Australian slang

Australian slang is informal language used in Australia.

This guide should be viewed as an informal and fun introduction to some Australian idiosyncrasies, rather than a guide on how to communicate.

Increasing globalisation and a move away from rural living has seen Australian English adopt a lot of American terms while at the same time romanticising words commonly associated with the bush. Australians mostly view their slang as being uniquely Australian and an integral part of their culture. Judging by the number of Australian slang books available on the shelves, it remains of interest to travellers too.

Many parts of Australian slang have their origins outside Australia, particularly in England and Ireland. Don't be surprised if many terms seem familiar. However, don't assume that similar slang expressions have the same meaning to Australians as they might in other countries. An attempt to use some Australian slang will likely be viewed as an attempt to mock, rather than as a genuine attempt to speak the local dialect. It's better to use the guide to interpret Steve Irwin's TV shows.

English-speaking travellers are best advised just to speak clearly, as most Australians are used to a variety of accents. However, it can never hurt to say "G'day, How are ya goin'" to an Aussie. You can also ask for your chips to take-away, rather than fries to go.

Greetings

G'day 
Hello.
How ya goin' 
How are you?
Not bad mate 
Fine, thank you.
Cheers mate 
Thank you.
No worries / No drama 
You're welcome (in response to thank you)
Oi.
Excuse me (may be regarded as uncouth by some people)
You're right 
That is okay (in response to sorry)
Yeah, nah  
I understand but disagree
See ya later  
Goodbye
Hoo roo 
Goodbye
Take it easy 
Goodbye

Time

Arvo
afternoon, eg "Let's meet for a schooner this arvo".
Yonks
commonly used to convey an exaggerated view of time, eg "I haven't seen you in yonks".

Colours

Bluey 
Red hair
Ranga
Red haired (This can be considered offensive.)

Cursing

Bastards

You may hear this a lot and it can be used in a wide range of situations, and confusingly it can be either affectionate or insulting. It is not as strong as its use in British English. For example if you experience some luck then you may be referred to as a 'lucky bastard' (in a positive sense). Generally anyone in authority, especially politicians, can be referred to as 'bastards', although a politician with a good and honest reputation may be referred to as a 'good kind of bastard'. You can occasionally refer to friends as bastards, but you should avoid with strangers.

Bugger
Damn - a common expression of disappointment, not offensive to most.
Drongo
an idiot or a fool
Bloody bastard
very commonly used for an idiot
Root
Sexual intercourse, similar to the British word 'Shag'. Can also be used as a verb.

Eating and Drinking

Grab a feed 
Get something to eat
Middy, Pot, Schooner, Handle
Various sizes of glass (usually used for beer). Definitions vary by state.
Take-away
Fast food also used instead of "to go" when ordering food.
Pissed 
drunk (as opposed to annoyed, though can be used to mean annoyed in context)
Scab 
To scrounge off a friend, as in scab a feed.
Bludge 
To be lazy, or to scab, as in bludge a feed.
Grog 
alcoholic drink, likely beer.
Plonk 
Cheap wine.
Goon 
Plonk in a cask.
Barbie(s) 
Barbecue.
Sanga(s) 
Sausage.

People

Mate
Anybody at all, only commonly used by males, friends - especially when you forget their name.
Aussie 
Australian - pronounced Ozzy.
Mob
A group of family or friends - "us mob".
Youse
Plural of you - pronounced Yooz.
Bogan
An uneducated person; (similar to the British 'chav') favoured expression outside of Sydney to describe Westies.
Westie
A person from the western suburbs of Sydney or Melbourne. (both being working-class neighbourhoods)
Brickie
Bricklayer
Sparkie
Electrician
Chippie
Carpenter
Bikie
Biker, usually used to refer to members of an outlaw motorcycle gang, rather than members of a motorbike club.
Smackie
Smackhead, as in a heroin addict
Ocker
A crude, uncultured Aussie.
Banana Benders
Queenslanders
Sandgropers
Western Australians
Shiela
A woman
Yank
An American
Seppo
An American (pejorative)
Kiwi
A New Zealander
Pom/Pommy
An Englishman
Chink
A Chinese person (pejorative)
Gook
An Asian (pejorative)
Fob
An immigrant, often used to describe Pacific Islanders (pejorative). Stands for "Fresh Off (the) Boat", i.e. a recent immigrant.
Wog
Someone from Southern Europe, Eastern Europe or the Middle East (using this term is considered racist)
Noonga
An Indigenous Australian (pejorative, more commonly used in Western Australia)

Geography

The bush
areas outside of major cities and towns.
The outback
often attributed to the deserts of inland Australia, but more often, that which is further away from cities than the 'bush' on the coast
Bushfire
wildfire
Elsewhere
- often used in weather reports in the past, usually further inland away from cities and coast
Whoop Whoop
The middle of nowhere (eg: So I was stuck out whoop whoop...)

Places

Servo
Service Station (Gas Station in North America)
Bottle-O
Bottle Shop (Liquor Store)
Chemist
Pharmacy (also used), Drug Store
Maccas
The McDonald's restaurant chain
Hungry Jacks
Exactly the same as 'Burger King' restaurant chain anywhere else in the world
Gone walkabout
When the location of someone/something is unknown, e.g. my phone's gone walkabout


See also


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