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. Australian slang is certainly ‘interesting’! Whether you’re dreaming of visiting Australia, have just arrived or have been in this gigantic island of paradise for a while, there are a few Australian slang words that you should learn to help you get through day to day life.
Although Australia is an English speaking country, arriving into the country with little knowledge of the most popular Aussie slang words may just get you into a few awkward situations. It’s worth noting that Aussies have a tendency to shorten most words in the English vocabulary as well. You will soon become accustomed to this! Here are a list of some common slang words (some found in other English speaking countries) that should help you get by…
If we’ve missed any please free to leave a comment below.
125 Australian Slang Words & Phrases
- A Cold One – Beer
- Accadacca – How Aussies refer to Australian band ACDC
- Ankle Biter – Child
- Arvo – Afternoon (S’Arvo – this afternoon!)
- Aussie Salute – Wave to scare the flies
- Avo – Avocado
- Bail – To cancel plans. ‘Bruce bailed’ = Bruce isn’t going to turn up.
- Barbie – Barbecue
- Bathers – Swimsuit
- Beauty! – Great! Most often exclaimed as “You Beauty”
- Billabong – A pond in a dry riverbed
- Billy – Teapot (In the Outback on the fire)
- Bloody – Very. Used to extenuate a point
- Bloody oath – yes or its true. “You right mate?”… “Bloody Oath”
- Bludger – Someone who’s lazy, generally also who relies on others (when it’s someone who relies on the state they’re often called a ‘dole bludger’)
- Bogan – 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.
- Booze Bus – Police vehicle used to catch drunk drivers
- Bottle-O – Bottle Shop, basically a place to buy alcohol
- Brekky – Breakfast
- Brolly – Umbrella
- Bruce – An Aussie Bloke
- Buckleys Chance – little chance (see this)
- Budgie Smugglers – Speedos
- Buggered – Exhausted
- Bush – “Out in the bush” – “he’s gone bush” In the countryside away from civilisation
- Cab Sav – Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cactus – Dead, Broken
- Choc A Bloc – Full
- Choccy Biccy – Chocolate Biscuit
- Chook – Chicken
- Chrissie – Christmas
- Ciggy – a Cigarette
- Clucky – feeling maternal
- Cobber – Very good friend. ‘Alright me ‘ol cobber’.
- Coldie – Beer. ‘Come over for a few coldie’s mate.’
- Coppers – Policemen
- Crack the shits – Getting angry at someone or something
- Crikey – an expression of surprise
- Crook – Being ill or angry; ‘Don’t go crook on me for getting crook’
- 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.
- Dag – Someone who’s a bit of a nerd or geek.
- Daks – Trousers. ‘Tracky daks’ = sweatpants (tracksuit pants)
- Dardy – meaning “cool”, is used amongst South West Australian Aboriginal peoples and has also been adopted by non-indigenous teens. – source
- Deadset – True
- Defo – Definitely
- Devo – Devastated
- Drongo – a Fool, ‘Don’t be a drongo mate’
- Dunny – Toilet
- Durry – Cigarette
- Esky – An insulated container that keeps things cold (usually beers)
- Facey – Facebook
- Fair Dinkum – ‘Fair Dinkum?’ … ‘Fair Dinkum!’ = Honestly? … Yeah honestly!
- Flannie / Flanno – flannelette shirt
- Flat out – Really busy – “Flat out like a lizard drinking” – As busy as a bee
- Footy – Football (AFL / Aussie Rules)
- Frothy – Beer
- F*ck Me Dead – that’s unfortunate, that surprises me
- Furphy – rumours or stories that are improbable or absurd
- G’day – Hello
- Galah – an Australian cockatoo with a reputation for not being bright, hence a galah is also a stupid person.
- Gnarly – awesome – often used by surfers
- Going off – busy, lots of people / angry person “he’s going off”
- 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
- Hoon – Hooligan (normally driving badly!)
- Iffy – bit risky or unreasonable
- Knickers – female underwear
- Lappy – Laptop
- Larrikin – Someone who’s always up for a laugh, bit of a harmless prankster
- Legless – Someone who is really drunk
- Lollies – Sweets
- Maccas – McDonalds
- Manchester – Sheets / Linen etc. If you’re from England, finding a department within a shop called Manchester could seriously confuse you.
- Mongrel – Someone who’s a bit of a dick
- Mozzie – Mosquito
- No Drama – No problem / it’s ok
- No Worries – No problem / it’s ok
- No Wucka’s – A truly Aussie way to say ‘no worries’
- Nuddy – Naked
- Outback – The interior of Australia, “The Outback” is more remote than those areas named “the bush”
- 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 Piss) to urinate
- Pissed – Intoxicated, Drunk
- Pissed Off – Annoyed
- Rack Off – The less offensive way to tell someone to ‘F Off’!
- Rapt – Very happy
- Reckon – for sure. ‘You Reckon?’… ‘I reckon!’
- Rellie / Rello – Relatives
- Ripper – ‘You little ripper’ = That’s fantastic mate!
- Root Rat – someone who enjoys sex (maybe a little too much)
- Rooted – Tired or Broken
- Runners – Trainers, Sneakers
- Sanger – Sandwich
- Servo – Service Station / Garage
- Shark biscuit – kids at the beach
- Sheila – A woman
- She’ll be apples – Everything will be alright
- Shoot Through – To leave
- Sick – awesome; ‘that’s really sick mate’
- Sickie – a sick day off work, or ‘to pull a sickie’ would be to take a day off when you aren’t actually sick
- Skull – To down a beer
- Slab – A carton of beers
- Smoko – Cigarette break
- Snag – Sausage
- Stiffy – Erection
- Stoked – Happy, Pleased
- Straya – Australia
- Strewth – An exclamation of surprise
- Stubby – a bottle of beer
- Stubby Holder – Used so your hands don’t get cold when holding your beer, or to stop your hands making your beer warm!
- Stuffed – Tired
- Sunnies – Sunglasses
- Swag – Single bed you can roll up, a bit like a sleeping bag.
- Tea – Dinner
- Tinny – Can of beer or small boat
- 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.
- True Blue – Genuinely Australian
- Tucker – Food. ‘Bush Tucker’ tends to be food found in the Outback such as witchety grubs.
- Two Up – A gambling game played on Anzac day.
- U-IE – to take a U-Turn when driving
- Up Yourself – Stuck up
- Woop Woop – middle of nowhere “he lives out woop woop”
- Ya – You
- Yous – (youse) plural of you!
Some of these words may not be as commonly used these days, but you might still hear them being used ironically or by older Australians.
How To Speak Australian
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 to the end of it… e.g. “bottle-o” (Bottle shop / off license) “servo” (garage / service station).
Oddly though, some of these words end up being longer than they were originally. At other times they’ll just add a different vowel instead of the ‘o’. MacDonalds, you know that famous fast food burger joint, is only known as Macca’s over here! I think the video below perfectly illustrates this unique way of speaking Australian!
Australian Phrases & Sayings
Some phrases can be a bit more difficult to work out than the abbreviations Australians use. 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“.
Worried that something isn’t going to plan? “No worries, she’ll be right mate” – It’s not a problem, everything will be okay!
“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!
Heard that someone is “Flat out like a lizard drinking“? The English phrase for this would be “busy as a bee”.
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.
Now you’ve learnt some Australian slang and phrases why not try some typical Aussie Food?
Or Learn about some Australian Animals (A-Z list with pictures and facts)