Australia’s got more than just kangaroos and beaches; it’s packed with unique slang that can baffle the best of us. Here, we’ve curated the most iconic Aussie slang terms, each with its meaning, origin and examples. Whether you’re a local or a curious traveler, this guide’s got you covered. Speak like a true blue Aussie in no time! Without further ado, here’s our list of Australian slang:
- Meaning: Afternoon.
- Origin: A common feature in Australian slang is shortening words and adding an ‘o’ to the end. “Arvo” is a classic example of this.
- Example: “I’ll see you this arvo for a coffee.”
- Meaning: An Australian person or relating to Australia.
- Origin: It’s a colloquial abbreviation of the word “Australian”.
- Example: “He’s a true blue Aussie, loves his footy and barbecues.”
- Meaning: A young child.
- Origin: The phrase humorously refers to the height of children being low to the ground, so they’re close to your ankles.
- Example: “Watch out for the ankle biters at the park, they’re full of energy!”
- Meaning: Ambulance or ambulance worker.
- Origin: Another classic Australian abbreviation. This one takes “ambulance” and truncates it for quicker use.
- Example: “Call an ambo! He’s hurt himself on the footy field.”
- Meaning: Avocado.
- Origin: Yet again, Australians have a knack for abbreviating words, and ‘avo’ fits that bill perfectly.
- Example: “Can I get some avo on my toast?”
- Meaning: A brand of hat that’s very popular in Australia, especially among rural workers.
- Origin: Named after the company that manufactures them.
- Example: “It’s sunny out; don’t forget your Akubra.”
- Meaning: All good or okay, often used in the phrase “she’ll be apples.”
- Origin: Thought to be from rhyming slang, “apple and spice” meaning “everything nice.”
- Example: “Don’t worry about the car; she’ll be apples.”
- Meaning: Barbecue.
- Origin: Shortening of the word “barbecue.” This abbreviation is an iconic piece of Australian slang.
- Example: “We’re having a barbie this weekend. Wanna come?”
- Meaning: To leave or depart.
- Origin: Likely derived from the English term “bail out.”
- Example: “I’m too tired, think I’m gonna bail.”
- Meaning: Swimsuit.
- Origin: The term is specific to certain regions of Australia. Other regions might say “swimmers” or “togs.”
- Example: “Don’t forget to pack your bathers for the beach.”
- Meaning: A lazy person; someone who avoids work.
- Origin: Originally referred to a pimp, thus someone who lived off the efforts of others. Its meaning has since broadened.
- Example: “He’s a bit of a bludger, always sitting around doing nothing.”
- Meaning: Liquor store.
- Origin: An abbreviation of “bottle shop.” Another example of the Australian penchant for adding ‘O’ to the end of words.
- Example: “I’m heading to the bottle-o to grab some beers.”
- Meaning: Rural, undeveloped areas of Australia, or the countryside.
- Origin: Direct reference to the vast, wild nature and forests of Australia.
- Example: “We’re going camping in the bush this weekend.”
- Meaning: Man or guy.
- Origin: Derived from English slang, this term is commonly used in Australia to refer to a man in a general sense.
- Example: “He’s a good bloke, always willing to lend a hand.”
- Meaning: To die or stop working.
- Origin: The exact origin is unclear, but it’s a colloquial way to refer to something or someone dying or breaking down.
- Example: “My old car finally carked it on the freeway yesterday.”
- Meaning: Chewing gum.
- Origin: A shortening and playful take on the term “chewing gum.”
- Example: “Got any chewie? I need to freshen up my breath.”
- Meaning: Chicken.
- Origin: Perhaps derived from the sound a chicken makes, “chook chook.”
- Example: “We’re having roast chook for dinner.”
Chuck a sickie
- Meaning: To take a day off work pretending to be sick.
- Origin: “Chuck” in this context means to do, and “sickie” refers to a sick day.
