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A recent Magazine article about the decline of Australian slang prompted readers to share some of their favourite expressions.
The piece, by Sydney correspondent Jon Donnison, looked at the huge contribution to “strine” made by Barry Humphries and terms originating in the country's legendary laddish drinking culture. Here's a selection of other slang phrases you sent in.
As crook as Rookwood – seriously ill. “Crook” being really sick, at death's door, and Rookwood being the biggest cemetery in Australia. Louise Whitby, Sydney, Australia
Bogan – chav. Best said in a strong accent! Kate, Essex
Cark it – die. Louise Whitby, Sydney, Australia
23 Funny Aussie Slang Examples That Need Translation To English
Having grown up in Australia, I sometimes take our weird and wonderful lingo for granted. Sure, every culture develops its own unique slang; I thought I had learned Spanish until I turned up in Spain to discover that people have a 'language within a language,' countless funny and often rude idioms and phrases that they just don't teach you at school.
Australia is the same. You haven't truly experienced Australia until you've had a chat with a random bogan in a bluey, durry in hand while smashing down a tinny in his stubbies and thongs.
If you're lucky, he might let you help yourself to the contents of his esky, chuck a snag or two on the barbie and discuss whether he reckons the pies have got a chance of winning the flag this year.
(Pro tip: the pies are a bunch of sooks and sheilas, catters all the way mate).
Needless to say, when foreigners come into contact with all this nonsensical Australian slang, it can be a bit of a head-scratcher.
The internet is providing tons of opportunities for a bit of cross-cultural education, and it's always fun trying to help the uninitiated try to decode our unique way of using English words.
Need proof? Scroll down below to check out some Tumblr users who were just fair dinkum stumped by it the Aussie slang, and needed an explanation. What do ya reckon? Let us know what you think in the comments!
In order to help you with the short intro above, here are a few funny words to say:
Bogan: An uncouth or unsophisticated person regarded as being of low social status, similar to your American redneck, but used in a slightly more good-natured way.
“Check out that fella with the mullet. What a bogan!”
Durry: A cigarette, usually of the Winny Gold or PJ 30s variety. But never menthols. That shit'll give you cancer.
Tinny: A can of ice-cold beer, often a VB, Tooheys, Swan Lager or XXXX, depends on what state you're in. But never, ever a Fosters.
“Hey Macca, ya got a spare durry mate? I'm fangin' for one over here.” “Yeah righto Robbo, hold me tinny and I'll grab ya one, ya bloody scab.”
Bluey: A blue singlet, traditionally made by the brand Bonds, that you can wear to just about any occasion in the summer months. Often also referred to with a slang word 'wife-beater,' but this term has become increasingly frowned upon.
“Bloody hell Charlene, I'm down to my last 6 blueys! Grab us a pack next time you're in town will ya?”
Stubbies and Thongs: Completing the bogan uniform are apair of short, tight shorts, perfect for showing off those chicken legs and accentuating the beer gut. And no, not a G-string (G-banga), thongs are footwear that are otherwise known as flip-flops or, hilariously, 'jandals' if you're a kiwi (New Zealander).
“I've busted a plug on me thongs again, anyone got any gaffa tape?”
Esky: A portable, hard-plastic cooler that comes in a variety of colours and sizes, and is most useful for chocking up with ice and beer. Also makes a great makeshift chair at the cricket or footy.
Snag: A sausage. A staple at any normal BBQ (barbie), often wrapped diagonal-wise on a single piece of white bread and smothered in tomato sauce. A few grilled onions thrown on top if you're feeling particularly gourmet.
Other barbie favourites include: rissoles, which are basically burger patties with a few breadcrumbs mixed in; steak, T-bone is a favorite cut, and a bit of salad on the side.
Contrary to the popularized saying 'chuck another shrimp on the barbie,' that must be happening in another part of Australia coz I never saw a shrimp at a barbie in my life.
Pies and Catters:
9 Australian Slang Terms that Make Horrible Things Sound Fun
A few weeks ago, I was a guest on the Newbie Writers podcast, and one of the hosts, Damien Boath, is Australian.
Over the course of our conversation, I came to realize that Australians can make anything sound fun. They seem to have cute nicknames for even the most horrible, gross, and annoying things.
