Ultimate Guide To Australian Slang (a little difficult to understand)
Arj Barker, an American comedian, once devised an experiment to put the Australian vernacular to the test. Suspicious of what he assumed were made-up words sprinkled into Aussie conversation for his benefit, he decided to give it a shot himself. One day, a store employee approached him and asked if he needed any assistance. ‘No thanks, I’m just having a little squidjerididge,’ Arj said, looking him in the eyes. ‘No problem mate, let me know if you need anything,’ said the salesman.
While 99% of the country does not say things like ‘throw another shrimp on the barbie!’ or ‘you little rippa!’, Aussies do abbreviate certain words, throw in the odd historical colloquialism, and have unique mannerisms and an odd sense of humour, all of which can make them a little difficult to understand.
So, for those looking to learn this unique lingo, Intrepid has put together our own (very unofficial) guide to speaking Australian (note: not all of these phrases are in common use, and vernacular varies by state, but it’s worth being prepared all the same).
A simple one to begin with. This is a fairly common greeting, at least in Australia’s more rural areas. It’s simply an abbreviation for the old English phrase ‘Good day’. It’s worth noting that some Australians may be taken aback if you try to reciprocate this one as a foreigner. If you’re feeling awkward, respond with ‘Hi, how’s it going mate?’ and hope for the best.
This one is a relic from the days of the gold rush. In general, this is used in conversation to mean something legal, fair, and above board. It derives from the gold fields of Victoria in the nineteenth century, where prospectors used the Chinese dialectic phrase ‘din gum’ to mean a weight of gold that was on the level, or true gold.
Certain words are frequently abbreviated in Australia. It’s one of the vernacular’s distinguishing features. However, if you are not expecting it, it can catch you off guard. Here are a few examples of common ones: uni (university), arvo (afternoon), smoko (smoke/snack break), bikkie (biscuit), tellie (television), footy (football).
It may sound bad, but it is simply used for emphasis. This is quite low on the scale of swearing in Australia. If something is ‘bloody good,’ it is very good; if something is ‘bloody hot,’ it is very hot (you get the idea). Use liberally and frequently, especially if the weather is hot.
Buckley’s is frequently shortened to just ‘buckley’s,’ as in the phrase ‘you’ve got Buckley’s’. This essentially means that you have no chance in hell. There’s some debate about where this phrase comes from, but most believe it comes from convict William Buckley, who escaped capture in 1803 and lived among the Wathawurung people for 32 years, rumor has it he forgot how to speak English.
Essentially, a speedo or small bathing suit. Often used to refer to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who insists on wearing them all the time. We hope no etymology is required here.
An adjective that describes something that is uncool, awkward, or a little dated. It can also be used as a noun, as in ‘he’s a bit of a jerk’. It’s not a bad word, and it can even be a term of endearment. In typical Aussie fashion, its origins have little to do with its actual use (Google it for yourself).
Someone who is uneducated or uneducated, even if they have some money. In general, a bit of a letdown. It’s the equivalent of a ‘chav’ in the UK or a’redneck’ in the US.
Like the Inuits, Australians have words for beer. Different glasses and measurements are referred to differently depending on where you are in the country. This can be so localized that asking for the wrong drink in the wrong state can cause the bartender some serious confusion. Here’s our tried-and-true guide:
In Melbourne, this is known as a ‘foursie’. This is the world’s tiniest glass of beer. You should not order it.
Volume: 115 mL (4 fl oz)
VIC and TAS are the states involved.
Another tiny beer that will almost certainly be mocked. It’s useful if you want to make the pint next to it appear larger.
140ml bottle (5 fl oz)
NSW, QLD, SA, VIC, and WA are the states involved.
A pot is a standard glass of beer across the country, representing about half a pint. The name, on the other hand, varies. It’s called a’middy’ in Sydney and Perth, a ‘half-pint’ in Canberra, a ‘handle’ in Darwin, and a’schooner’ in Adelaide.
285ml bottle (10 fl oz)
Everywhere in the United States
The difference between a pint and a pot. A good afternoon beer for catching up with friends. Except in Adelaide, where it’s probably called a pint, it’s called a schooner.
Volume: 425 mL (15 fl oz)
States: All except Washington
A typical pint. There are no tricks here, except in Adelaide, where it is known as an Imperial Pint. Nobody understands why.
570ml volume (20 fl oz)
Everywhere in the United States
Locations in Australian Slang (A-Z)
Bowlo is an abbreviation for lawn bowls.