- Example: “I’m thinking of chucking a sickie tomorrow. Need a long weekend.”
- Meaning: An exclamation of surprise or disbelief.
- Origin: Possibly a polite alternative to Christ, used as an exclamation. Made globally famous by Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter.
- Example: “Crikey! Look at the size of that spider!”
- Meaning: Police.
- Origin: Originally a British slang term, it became popular in Australia as well. The term might originate from the copper buttons that policemen once wore.
- Example: “Slow down, there are coppers ahead!”
- Meaning: Very full.
- Origin: Possibly related to being as full as a “chocka block.”
- Example: “The pub was chockers last night.”
Chuck a sickie
- Meaning: To take a day off work pretending to be sick.
- Origin: “Chuck” meaning “do” and “sickie” referring to a sick day.
- Example: “I’m thinking of chucking a sickie tomorrow.”
- Meaning: Friend.
- Origin: Early 20th century, from “cob” which means “to take a liking to.”
- Example: “G’day cobber!”
- Meaning: Genuine or the real thing.
- Origin: From the phrase “dinkum” or “fair dinkum,” meaning true or genuine.
- Example: “He’s a dinky-di Aussie, born and bred.”
- Meaning: A fool or an idiot.
- Origin: Named after a racehorse in the 1920s that never won a race.
- Example: “Don’t be such a drongo.”
- Meaning: Absolute, for certain.
- Origin: A straightforward combination of “dead” and “set,” emphasizing surety.
- Example: “It’s deadset the best movie I’ve seen.”
- Meaning: A mess or something that’s very untidy.
- Origin: Unknown, but it’s a colorful way to describe disorder.
- Example: “My room’s a dog’s breakfast right now.”
- Meaning: A cigarette.
- Origin: Shortened version of “Bull Durham” brand tobacco.
- Example: “Got a spare durry, mate?”
- Meaning: A funny person, a goof.
- Origin: Originally referred to the matted wool on a sheep’s tail.
- Example: “You’re such a dag!”
- Meaning: A traditional Australian bread, typically baked in the ashes of a campfire.
- Origin: From its basic ingredients and method of cooking.
- Example: “We cooked up some damper on the campfire.”
- Meaning: A bill, receipt or an itinerary.
- Origin: Borrowed from British slang.
- Example: “Can I get the docket for that purchase?”
- Meaning: Toilet.
- Origin: Early 20th century, perhaps from “dunnekin” meaning privy.
- Example: “Where’s the dunny?”
- Meaning: To report someone, usually for something minor.
- Origin: Possibly from “dub,” meaning to provide with or as if with a name.
- Example: “I can’t believe you dobbed me in to the teacher.”
- Meaning: A derelict or a homeless person.
- Origin: Short for “derelict.”
- Example: “He’s been living like a dero since he lost his job.”
- Meaning: A portable cooler or icebox.
- Origin: Short for “Eskimo,” the brand name of a popular icebox.
- Example: “Grab a cold drink from the esky.”
- Meaning: Constant talk or nagging.
- Origin: The imagery of one’s ear getting a bashing from excessive talk.
- Example: “She gave me a good earbashing about leaving the dishes out.”
- Meaning: Expensive.
- Origin: Simply a shortened form of the word “expensive.”
- Example: “Those shoes look nice, but they’re a bit exy for me.”
- Meaning: The Brisbane Exhibition Show, an annual show in Queensland.
- Origin: Abbreviation of “exhibition.”
- Example: “Are you heading to the Ekka this year?”
- Meaning: A type of tree native to Australia, commonly known as gum trees.
- Origin: Derived from the tree’s botanical name “Eucalyptus.”
- Example: “The landscape was dotted with eucalypts.”
- Meaning: Truthful, genuine, real.
- Origin: The origins are debated, but it’s an affirmation of honesty or truth.
- Example: “Are you fair dinkum about moving to Sydney?”