There are cockies in the dunny, mate sounds fun, right? It's not. Here's a sample of Australian slang:
Just looking for a photo made me nauseated.
Some people call them the most dangerous animal in the world. Australians call them mozzies.
I wonder whether other languages have cute nicknames for the toilet. I suppose potty sounds fun to people who don't speak English.
A car accident.
Accident sounds so negative. Sure, maybe you ran over a kid's trike, but it was just a bingle. Apparently there's an Australian insurance company called Bingle Insurance. Maybe someone should start Crash Insurance in the US.
A traffic ticket.
Maybe Americans do this too. I remember hearing someone say he “popped a dooey,” and having no idea what he meant. Turns out a “dooey” is what you get when driving under the influence, a DUI ticket. Not funny.
The first thing that comes to mind when I hear bounce is a bouncy house. Fun! In Australia a bounce is a bully. Not so fun.
7. Liquid laugh
When you've been drinking all night, I suppose anything can sound fun.
8. Aussie Salute
Brushing away flies.
OK, I do laugh thinking of people swatting flies. I once saw a hilarious interview on CNBC of some important business guy giving an interview near a water trap on a golf course while being attacked by bugs. They were probably mozzies, but it was still funny.
A boring stick-in-the-mud.
If an Australian told me we were going out to dinner with a wowser, I'd be psyched. I'd be wrong.
Sources: Damien Boath and http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian-slang.html
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
25 Awesome Australian Slang Terms
by Helena Hedegaard Holmgren
Australian English is more than just an accent, and the Aussie vernacular can easily leave both English speakers and foreigners perplexed. Australian English is similar to British English, but many common words differ from American English—and there are many unique Aussie idiosyncrasies, slang terms, and expressions.
The term for Aussie slang and pronunciation is strine, and it is often characterized by making words as short as possible; the story goes it developed by speaking through clenched teeth to avoid blowies (blow flies) from getting into the mouth. So if you plan to visit the world’s smallest continent, this list of some of the most commonly used slang expressions is for you.
1. Arvo: afternoon
2. Barbie: barbeque
3. Bogan: redneck, an uncultured person.
According to the Australian show Bogan Hunters, a real bogan sports a flanno (flannel shirt), a mullet, missing teeth, homemade tattoos (preferably of the Australian Flag or the Southern Cross), and has an excess of Australia paraphernalia. This “species of local wildlife” can be found by following their easily distinguishable tracks from burnouts or the smell of marijuana.
- 4. Bottle-O: bottle shop, liquor store
- 5. Chockers: very full
- 6. Esky: cooler, insulated food and drink container
- 7. Fair Dinkum: true, real, genuine
- 8. Grommet: young surfer
- 9. Mozzie: mosquito
10. Pash: a long passionate kiss. A pash rash is red irritated skin as the result of a heavy make-out session with someone with a beard.
11. Ripper: really great
12. Roo: kangaroo. A baby roo, still in the pouch, is known as a Joey
13. Root: sexual intercourse. This one can get really get foreigners in trouble. There are numerous stories about Americans coming to Australia telling people how they love to “root for their team.” If you come to Australia, you would want to use the word “barrack” instead. On the same note, a “wombat” is someone who eats roots and leaves.
14. Servo: gas station. In Australia, a gas station is called a petrol station. If you ask for gas, don’t be surprised if someone farts.
15. She’ll be right: everything will be all right
16. Sickie: sick day. If you take a day off work when you are not actually sick it’s called chucking a sickie.
17. Slab: 24-pack of beer
18. Sook: to sulk. If someone calls you a sook, it is because they think you are whinging
19. Stubbie holder: koozie or cooler. A stubbie holder is a polystyrene insulated holder for a stubbie, which is a 375ml bottle of beer.
20. Sweet as: sweet, awesome. Aussies will often put ‘as’ at the end of adjectives to give it emphasis. Other examples include lazy as, lovely as, fast as and common as.
21. Ta: thank you
22. Togs: swim suit
23. Tradie: a tradesman. Most of the tradies have nicknames too, including brickie (bricklayer), truckie (truckdriver), sparky (electrician), garbo (garbage collector) and chippie (carpenter).
