, reported that she had been taken from their tent by a dingo.

And apparently that incident did become a bit popular after Meryl Streep's movie. In the film, Streep's character, upon discovering her daughter missing, cries out, "The dingo took my baby!" See that scene here:

As you see, it was a tragic incident. But at the party that lady was annoying Elaine by referring to her fiancé as "baby" and with an even more annoying accent when Elaine was already bored. So Elain took a shot at her and blurted out "Maybe the dingo ate your baby!" followed by an evil smile.

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    This saying was common long before the movie. The actual event surprisingly took the world media by storm including on-going coverage in local newspapers in the United States. People often debated the details of the case and trial, and the guilt or innocence of the mother with a popularity similar to the OJ trial in the following decade. This saying arose from the twisted humor in dealing with the horrifying reality of the case. May 21, 2017 at 8:19
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    Note that Elaine said it in an Australian Accent too.
    – insanity
    May 22, 2017 at 10:00
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    @insanity: Not a very good one! May 22, 2017 at 15:57
  • Yeah I'd heard the story of the dingo and the baby a few times before, but never heard of that movie.
    – GendoIkari
    May 22, 2017 at 16:05
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    There is no such thing as a 'New Zealand/Australian accent' or an 'Australian/New Zealand accent', as a citizen of either country will tell you. @PaleBlueDot Why was the edit rejected?
    – user207421
    Feb 28, 2018 at 2:56

It refers to a 1980 incident in Australia when a 2 month old baby was taken from her parents tent and eaten. Wikipedia says this:

Her body was never found. Her parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, reported that she had been taken from their tent by a dingo. Lindy Chamberlain was, however, tried for murder and spent more than three years in prison. She was released when a piece of Azaria's clothing was found near a dingo lair, and new inquests were opened. In 2012, some 32 years after Azaria's death, the Chamberlains' version of events was officially confirmed by a coroner.

  • Just having read the particulars here, what's to say the clothing was not placed, as part of a conspiracy, to make it appear to bolster the story. Jan 22, 2020 at 22:20

Both Pale Blue Dot and user1118321 have brilliantly explained the source of the "dingo" line. This post is meant to only supplement their answers.

It's worth pointing out that Julia Dreyfus (Elaine) attempts to pull off an Australian accent in the clip, but isn't very successful. Whether the bad Australian accent was deliberate or not is debatable, but in order for the joke to work, the accent is a key element.

I've not seen the episode, and only rarely have I seen an episode or two of Seinfeld, but I'm guessing that Elaine was resentful and irritated by the woman loudly asking/boasting where her fiancé was (I have lost my fiancè, the poor baby), which implies the obnoxious woman was engaged to be married, Elaine probably typifies the American single woman (in the 1980s) who was looking for her Mr. Right, but could never seem to find him. So, maybe a dingo, in its figurative sense, had also ate her chances of ever getting married...


Elanine’s referencing a well known case that took place in Australia in the early 80’s in which a small child went missing from a tent at a camp site. She’s paraphrasing what the child’s mother is alleged to have said when discovering her child gone. The mother was subsequently tried and convicted of her daughter’s murder. The evidence against her was flimsy at best and the case is now seen as a terrible instance of public opinion influencing the course of a trial. The people of Australia should be ashamed of themselves. Her conviction was overturned when a random hiker found a half-buried sweater the baby was wearing when taken. Forensic evidence supported the mother's original story. Whatever the intent of the writers, it’s distasteful. Par for the course when it comes to anything involving Larry David.

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    This doesn't add anything to the existing answers, which already mention the Azaria Chamberlain incident. Please try and make sure you're not duplicating answers that have already been provided.
    – F1Krazy
    Aug 5, 2022 at 16:26

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