- Meaning: Australian rules football or rugby, depending on the region.
- Origin: Short for “football.”
- Example: “Are you watching the footy match this weekend?”
- Meaning: A false report or a rumor.
- Origin: Named after water carts made by the Furphy company in WWI; soldiers would exchange rumors by the carts.
- Example: “Ignore that, it’s just a furphy.”
Full as a goog
- Meaning: Very full or satiated, often after eating.
- Origin: “Goog” is slang for an egg; the phrase implies being as full as a full egg.
- Example: “I can’t eat another bite; I’m full as a goog.”
- Meaning: A fair chance or opportunity.
- Origin: A quintessential Aussie value of giving everyone a fair chance.
- Example: “All I’m asking for is a fair go.”
- Meaning: A greeting, short for “Good day.”
- Origin: Simply a contraction of “Good day,” a common greeting.
- Example: “G’day mate, how’s it going?”
- Meaning: A term for a foolish or silly person; also a type of Australian bird.
- Origin: Named after the galah bird which can make loud and sometimes amusing sounds, reflecting the silly nature of someone being called a “galah.”
- Example: “Don’t be such a galah!”
- Meaning: Garbage collector.
- Origin: Shortened form of “garbage.”
- Example: “The garbo comes early on Wednesdays.”
- Meaning: Cheap box wine.
- Origin: Originally from “goon bag,” the bag inside a wine cask.
- Example: “We bought some goon for the party tonight.”
- Meaning: Alcohol.
- Origin: From “grog,” a mix of rum and water, named after Admiral Edward Vernon, who was nicknamed “Old Grog.”
- Example: “Let’s grab some grog for the party.”
- Meaning: Well done or good for you.
- Origin: A contraction of “good on you.”
- Example: “You got the job? Good onya!”
- Meaning: Young surfer.
- Origin: Likely from the term for a young person or child.
- Example: “The beach was full of grommets today.”
- Meaning: Hard work.
- Origin: “Yakka” is derived from the Aboriginal Yagara language meaning “work.”
- Example: “Landscaping in this heat is hard yakka.”
- Meaning: A lot or many.
- Origin: Traditional English meaning “large amount,” but used more colloquially in Australia.
- Example: “Thanks heaps for helping me move.”
- Meaning: A reckless driver.
- Origin: Possibly from the sound of a car horn or an alteration of “hooning” meaning “move fast.”
- Example: “There was a hoon speeding down the main street.”
Hotel (often “Pub”)
- Meaning: A bar or place to get alcoholic drinks.
- Origin: Many older Australian pubs offer accommodation, hence “hotel.”
- Example: “Let’s meet up at the hotel later.”
Hungry Jack’s (or HJs)
- Meaning: The Australian franchise of the fast-food chain Burger King.
- Origin: Due to trademark issues, Burger King is known as Hungry Jack’s in Australia.
- Example: “I’m craving a Whopper from Hungry Jack’s.”
- Meaning: Goodbye.
- Origin: Phonetic spelling of a colloquial farewell.
- Example: “I’m off to bed. Hoo roo!”
- Meaning: A brand of Australian car.
- Origin: Named after Sir Edward Holden, the company’s founder.
- Example: “He drives an old Holden Ute.”
- Meaning: People who live in government housing; often used derogatorily.
- Origin: Short for “housing commission.”
- Example: “The TV show ‘Housos’ portrays a comedic take on life in the suburbs.”
Have a Captain Cook
- Meaning: Have a look.
- Origin: Rhyming slang, named after the famous British explorer Captain James Cook.
- Example: “Give me a sec to have a Captain Cook at the menu.”
- Meaning: Popsicle or ice lolly.
- Origin: Descriptive, as it’s an icy treat on a stick.
- Example: “It’s so hot outside, I could go for an icy pole.”
If it’s not one thing, it’s the other
- Meaning: Expression of exasperation or frustration.
- Origin: Common English phrase, widely used in Australia.