24. Ute: Utility vehicle, pickup truck
25. Whinge: whine
Good onya, mate! Understanding the Aussies should be easy as now.
Additional Sources: Urban Attitude; All Down Under – Slang Dictionary; Australian Words – Meanings and Origins; Australian Dictionary; Koala Net; Australian Explorer; Up from Australia; YouTube, 2; McDonalds.
50+ Australian Slang Terms To Make You Sound Like You’re From Down Under
Australians are known for many things — spanning from being delinquent outcasts from Britain, to living in one of the most beautiful areas of the world, to Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin. But above all else, one of the most endearing things about an Australian is the way they speak.
Although most people who aren’t from Australia hear Aussie slang terms and scoff at how “they’re just shortforms of real words” — a lot of words we use today originated from the Lucky Country.
For example, the word selfie, which was Oxford Dictionaries’ “Word Of The Year” originated from an Australian named Nathan Hope, who actually came up with the world while completely inebriated on the internet.
Now, the Oxford Dictionary has started to add more and more Australian terms to it’s English lexicon, with an estimated 2,000 new words being introduced into the dictionary.
Australian slang is becoming so popular, that it has started to pique the interest of social scientists and psychologists. Dr. Nenagh Kemp, a psychologist from the University of Tasmania, is studying the slang and why Australians feel the need to shorten so many of their words. On that he has said:
“We don’t have a lot of information on this really essential part of our language and our culture,” Nenagh says. “It sounds obvious: we make words shorter to save us a bit of time and effort.
But some diminutives actually make words longer, like Tommo for Tom. And we don’t really save a lot of time by saying barbie instead of barbecue.
I think we all have an intuitive feeling that these words also make an interaction more informal, more friendly and relaxed.”
This makes a lot of sense, as Aussies are also known for their fun loving, laid back nature, and a lot of that stems from the way they speak. So, to celebrate everyone’s favorite foreigners, we’ve put together a list of our 50+ favorite Aussie slang terms.
- 1. Brekky: breakfast
- 2. Maccas: McDonalds
- 3. Arvo: afternoon
- 4. Bloody: very
- 5. Sauce: ketchup
- 6. Bogan: sort of like dickhead, asshole
- 7. Tea: dinner
- 8. Fresh off the boat: new to Australia
- 9. Heaps: a lot
- 10. G’day: hello
- 11. Pissed: drunk
12. Good onya: good work, well done
13. How ya goin’?: how are you?
- 14. Too easy: sounds good, works for me
- 15. Easy as: no problem
- 16. Mate: friend
- 17. No worries: it’s all good
- 18. Piece of piss: easy task
- 19. Reckon: for sure/think/assume
- 20. Ripper: great
- 21. Air con: air conditioning
- 22. Snag: sausage in bread
- 23. Bathers: swimsuit
- 24. Bench: a countertop or table
- 25. Jumper: sweatshirt
- 26. Bottle-o: liquor store and bear distributor
- 27. Hens party: bachelorette party
- 28. Feral: poor/scummy/dirt bag
- 29. Dag: someone who doesn’t dress well
- 30. Docket: receipt
- 31. Esky: freezer
- 32. Fag: cigarette
- 33. Hungry Jack’s: Burger King
- 34. No dramas: no worries
- 35. Get stuffed: piss off
- 36. Pram: stroller
- 37. Rock up: arrive or show up
- 38. My shout: I’ll get this round
- 39. Stubbie: bottle of beer
- 40. Stubbie holder: coozie
- 41. Suss: size up
- 42. Sweet as: something really good
- 43. Thongs: flip flops
- 44. Trolley: shopping cart
- 45. Wanker: ridiculous person
- 46. Grouse: awesome
- 47. Brolly: umbrella
- 48. Chips: french fries
- 49. Servo: gas station
- 50. Bikkie: costing a lot
- 51. Bloody oath: that’s damn true
- 52. Bogged: stuck
- 53. Built like a brick shithouse: referring to someone being very big / strong
- 54. Cark it: die
- 55. Chokkie: chocolate
- 56. Chook: chicken
- 57. Chrissie: Christmas
- 58. Coldie: cold beer
- 59. Crook: to be sick / to describe something gross
- 60. Stands out like dogs balls: something obvious
- 61. Footy: Australian Rules Football / AFL — a popular sport
- 62. Freo: Fremantle, Australia
- 63. Gutful of piss: drunk
- 64. Hoon: hooligan
- 65. Icy Pole: popsicle
- 66. Mates Rate: friend’s discount
- 67. Mozzie: mosquito
- 68. Op Shop: thrift store
- 69. Ratbag: insult
- 70. Roadie: A beer you buy solely to take with you in the car
- 71. Root: to have sex with someone
- 72. Sanger: sandwich
- 73. Shark biscuit: a surfing novice
- 74. Sheila: a woman
- 75. To Skull: to chug (let’s skull a beer)
- 76. Squizz: To take a look at something (have a squizz at this)
- 77. As useful as an ashtray on a motorbike: referring to something that is in fact, not useless
