Know your Aussie slangs!
If you’re thinking about coming to Australia, you’re doing it right already. Sure it can be expensive planning a trip here but one cultural aspect you won’t have to pay for is the unique Australian words and phrases you’ll hear.
From words like “esky” to phrases like “Chuck a sickie”, you’ll be dumfounded, amazed and then fall in love with the different lingo we have here. If you’re keen for some quality banter with your mates and sounding True Blue, this list is sure to help you out!
Definition: Barbecue, a cookout
Example: “Got a couple of snags, up for a barbie tonight?”
That’s right! The best way to have a snag is to have a barbie! When it comes to an outdoor cookout, there’s no doubt that Australians do it best. Grab the bread, the onions, some sauce, the snags and head on out for one! Snag you say?
Definition: sausage, also used to refer to sliced bread and sausage combo, Australian hot dog.
Example: “Grab a few snags for the party tonight!”
Snag isn’t just a part of Australian vocabulary; it’s part of Australian culture. The sausage-onion-sliced bread combo with just the right amount of sauce will make every hot dog you’ve ever eaten seem like a joke. If you haven’t had one yet you’ve got to. The best way to have a snag is to have a …
Definition: Bottle of beer, sometimes also referred to as a ‘cold one’.
Example: “Help yourself to a stubby, mate!”
No barbie is ever complete without a couple of stubbies! Sizzling snags are great but they’re better when you’ve got a drink in hand. Cold ones are best enjoyed when, well, cold but that can be hard when you’ve got a hot cookout going. Don’t fret though; all you need is a good ol’…
Definition: A cooler, a container used to keep food or drinks cool.
Example: “I’ve got an esky full of cold ones, come join the party!”
These bad boys will keep your beers nice and cold, perfect for you to enjoy with your well-cooked snags. Nothing beats a good barbie outdoors with great buddies and cold stubbies.
Definition: short for ‘afternoon’
Example: “Are you free this arvo? Let’s catch up!”
Arvo is short for afternoon and you’ll hear this word literally everywhere. This arvo, Monday arvo, in the arvo, it’s almost like everything exciting happens between the arvo and 2am because nothing good happens after 2 A.M – (HIMYM reference!)
6. How you going?
Definition: Australian equivalent to ‘How are you?’ or ‘How are you doing?’
Example: “Hey mate, it’s been a while! How you going?”
First and foremost, they aren’t asking you how you’re getting somewhere. One time a friend asked me that before a gig trying to make sure I wasn’t nervous and I said “What? Isn’t there a bus there?” He laughed for a good five minutes after that but at least I wasn’t nervous anymore, right?
Save yourself the embarrassment and remember this phrase.
7. “Yeah, nah” & “Nah, yeah”
Definition: No and yes respectively
Example: “Yeah nah, it wasn’t such a great movie.”
“Yeah, nah” means no and “Nah, yeah” means yes. I mean, it’s not that complicated right? These two phrases are often used in the beginning of sentences that need a yes or no answer with a bit of explanation afterwards. A good trick is to remember to end with the one you mean and you’ll definitely get the hang of it!
8. Trackie Dacks
Definition: slang for “tracksuit pants”, Australian equivalent to sweatpants
Example: “I literally spent my entire Sunday in these trackie dacks”
We’re all guilty of spending an entire weekend in our favourite pair of trackies. You just can’t help it! They’ve seen you snack at midnight, they keep you snuggly and warm and they’re basically your best friend in pant form. Ugh, they just understand us, you know?
9. Chuck a sickie
Definition: to take a day off sick from work or school, Australian equivalent to call in sick.
Example: “I’m having an off day, I might chuck a sickie.”
I love this phrase because it makes being sick sound like the cutest thing ever. You can use this phrase when you’re genuinely sick and need a day off or when you’re, you know, “sick” but fine enough to go on a family camping trip. In no way am I encouraging the latter use of the phrase though, I’m just letting you know what it means!
Definition: Cheap wine that comes in a boxed sack, usually enjoyed by college students for their budget-satisfying parties.
Example: “Want to go on a Dan Murphys run to grab some goon?”
One goon box holds about 4 litres and is usually sold at around $10. It’s often mixed with orange, cranberry or pineapple juice but you can have it on its own as well. Making a crate of goon punch is a classic party act and that’s when you know you’re in for a good night!
Pro tip: Always get white goon, never red. I mean sure try it if you’d like but I’ve yet to meet anyone who preferred the latter. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Definition: An idiot or twit, a clueless person who has done something silly or stupid.
Example: “Zip up your pants, you silly nong!”
This is a mild insult but nothing is ever meant seriously when it’s used. It’s just for casual but still quality banter among friends. Even better if your friends don’t know what it means, then they really are a nong!
12. Op Shop
Definition: Short for ‘opportunity shop’, Australian equivalent to thrift store.
Example: “I got this skirt for $5 at the op shop, isn’t it cute?”
Op shops are where you’ll find quirky little gems that fancy malls tend to overlook. Op shops often have second-hand clothes, books, shoes and other household goods that have been donated to charity. Hitting up op shops is said to be one of the smartest ways to shop in Australia and my personal favourite is Vinnies so do have a look!