- Example: “First the fridge breaks, now the car won’t start. If it’s not one thing, it’s the other.”
- Meaning: A dark purple fruit native to the east coast of Australia.
- Origin: Named after the Illawarra region of New South Wales where they are found.
- Example: “These Illawarra plums make a tasty jam.”
In a tick
- Meaning: In a short while or very soon.
- Origin: “Tick” referring to a short moment, like the ticking of a clock.
- Example: “I’ll be with you in a tick.”
It’s gone walkabout
- Meaning: It’s lost or missing.
- Origin: Borrowed from Indigenous Australian culture where a “walkabout” is a rite of passage.
- Example: “I can’t find my keys, they’ve gone walkabout.”
Ifs or buts
- Meaning: Excuses.
- Origin: An abbreviation of the phrase “no ifs, ands, or buts”.
- Example: “No ifs or buts, just get it done.”
- Meaning: A young man working on a rural station (ranch); a trainee station manager or owner.
- Origin: Derived from “jack” (a general term for a lad or man) and a borrowed term “kuri” (meaning ‘man’ in several Indigenous Australian languages).
- Example: “He’s starting out as a jackaroo on that big station up north.”
- Meaning: A toasted sandwich.
- Origin: Named after the jaffle iron, a closed metal skillet used to make this type of sandwich.
- Example: “Let’s make some cheese and tomato jaffles for lunch.”
- Meaning: The average person; Mr. Nobody.
- Origin: Origin is uncertain but has been used in English-speaking countries to refer to the ordinary man on the street.
- Example: “He’s just your average Joe Blow, nothing special.”
- Meaning: A sheep.
- Origin: Possibly from an Indigenous Australian word.
- Example: “Waltzing Matilda is about a man who steals a jumbuck.”
- Meaning: Police.
- Origin: Short for “Jackaroo,” meaning a policeman.
- Example: “Watch out, the jacks are about.”
- Meaning: Journalist.
- Origin: Shortened form of the word “journalist.”
- Example: “I have an interview with a journo tomorrow.”
- Meaning: Sweater or pullover.
- Origin: Derived from the British term for a pullover or sweater.
- Example: “It’s cold, don’t forget your jumper.”
- Meaning: Kangaroos.
- Origin: Informal shortening of the word kangaroo.
- Example: “We spotted some kangas while driving through the outback.”
Keen as mustard
- Meaning: Very enthusiastic.
- Origin: A play on the idea that mustard is a strong, potent condiment.
- Example: “She’s keen as mustard to start her new job.”
Kick the bucket
- Meaning: To die.
- Origin: Phrase is used in various English-speaking countries; its origins are unclear but could be related to hanging.
- Example: “Old man Jenkins kicked the bucket.”
- Meaning: A person from New Zealand.
- Origin: Named after the kiwi bird, which is native to New Zealand.
- Example: “She’s a Kiwi, moved to Australia a few years ago.”
- Meaning: To criticize.
- Origin: Common English usage, possibly from the idea of “knocking” someone down a peg.
- Example: “Don’t knock it till you try it.”
- Meaning: Exhausted or worn out.
- Origin: Possibly related to the older usage of “knacker,” a person who buys up old horses to slaughter them.
- Example: “After that hike, I’m totally knackered.”
- Meaning: A short sleep or nap.
- Origin: Likely derived from the Middle Low German word “kippen” which means to seize or grasp.
- Example: “I might have a quick kip before we go out.”
- Meaning: A person with apparent disregard for convention; a maverick.
- Origin: The term originally referred to a young hoodlum or hooligan, and its precise origin is unknown, but it has been in Australian usage since the late 19th century.
- Example: “Dave’s a bit of a larrikin but we all love him.”
- Meaning: Sweets or candy.
- Origin: Derived from “lollipop” but generalized to refer to any kind of sweet.
- Example: “Could you grab a bag of lollies from the shop?”