Brisbane – Brisvegas
Brizzie – Brisbane Church City – Adelaide
Perth – the City of Lights
Ekka – Brisbane’s annual exhibition show
Footy refers to any football game (soccer, rugby, rugby league, or even Aussie rules AFL!)
Freo – Fremantle
The Garden State – Victoria
McDonalds – Maccas (even Maccas uses this one now!)
Servo – Petrol service station ‘Melbs – Melbourne RSL – Returned Services League
Straya – Australia.
Sydneysider is someone who lives in Sydney.
Tassie is an abbreviation for Tasmania.
The Alice – Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Sydney Harbour Bridge – Coathanger
The ‘G – The Melbourne Cricket Ground or MCG
Cricket Ground ‘Gabba – Woolongabba’
Wollongong, New South Wales – The Gong
Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory
The Toaster is an apartment and hotel complex located near the Sydney Opera House.
Top End – Northern Territory’s northernmost region
Uni – Short for University. Yes, the Australians will shorten anything!
Woolworths supermarkets are known as Woolies.
Australian Slang – Times (A-Z)
Afternoon – Arvo
Brekky – breakfast
Brunch – A breakfast served later in the day, closer to lunch.
Chrissie – Merry Christmas
Fortnight – 2 weeks or 14 days
Hols – vacation
Smoko – cigarette break
Expressions in Australian Slang (A-Z)
Are your ears painted on? – someone who does not pay attention
Av a go is an abbreviation for “have a go,” which means “try something.”
Bingle was involved in a minor car accident.
Bloody oath – meaning that’s the truth
Blue – to have an argument
Bring a plate – bring a food plate to the party.
Can’t be bothered – I could do that, but I don’t think I will because I don’t want to make an effort.
Carked it – died
Continuing – throwing a temper tantrum
Cheers – to toast something with a beverage and also to say thank you Choc a bloc – someone who is overstuffed from eating too much
Chockers – the same as before!
Clear as mud – something complicated explained but still not understood
Cooee is a loud cry heard in the bush.
Cool as – the as at the end emphasizes how cool it is!
Crack the whip – telling someone to hurry up!
Crook – ill
D&M – a deep and meaningful discussion
Daggy is a term used to describe someone who is not cool (can also be used affectionately)
Deadest – accurate
Deadly – truly amazing
Devo – devastated
Do the Harry Holt-Bolt and leave the party without making an announcement. Harry Holt was an Australian Prime Minister who vanished off the coast of Victoria in 1967.
Dodgy – when something is not right
Dodgy as – when something is seriously wrong
Dogs breakfast – a complete mess
Easy as – very easy
Exy is pricey.
Fair dinkum – true or genuine
Fair enough – Ok then
Feral – a wild animal, but also used to describe something bad.
All out – extremely busy
Fully sick – really cool
G’day – hello
Give me a bell – call me on the telephone
Go off like a frog in a sock and go insane.
To go troppo is to lose the plot or to go insane.
Go with the flow – see how it goes, decide later
Gobsmacked – shocked or surprised
Going off – irrationally angry to the point of yelling
Gone walkabout – someone who has wandered away (repurposed from indigenous heritage)
Good on you – well done or good for you (can be abbreviated “on you”)
Hard yakka – difficult work
Have a captain cook – have a look
Have a crack – try something new
Heaps – many or a lot, as in “I miss you heaps.”
Hectic is cool and good.
Hit the frog and toad – leaving a trail of destruction
Hooroo – farewell
How are things going for you?
When you’re more than tired, you’re knackered. Pure exhaustion.
Iffy is a little risky.
It’s cactus – something is broken
Lipstick – Lippy
Mad as a cut snake – crazy
Mates rates – significant savings by knowing someone
Mucking around- When you are not focused on the task and you know you will get into trouble, we were just mucking around!
My Shout – When you offer to pay for the bill or the next round of drinks.
No worries – when you hear this, you know everything will be fine.
Not fussed – don’t care
One for the road – last drink
Pash – kiss
Play it by ear, see how it goes, and make a decision later.
Pozzie – excellent placement
Rev up – when someone purposefully teases some one (like revving up a motor)
Righto – ok then
Rip off – when someone charges an exorbitant price for something.
Ripper – fantastic!
Ripsnorter is having a great time.
Rug up – dress warmnly
She’ll be right – It’s fine
Skite – to brag or boast
Snowed inunder – when you have too much on your plate.