78. As useful as tits on a bull: see above.
79. Whinge: to complain
80. Bruce: an Aussie man.
Bonus: Australian sex slang
Here’s a rundown from author Kat George kind of slang used in Australia to describe sex acts. So enjoy good folks of America some of the dirty words used down under.
81. Got The Hots For: The act of having a crush on someone. i.e. “OMG so Sally Jones totally has the hots for Johnno.”
82. Pash: The act of kissing someone i.e. “OMG Sally Jones and Johnno totally pashed!”
See also: Kate Cebrano’s “Pash”; “Disco Pash” (the act of kissing a random at a club/bar/disco) and “Pash and Dash” (the act of kissing a random at a club/bar/disco and never seeing them again; the one night stand of kissing).
83. Wristy: The act of jerking off a man, i.e. “She gave him a wristy in the bathroom at the party.”
84. Gobby: The act of giving a man a blow job, i.e. “Then she got on her knees and have him a gobby.”
85. Cop A Root: The act of having sex i.e. “Did you cop a root?”
See also: “A Cheeky Root” (the act of having sex when it’s a bad idea, guilt free; the use of “cheeky” in front of any elicit act for instance smoking a “cheeky” ciggie, doing a “cheeky” line, implies you’re not responsible for the irresponsible behaviour despite engaging willingly/wanting to engage/being the one to suggest engaement); “Root Rat” (a person that enjoys a cheeky root more often than not).
86. Smash Your Back Out: The act of having sex, i.e. “Let me take you back to the shed, throw you on the workbench, and smash your back out.” It’s commonly accepted that Australians don’t “do” things, but that they “smash” things; applies equally to smashing beer, smashing vegemite toast, smashing a run, etc.
87. Tits Out For The Boys: A chant commonly used by drunk bros around women, usually while clapping in time to the words, i.e. “Tits! Out! For the Boys! Tits out for the boys!”
88. Toeir Than A Roman Sandal: Someone that is very horny, i.e. “All these babes are making me toeir than a Roman sandal.”
89. Jut (Pronounced “Joot”): A vagina i.e. “My joot’s itchy.”
90. Tosser: A slur against someone implying that they masturbate a lot; wanker, i.e. “Johnno cheated on Sally Jones, what a fucking tosser.”
91. Spoof: Semen, i.e. “I got his spoof in my hair, how embarrassing.” Also used to imply aimlessness in life, i.e. “I just spoofed about all day.”
A Rough Guide to Australian Slang
Australian English (or Aussie slang, really) is a language of subtle poetry. A beautiful tongue made up of colourful metaphors and delicately constructed witticisms, but it is also a language of simplicity.
It is the language of a people who call things what they are while simultaneously looking to limit the amount of time it takes to get a point across.
It’s a contrasting tongue – a mix of the obvious (calling soda ‘fizzy drink’) and the almost indecipherable (‘putting it on the Never Never’ means paying on a credit card).
Australian English is a language that takes a little getting used to, but I’m hoping this far from complete guide to Australian slang will put you in good stead for those awkward few days where it’s all ‘G’day’ and ‘Strewth’ and you’ve got no idea what’s going on. But damned if it doesn’t sound sexy in that Aussie drawl.