- Meaning: Vomit.
- Origin: A humorous, slightly euphemistic term.
- Example: “He had too much to drink and ended up having a liquid laugh outside.”
- Meaning: Illness, often a cold or flu.
- Origin: Possibly from British radio comedy “The Goon Show” where “the dreaded lurgy” was a fictional disease.
- Example: “I can’t come into work today, I’ve caught the lurgy.”
- Meaning: A scheme or stratagem.
- Origin: From English meaning a clandestine or stealthy action.
- Example: “He’s always got some lurk to make a quick buck.”
- Meaning: McDonald’s, the fast-food chain.
- Origin: Abbreviation and Australianization of “McDonald’s.”
- Example: “Let’s grab a quick bite from Maccas.”
Mad as a cut snake
- Meaning: Very angry or crazy.
- Origin: Refers to the unpredictable movement of a snake that’s been cut or injured.
- Example: “Stay away from him when he’s mad; he’s mad as a cut snake.”
- Meaning: Mosquito.
- Origin: Shortened form of the word “mosquito.”
- Example: “The mozzies are bad tonight.”
- Meaning: Mud crab, a type of crab found in Australia’s estuaries.
- Origin: Short for “mud crab.”
- Example: “I caught a huge muddy yesterday.”
- Meaning: Friend.
- Origin: From Middle English, used in various English-speaking countries but very prevalent in Australia.
- Example: “G’day mate, how’ve you been?”
- Meaning: A discounted price given to friends.
- Origin: Combination of “mate” (friend) and “rates” (price).
- Example: “Don’t worry about the price, I’ll give you mate’s rates.”
- Meaning: Money.
- Origin: Slang term of uncertain origin, possibly from Romani or Yiddish.
- Example: “I can’t go out tonight, short on moolah.”
- Meaning: It’s okay; no problem.
- Origin: A laid-back expression reflecting Australia’s easy-going culture.
- Example: “I forgot to bring the drinks.” “No worries, we have some here.”
Not the full quid
- Meaning: Not very intelligent or a bit crazy.
- Origin: A “quid” is slang for one pound or a dollar, suggesting not being of full value.
- Example: “I think he’s not the full quid, to be honest.”
- Meaning: To figure something out; work out the details.
- Origin: Refers to the action of breaking a nut to get to its core or essence.
- Example: “Let’s sit down and nut out the details of this project.”
- Meaning: Nude or naked.
- Origin: A playful abbreviation of “nude.”
- Example: “He ran into the ocean in the nuddy!”
- Meaning: Irritated or in a bad mood.
- Origin: Possibly derived from “nark,” meaning a police informer, but used in this context to mean annoyed.
- Example: “Why are you so narky this morning?”
- Meaning: To leave or go away.
- Origin: Similar to the British slang “nick” meaning to steal, but in the Aussie context, it’s more about departing.
- Example: “Can you nick off? I’m trying to work.”
- Meaning: No problem or don’t worry about it.
- Origin: Derived from the word “drama” meaning a fuss.
- Example: “I forgot my wallet.” “No drama, I’ll cover for you.”
- Meaning: An uncultivated Australian, often used humorously to describe someone with a heavy Australian accent.
- Origin: Uncertain, but possibly from “ocker” as rhyming slang for “knocker,” meaning a person.
- Example: “He’s a true-blue ocker, that one.”
Off one’s rocker
- Meaning: Crazy or mad.
- Origin: Refers to the idea of being off-balance, like a rocking chair that’s tilted too far.
- Example: “She must be off her rocker to attempt that stunt.”
On the blower
- Meaning: On the phone.
- Origin: “Blower” is old British slang for telephone.
- Example: “I was on the blower for ages sorting that out.”
- Meaning: Remote, sparsely populated areas.
- Origin: Refers to land “out the back” of major cities and towns.
- Example: “We’re going on a trip to the Outback next week.”