Definition: Short for ‘mosquitoes’
Example: “Those darn mozzies kept me up all night!”
No matter where you are in the world, nobody likes mosquitoes. The only thing that saves them in Australia is the fact that we call them mozzies and it makes them sound a little bit cuter. We all know that’s a lie though, mozzies are mozzies and they just aren’t welcome. Ever.
Definition: Short for “utility vehicle”, Australian equivalent to pick up trucks
Example: “Chuck a u-ey after that ute.”
This one never made sense to me because how do you get ‘ute’ from ‘pick up truck’? I mean, mozzies and arvo relatively make sense but ute? Turns out, pick up trucks are also called utility vehicles (who knew?) and it actually does make sense! Driver tip: the phrase “chuck a u-ey” means to make a U-turn!
Definition: Sandals, flip flops, slippers.
Example: “Don’t forget to wear thongs to the beach!”
You may have heard of this one because it’s a pretty funny mix up if you don’t get it right. I mean, you don’t want to be wearing thongs to the beach do you? Unless, of course, we’re talking about sandals!
16. Budgy/Budgie Smugglers
Definition: A swimsuit brand, Australian equivalent to Speedos, more often used to refer to men’s Speedos.
Example: “Got a new pair of budgy smugglers for the summer!”
Funny story, they’re called budgie smugglers because the bulge when you wear them makes you look like you’re smuggling a budgie (a budgerigar). The brand itself has an innocent looking budgerigar perched next to its name. Cheeky, eh? Props to their creative and humorous name but let’s just hope nobody’s smuggling anything down there.
Definition: Short for bathing suit, Australian equivalent to swimsuits
Example: “Grab your thongs and bathers, summer’s here!”
In other swimwear news, ones that don’t look like you’re smuggling anything are called bathers or swimmers. The word isn’t gender specific so you can be talking about swimming trunks or bikinis, absolutely any type of swimming outfit.
Definition: short for “service station”, Australian equivalent of gas/petrol station.
Example: “Is it alright if I hit the servo on the way?”
You’re sure to see a lot of service stations along the road selling petrol. They’ll usually be able to maintenance work for your vehicle as well although that can depend on where you are. Some service stations also have convenience stores so make sure you check which ones do on your next road trip!
Definition: Short for ‘McDonalds’.
Example: “Anyone keen for a cheeky run to Maccas?”
If you’re a college student, you know those midnight runs to Maccas are what bring you closer to your fellow snackers. Why say the whole word when you can shorten it down to two syllables? You’ve got to save energy when you’re hungry! Fun fact: There’s actually a chain in Melbourne that actually says “Maccas” instead of “McDonalds”!
20. Fair dinkum
Definition: Honest, genuine, true, real
Example: “He’s a fair dinkum Australian!”
This one’s a tricky one but you’ll hear people saying it time to time. It’s a synonym for the words above but it can also be used to describe someone or something that truly exemplifies positive Australian values. This phrase can also be used as an adverb like so, “Fair dinkum mate, you have to read the book!”
Definition: a positive term used to describe or refer to something as great
Example: “Have a ripper of a day!” / “That was a cracker of a game!”
You’ll definitely see or hear these phrases; they’re a common way of wishing someone a good day. Cracker and ripper aren’t always interchangeable but they’re used in very similar ways and situations. They’re both casual, friendly terms so you’re sure to impress your Aussie mates!
Definition: short for football referring to Australian football or the Australian Football League (AFL) not soccer or American football
Example: “Up for some footy this weekend?”
Sport is such a huge part of Australian culture and AFL is definitely one of, if not, the biggest one right up there with cricket. You’ll definitely hear this term wherever you go so don’t get it confused with soccer or American football. Here, soccer is soccer, American football isn’t really talked about and footy is the real deal!
Definition: Short for vegetarian
Example: “Is there a veggo option for this?”
There’s nothing really Australian about this word except for the fact that you just cut off most of the original word and an “o” to it. A fair number of people use it but vegetarian works just as well. Sometimes friendly service people use it so it’s always good to know, especially if you are one!
Definition: a phrase used to express extreme agreement and excitement
Example: “Our team dominated theirs last night?” “Oath!”
At first glance this might not make sense but it’s kind of like saying you agree so much with what someone has said that you’d take an oath for it. The phrase “Bloody oath” (abbreviated to ‘bloath’) is used more commonly than oath on it’s own, although the phrase can be seen as colloquial.
Another phrase, abbreviated to ‘foath’ is also used but that’s even more derogatory as you can imagine what the F stands for. When you hear it though, just know someone is agreeing with you in a good-humoured way and does not mean anything against you!
Definition: To give, pass, throw or chuck something
Example: “Fang us a Starburst!”
Fangs, as in sharp teeth, are still called fangs. It’s just that in Australia, fang is also a verb and it has nothing to do with teeth. When someone asks you to fang something, they’re definitely not asking you to bite something for them!
Sound Aussie yet?
So how was that? English is now ten times more fun with these new words and phrases! The best part is, when you travel to other countries, nobody will understand you but everyone will know you’re from the land down under! You’re a true local then!
What are some of your favourite Australian words and phrases? Share with us in the comments section below! Have a friend visiting Australia? Show them this list so they don’t bite something when you ask them to fang you a starburst.