Spit the dummy – when an adult has a tantrum
Squiz – take a look
Sticky Beak – take a look
Stoked – when you are extremely pleased with something
Struth or Strewth – truth, derived from “God’s truth”
Stuffed – tired or stuffed
Stunned mullet – shocked
Sus it out – This expression is used when someone discovers something and informs you about it.
Sweet – good
Sweet as – amazing, the ‘as’ at the end emphasizes
Ta – thank you
Taking a sickie – messaging work you are unwell (when you are not)
Tee-up – to arrange a meeting, as in “I’ll tee it up.”
Thingy-ma-jig – a word used when you can’t remember the name of an object.
Too right – a term of agreement
Try hard – a negative term for someone who goes out of their way to please others.
U-ey – u-turn when driving
Veg out – relax
Yeah, nah – means the person heard you say ‘yeah,’ but they disagree with what you said (confusing!).
What’s the john dory – what’s the story
Within cooee – within shouting distance
Wonky – something is shaky or wobbly.
Woop woop – out in the middle of nowhere
You’ve got buckleys- no way! (Historically, William Buckley had no chance of bringing settlers and indigenous peoples together.)
Zilch – nothing, nada, zero
Food Slang in Australia (A-Z)
Avo – avocado
BLT stands for bacon lettuce tomato sandwich.
Bubbles – sparkling wine
Chewie is a chewing gum.
Choccy biccy – chocolate biscuit
Chook means “chicken.”
Cuppa – tea cup
Dog’s eye – meat pie
Flat white – coffee with milk
Icy pole is a flavor-infused ice treat on a stick.
Jaffle – toasted sandwich
Lamington is a small square of chocolate and coconut flakes-covered sponge cake.
Lollies are sweets.
Mushies are a type of mushroom.
Pavlova is a meringue dessert with cream and toppings that originated in either Australia or New Zealand.
Roadie – someone who drinks while driving.
Sambo is a sandwich.
Sanga is the same as sambo.
Schnitzel, a breaded chicken or veal fillet
Slab – 24 beer cans
Snag – sausage
Spaghetti bolognaise – Spag bol
Stubby – a small beer bottle
Tinnie – a beer can
Tucker – food
Vino means “wine.”
Items or things in Australian slang (A-Z)
Barbie is having a barbecue (BBQ)
Bathers are swimsuits.
Boardies are swimsuits.
Bog – toilet
Bog roll – toilet paper
Box seat – best seat
Brollie is an umbrella.
Budgie Smugglers is a male swimwear brand (speedos)
Ciggie is an abbreviation for “cigarette.”
Durry – same as ciggie
Esky – An ice chest used to keep drinks and food cool at a barbecue.
Facey is an abbreviation for Facebook.
Grey nurse – grey $100 Australian note
Jocks are men’s underwear.
Lobster – red Australian $20 note
Pineapple – Australian $50 note in yellow
Prezzie – present
Rego – vehicle registration
Sunglasses are sunglasses.
Telly stands for television.
Thongs are flip-flops.
Togs are swimsuits.
Tracksuit pants are known as trackie daks.
Uggies are sheepskin boots that keep your feet warm.
Undies are underwear.
Animals and insects are examples of Aussie slang (A-Z)
Blowie – fly away
Chicken is referred to as a chook.
Cockie – Cockatoo, a native Australian bird with a sulphur (yellow) crest.
Mozzie is an abbreviation for mosquito.
Roo – Kangaroo
People in Australian Slang (A-Z)
Ambo is an ambulance officer.
Bloke is a male person.
Bludger – someone who is sluggish
Bogan is a socially unacceptable or impolite person.
Copper is a police officer.
Garbo is a trash collector.
Greenie – a conservationist or environmentalist
Journo – journalist
Mates are friends.
Pollie is a politician.
Postie – a mail carrier
Relo – family
Roomie – roommate
Secos are security personnel.
Sook is a person who enjoys crying over things.
A surfie is a surfer.
Vego means “vegetarian.”
Westie – someone from Western Sydney
Aussie Slang – Feelings (A-Z)
Angry – Aggro
Awks are short for “awkward.”
Crikey, I’m surprised.
Devo – devastated
Full on – intense
Jelly – envious
Uni slang in Australia (A-Z)
Biro is a pen (brand name)
Doco refers to a documentary program.
Tutes are smaller, less formal lessons.
There you have it. Scape’s ultimate guide to Australian slang. Why not try dropping a few Aussie slang words into your next conversation with your roommate?
Topic: Ultimate Guide To Australian Slang (a little difficult to understand)
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