- Meaning: Short for “good on you,” a term of approval or congratulation.
- Origin: It’s a contraction of the Australian way of saying “Good on you!”
- Example: “You finished the marathon? Onya, mate!”
- Meaning: Slang for Australia.
- Origin: A shortened and playful way to say “Australia.”
- Example: “Welcome to Oz, mate!”
- Meaning: Assistant or helper.
- Origin: Originally a term for a person who stood beside a drover, now more widely used.
- Example: “My offsider will help with the heavy lifting.”
- Meaning: Parents.
- Origin: A colloquial term referring to older people, particularly one’s parents.
- Example: “I’m spending the weekend with the oldies.”
- Meaning: A passionate kiss.
- Origin: Shortened form of “passionate.”
- Example: “She gave him a long pash goodbye.”
- Meaning: Short for pavlova, a meringue-based dessert.
- Origin: Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, though the dessert’s exact origin (New Zealand or Australia) is debated.
- Example: “We’re having pav for dessert.”
- Meaning: Someone who doesn’t participate or backs out from plans.
- Origin: Derives from the early 20th-century Australian slang “to pike out,” meaning to withdraw or back out from doing something.
- Example: “He’s such a piker. He never comes out with us.”
- Meaning: Short for “present” or “gift.”
- Origin: A fun, colloquial shortening of the word “present.”
- Example: “I’ve got a little prezzy for you.”
Pull your head in
- Meaning: A way to tell someone to mind their own business or stop being nosy.
- Origin: Possibly linked to the idea of retracting one’s head like a turtle.
- Example: “Oi, pull your head in!”
- Meaning: Shrimps.
- Origin: Australians refer to what Americans call shrimp as prawns.
- Example: “Throw another prawn on the barbie.”
- Meaning: Money, usually a specific amount in dollars.
- Origin: Derived from the British use of “quid” to mean “pound sterling.”
- Example: “How many quid did that set you back?”
- Meaning: Intending to have a calm, perhaps alcohol-free evening, but it rarely turns out that way.
- Origin: Typically used when discussing plans for an evening out.
- Example: “Let’s have a quiet one tonight, alright?”
- Meaning: A small marsupial found on Rottnest Island in Western Australia.
- Origin: Derived from a Nyungar word, an Aboriginal language.
- Example: “Have you ever taken a selfie with a quokka?”
- Meaning: Extremely pleased or excited.
- Origin: Derived from the English term meaning “completely fascinated.”
- Example: “He was rapt with his new bike.”
- Meaning: Fantastic or excellent.
- Origin: A general exclamation of approval.
- Example: “That party was a ripper!”
- Meaning: Short for kangaroo.
- Origin: Abbreviation of the animal’s name.
- Example: “Watch out for the roos when you’re driving in the outback.”
- Meaning: To arrive or turn up somewhere.
- Origin: Informal way to say “arrive” or “show up.”
- Example: “She just rocked up to the party uninvited.”
- Meaning: Vulgar slang for sexual intercourse. Be careful with this one!
- Origin: Its origin is unclear but it has been used in Australian slang for decades.
- Example: “They were rooting in the back of the car.”
- Meaning: Nonsense or something of poor quality.
- Origin: Derived from British English where it means “waste material.”
- Example: “What you’re saying is absolute rubbish.”
- Meaning: Genuine, original, or good.
- Origin: Origin is unclear but has been a part of Australian slang since at least the 1950s.
- Example: “This is a ridgy-didge Aussie barbie.”
- Meaning: Go away or get lost.
- Origin: Unknown, but has been used as Aussie slang for years.
- Example: “Rack off, mate! You’re not welcome here.”
- Meaning: A person or thing brought into a group to substitute for another.
- Origin: Comes from the context of bringing someone “into the ring” as a replacement.
- Example: “He was a ring in for the missing player.”
- Meaning: A sandwich.
- Origin: A colloquial abbreviation.
