When you learn English you’re taught how to speak and write ‘proper’ English, then you visit an English speaking country and start hearing some very strange slang terms. Aussie slang is certainly ‘interesting’!
So, whether you are dreaming of visiting Australia, have just arrived or have been in this gigantic island of paradise for a while, there are a few Australian terms that you should know to help you get through day to life. Although Australia is an English speaking country, arriving into the country with little knowledge of the “Aussie slang” may just get you into a few awkward situations. Aussies have a tendency to shorten most words in the English vocabulary. You will soon become accustomed to this. Here are a list of some common terms that should help you get by…
- A Cold One – Beer
- Arvo – Afternoon
- Aussie salute – Wave to scare the flies
- Bail – to cancel plans
- Barbie – Barbecue
- Bathers – Swimsuit
- Bea – Beer
- Beauty! – Great!
- Billabong – A pond in a dry riverbed
- Billy – Teapot (In the Outback on the fire)
- Bloody – very. Used to extenuate a point
- Booze Bus – Police vehicle used to catch drunk drivers
- Brekky – Breakfast
- Brolly – Umbrella
- C*nt, the “C” word – Used when exchanging pleasantries between close friends or family member. If someone calls you the “C” word in Australia (and you haven’t done anything to make them angry), then breathe a sigh of relief… it means you have entered the mate zone.
- Cab Sav – Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cactus – Dead, Broken
- Choc A Bloc – Full
- Choccy Biccy – Chocolate Biscuit
- Chrissie – Christmas
- Ciggy – a Cigarette
- Clucky – feeling maternal
- Cobber – Very good friend
- Coppers – Policemen
- Crook – Being ill or angry; ‘Don’t go crook on me for getting crook’
- Deadset – True
- Devo – Devastated
- Dunny – Toilet
- Esky – an insulated container that keeps things cold (usually beers)
- F*ck Me Dead – that’s unfortunate, that surprises me
- Fair dinkum – Honestly?
- Frothy – Beer
- G’day – Hello
- Going off – busy, lots of people
- Good On Ya – Good work
- Goon – the best invention ever produced by mankind. Goon is a cheap, boxed wine that will inevitably become an integral part of your Australian backpacking experience.
- Hard yakka – Hard work
- Heaps – loads, lots, many
- Knickers – female underwear
- Legless – Someone who is really drunk
- Lollies – Sweets
- Maccas – McDonalds
- No Worries – it’s Ok
- Nuddy – Naked
- Pash – to kiss
- Piece of Piss – easy
- Piss Off – go away, get lost
- Piss Up – a party, a get together and in Australia – most social occasions
- Piss – to urinate
- Pissed – Intoxicated, Drunk
- Reckon – for sure
- Root Rat – someone who enjoys sex (maybe a little too much)
- Rooted – Tired
- Runners – Trainers, Sneakers
- Servo Service Station
- Sickie – a sick day off work
- Slab – a carton of beers
- Snag – Sausage
- Stiffy – Erection
- Stoked – Happy, Pleased
- Straya – Australia
- Stubbie – a big Beer
- Stuffed – Tired
- Swag – Single tent
- Tea – Dinner
- Thongs – Flip Flops. Do not be alarmed if your new found Australian friend asks you to wear thongs to the beach. They are most likely expressing their concern of the hot sand on your delicate feet.
- Tucker – Food
- U-IE – to take a U-Turn when driving
- Ya – You
Other expressions are sometimes a bit more difficult to work out. When someone exclaimed to me: “OMG check out his budgie smugglers” I really had absolutely no clue what they were talking about. Let’s just say it only refers to men, and they tend to be wearing speedos!
I was at the bar and my friend says “it’s my shout mate“. Huh?! This is an important one to know. If it’s their shout they’re going to be paying. Another common one to hear at the pub is “he’s blotto“… Yeah don’t buy that guy another drink he’s already had too many!
The word “bogan” is a typically Aussie slang word as well. This word is used for people who are, well let’s say, rednecks. Or, if you like, just call your friends a bogan when they are acting weird.
If you find yourself in a bit of an argument and you begin to act unreasonably you might be told to “pull ya head in“, if however you’re right (stubborn) and you really want the other person to believe what you’re saying you can say “fair dinkum mate“. You might also hear someone exclaim “Bloody oath!“, this is a term I hear a lot… I think it just means “bloody hell”… who knows?
“Put some snags on the barbie” – this is a statement you’ll hear way more often than “Put a shrimp on the barbie”… why? Well because snags, i.e. sausages, exist, whereas in Australia shrimps don’t… they’re known as prawns!
Once you’ve been in Australia for, well, an hour, you’ll notice that nearly every word has an ‘o’ on the end of it. This is because for some weird reason Australians like to shorten every word and then add a vowel (normally an ‘o’) to the end of it… e.g. “bottle-o” (Bottle shop / off license) “serv-o” (garage / service station). Oddly though, some of these words end up being longer than they were originally. At other times they’ll just add another vowel instead of the ‘o’. MacDonalds, you know that famous fast food burger joint, is only known as Macca’s over here!
I was doing a little googling on this particular topic and came across a website, called the Australian slang dictionary. Scanning through it I found an expression that I just had to share: “He’s got kangaroos loose in the top paddock“. The meaning of the phrase? Someone who is a bit wacky. Or, as the dictionary says in a prettier way; someone who is intellectually challenged.
Top Tip! If you’re really stuck but want to seem as though you’re beginning to learn some of the local Australia language – the lingo if you will, always say hello by saying “G’day” and always add “mate” to the end of every sentence.