After my recent trek to the US showed me just how confusing our language can be, I’ve gone ahead and put through a (far from complete) dictionary of Australian slang for your reading pleasure. Please do let me know if I’ve missed any and I’ll be sure to update.
Food & Drink
Don’t believe was New Zealanders say. Hell, don’t even believe the facts – pavlovas are as Australian as Phar Lap and Russell Crowe.
Australian food and Australian slang have quite a bit in common. We’re a people of relatively simple tastes, and you’ll notice that virtually everything gets shortened down. I’m certain I’ve missed more than a few here – particularly when it comes to regional variations. Help a brother out!
- Avo: Short for avocado.
- Barbie: Short for barbeque.
- Beetroot: Beet. Popular on hamburgers.
- Billy: Tea pot. Sometimes also refers to a bong.
- Biscuit/Bickie: Cookie.
- Booze: Alcohol.
- Bottle Shop/Bottle-O: A liquor store.
- Brekkie: Short for breakfast.
- Bush Tucker: Food made from Australian native plants and animals.
- Capsicum: Bell pepper.
- Carton/slab: A pack of 24 beers (cans or bottles).
- Chewie: Chewing gum. Bubble gum.
- Chips: Used for both potato chips and fries (sometimes called hot chips).
- Chook: Chicken.
- Cuppa: A cup of tea.
- Damper: Bread baked in campfire coals.
- Devon/Luncheon: Bologna.
- Dog’s eye with dead horse: Rhyming slang for meat pie with sauce.
- Esky: Cooler or ice box.
- Fairy floss: Cotton candy.
- Fizzy Drink: Soda. Pop. Sometimes called Soft Drink.
- Frankfurt/Saveloy/Cheerio: Weiner.
- Goon: Cheap wine, usually purchased in a 4L box or cask.
- Grog: Alcohol of any kind. See also grog bog.
- Hamburger: It should be noted that all cases of something served between buns are called hamburgers in Australia. There are no chicken or fish sandwiches. Only chicken and fish burgers.
- Iceblock/Icy Pole: Non dairy popsicle.
- Icecream: Specific to the variety served in a cone.
- Jug: Electric kettle.
- Lamington: A square of sponge cake covered in chocolate icing (frosting) and coconut.
- Lolly: Candy.
- Long neck/tall boy: A 750ml beer bottle.
- Maccas: McDonalds.
- Middy (NSW & WA)/Handle (NT)/Schooner (SA)/Pot (All other states): A beer glass measuring 285mls (10 oz).
- Morning Tea: Similar to recess or brunch. A light meal between breakfast and lunch.
- On the piss: Drinking alcohol.
- Pavlova/Pav: A dessert made of meringue, fresh fruit, and cream.
- Paw Paw: Papaya.
- Pint (All states bar SA)/Imperial Pint (SA): A beer glass measuring 570mls (20 oz).
- Piss: Alcohol. Ex: Nah mate, I was on the piss all weekend.
- Pluto Pup/Dagwood Dog: Akin to a corn dog, but made using flour instead of corn meal.
- Prawn: Large shrimp. Not eaten fresh from the barbie.
- Roast: Sometimes called a baked dinner. A roast meat with vegetables.
- Rock Melon: Cantaloupe.
- Roo: Kangaroo meat.
- Sanger: Short for sandwich.
- Schooner (All states bar SA)/Pint (SA): A beer glass measuring 425mls (15 oz).
- Silverside: Corned beef.
- Skull: To ‘chug’ a beer. Generally in one go.
- Smoko: A smoke or coffee break.
- Snag: Sausage.
- Spag Bol: Spaghetti bolognese.
- Spirits: Liquor.
- Spud: Potato.
- Stubby: A 375ml beer bottle.
- Sweets: Dessert.
- Tea: Not to be confused with the drink. This is another word for dinner.
- Tinny/stubbie: Can of beer.
- Tomato sauce: Ketchup. What Americans call tomato sauce is known as pasta sauce in Australia.
- Tucker: Food.
- Tucker bag/box: A container for food.
- Turps: Short for turpentine, but also used to refer to alcohol.
- Vegemite: A salty, yeast based spread.
- Yabby/Craybob/Crayfish: Fresh-water shellfish.
A Note on Beer Measurement