- Example: “Can you make me a sanger for lunch?”
- Meaning: A large beer glass.
- Origin: Derived from an old British measure of liquid volume.
- Example: “I’ll have a schooner of your best ale.”
- Meaning: A woman.
- Origin: Possibly derived from the Irish girls’ name Síle (pronounced Sheila). It’s been a popular slang term since at least the 1940s.
- Example: “Did you see the sheila I was talking to?”
- Meaning: A sausage.
- Origin: Unknown, but it’s widely accepted Australian slang.
- Example: “Chuck another snag on the barbie!”
- Meaning: A nosy person.
- Origin: The term likely derives from the image of someone poking their “beak” (nose) into other people’s affairs.
- Example: “She’s always been a bit of a stickybeak.”
- Meaning: To advertise or promote, especially in a showy or aggressive manner.
- Origin: The term likely has Yiddish origins from “shpruken” meaning to speak.
- Example: “He’s spruiking his new book everywhere.”
- Meaning: A good looking person; can also mean courage or determination.
- Origin: British in origin, referring to spirit or mettle. The appearance-related meaning is more unique to Australian slang.
- Example: “He’s a real spunk.”
- Meaning: A quick look or glance.
- Origin: Unknown, but it’s an informal Aussie term.
- Example: “Give me a squiz at what you’re reading.”
- Meaning: A colloquial way of saying Australia.
- Origin: A playful abbreviation, dropping the “Aus” in “Australia.”
- Example: “Straya Day is coming up!”
- Meaning: A small, squat bottle of beer.
- Origin: Refers to the shape of the bottle, which is shorter and “stubbier” than other bottles.
- Example: “Pass me a stubby from the esky.”
- Meaning: A can of beer
or a small aluminum boat.
- Origin: “Tin” is a reference to the can’s material, or the look of the aluminum boat.
- Example: “Grab a tinnie from the cooler.” or “We took the tinnie out on the river.”
- Meaning: Flip-flops or a type of sandal, not to be confused with the underwear.
- Origin: Uncertain, but the term has been used to describe this footwear in Australia for decades.
- Example: “Just slip on your thongs and let’s go to the beach.”
- Meaning: Genuine, authentically Australian.
- Origin: The term “true blue” originally meant someone who was loyal to the British crown, but in Australia, it’s evolved to describe something authentically Australian.
- Example: “She’s true blue, through and through.”
- Meaning: Food.
- Origin: Possibly from the old English term “tuck,” meaning food.
- Example: “What’s for tucker tonight?”
- Meaning: A traditional Australian gambling game played on Anzac Day.
- Origin: The game was played extensively by Australian soldiers during World War I.
- Example: “We played two-up at the pub after the dawn service.”
- Meaning: Swimsuit or swimming costume.
- Origin: Possibly a shortening of “toga.”
- Example: “Put your togs on; we’re going to the beach.”
- Meaning: Soft sheepskin boots, often worn casually or around the house.
- Origin: The term “ugg” is believed to have been derived from “ugly”, referring to its chunky appearance, though the exact origins are debated.
- Example: “It’s freezing outside; I’m just going to wear my ugg boots.”
- Meaning: Being full of oneself or arrogant.
- Origin: An informal Australian saying. The term “up” might imply an inflated sense of self.
- Example: “Don’t be so up yourself; everyone contributed to the project’s success.”
Up the Duff
- Meaning: Pregnant.
- Origin: The origin is uncertain, but it’s been a part of Aussie slang since at least the 1940s.
- Example: “Did you hear? She’s up the duff.”
- Meaning: A pickup truck.
- Origin: Short for “utility vehicle.”
- Example: “He loaded up the ute with tools for the job.”
- Meaning: University.
- Origin: A simple abbreviation of the word “university.”
- Example: “He’s off to uni next year to study law.”
- Meaning: Relaxing or chilling, often doing nothing in particular.
- Origin: Likely short for “vegetate”, implying the stillness of a vegetable.
- Example: “I just want to veg out in front of the TV tonight.”
- Meaning: Short for vegetarian.
- Origin: An abbreviation of the word “vegetarian.”
- Example: “She’s a vego, so make sure to prepare some vegetarian dishes.”
- Meaning: Victoria Bitter, a popular Australian beer.
- Origin: Named after the state of Victoria where it originated.
- Example: “Grab me a cold VB from the esky.”
- Meaning: A thick, dark brown spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. A staple in many Australian homes.
- Origin: Vegemite was developed in Australia in the 1920s as an alternative to Marmite.
- Example: “Spread some Vegemite on toast for a classic Aussie snack.”
- Meaning: Refers to St Vincent de Paul’s charity shops.
- Origin: Short for “St. Vincent’s”, these shops are common in many Australian towns.
- Example: “I found this awesome vintage jacket at Vinnies.”
- Meaning: Here it is or there you go.
- Origin: Borrowed from French, but Aussies use it often in daily language.
- Example: “I put some elbow grease into cleaning this, and voila! Looks brand new.”
- Meaning: To complain persistently and in a peevish or irritating way.
- Origin: While the word has Old English origins, Australians have really embraced the term to describe someone who constantly complains.
- Example: “Quit your whinging and get on with it.”
- Meaning: Referring to a remote, far away place.
- Origin: The term is onomatopoeic, possibly resembling the sound of a bird or the distant sound of a siren. It paints the picture of a place that’s ‘way out there’.
- Example: “He lives out in woop woop, miles away from the nearest town.”
- Meaning: A native Australian marsupial or someone who is slow and lazy.
- Origin: Derived from the native language of the Darug, the indigenous people of the Sydney area.
- Example: “He’s as slow as a wombat today.”
- Meaning: A weak or timid person.
- Origin: Perhaps a blend of “wimp” and “puss.”
- Example: “Come on, don’t be a wuss.”
- Meaning: A quick collection of money, often for a specific purpose or cause.
- Origin: The idea is to quickly “whip” or move around a group to gather funds.
- Example: “Let’s have a whip around to buy a gift for her birthday.”
XXXX (Four X)
- Meaning: A popular brand of beer brewed in Queensland.
- Origin: The XXXX brand was first introduced in 1924. The exact origin of the name is debated, but one theory is that the X’s represent the quality of the beer.
- Example: “Grab a couple of cold XXXX from the fridge.”
- Meaning: Hard work, especially of a physical nature.
- Origin: Derived from ‘yaga’ which means work in the Yagara indigenous language.
- Example: “He’s been doing hard yakka in the yard all morning.”
- Meaning: An uncultured or rowdy person.
- Origin: Originated in the 20th century, possibly a variant of “yob”, from “boy” spelled backwards.
- Example: “Don’t act like a yobbo at the party.”
- Meaning: A long time.
- Origin: The exact origin is uncertain, but it might be derived from “donkey’s years,” which is another slang term meaning a long time.
- Example: “I haven’t seen him in yonks!”
- Meaning: A freshwater Australian crayfish.
- Origin: Derived from the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal language word “yabij.”
- Example: “We caught a few yabbies in the creek yesterday.”
- Meaning: A U-turn in a vehicle. Often phrased as “chuck a yewy.”
- Origin: It’s a playful phonetic shortening of the term “U-turn.”
- Example: “You missed the turn! Chuck a yewy up ahead.”
- Meaning: Zinc cream, a thick white sunscreen worn on the face, often associated with cricket players and lifeguards.
- Origin: Refers to the zinc oxide used in the sunscreen, offering strong protection against UV rays.
- Example: “Put on some zinc before you head out to field.”
That’s it for our list of Australian slang! Thanks for continuing to expand your vocabulary with us. Did we miss something? Let us know down below in the comments ⤵.
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