You will hear many of these words/phrases throughout Australia, often on a daily basis…
Amber fluid – beer.
Ambo – ambulance officer.
Ankle biter – small child.
Arvo – afternoon.
Aussie – resident of Australia, Australia itself or to describe something as Australian: the Aussie barbie.
Avos – avocados.
Bail (someone) up – to corner somebody physically.
Banana bender – resident of Queensland.
Barbie – barbeque.
Barney – fight.
Barrack – to cheer on (football team etc.) In other countries the equivalent is ‘rooting’ for your team.
Bathers – swimming costume.
Beanie – woollen hat.
Bender – heavy drinking session.
Biffo – fight.
Big bikkies – lots of money .
Big smoke – the city.
Bikkie – biscuit.
Billabong – water hole / pond / small lake or a famous brand of Aussie surfwear clothing.
Billy – large tin can used to boil water over a campfire for tea.
Bingle – car accident.
Biro – pen, ballpoint.
Bities – biting insects.
Bizzo – business
Bloke – man.
Bloody oath, mate! – yes, that is correct / yes, I agree with you.
Blotto – drunk.
Bludger – lazy person.
Blue – fight (“they were having a bit of a blue “).
Blue – make a mistake.
Boardies – board shorts (for surfing).
Boatie – person that likes boating.
Bondi cigar – floating turd, this term dates back from times before Sydney improved its sewerage management.
Boofhead – idiot.
Boomer – kangaroo.
Bored s***less – very bored.
Boss – the wife. When an Aussie bloke has to consult his wife before making a decision he’ll say; I’ll go and ask the boss.
Bottle shop – liquor shop.
Bottle-o – liquor shop.
B & S Ball – Ball held for Bachelors and Spinsters, singles crowd, often held in the bush or remote location and often involving copious amounts of alcohol and sometimes mud!
Breatho – police set up by roadside to check on drink drivers.
Brekkie – breakfast.
Brick s*** house, built like a – big strong bloke.
Brickie – brick layer.
Brissie/Brizzie – Brisbane, state capital of Queensland, note Brisbane is pronounced as Brisb’n, not Bris-bane like plane.
Brumby – a wild horse.
Buck’s night : stag party, male get together the night before the wedding, often involving copious amounts of alcohol, practical jokes and strippers.
Buckley’s, Buckley’s chance – no chance (“New Zealand stands Buckley’s of beating Australia at football”) .
Bugger – originally used to refer to two men having intercourse and was the B word instead of the modern day F word. ‘Bugger’ is now often used as ‘bummer’ meaning ‘what a shame’, a few years ago a Toyota TV commercial drew some criticism from older people for repeating the word ‘bugger’ about 25 times in half a minute. Something that is broken can be ‘buggered’ and someone can tell you to ‘bugger off’ and a person who has bad luck can be described as ‘a poor bugger’.
Bull bar – strong steel bar or frame fixed to the front of a vehicle to protect it from the impact of hitting kangaroos. Only bullbars on road trains actually protect against bulls.
Bundy – short for Bundaberg in Queensland, and the rum that is made there.
Bunyip – mythical Australian creature with a piercing cry Burl – attempt, try.
Bush bashing – four wheel driving, off roading, driving where there are no roads. ( More recently this term has also started to mean critisizing the US president George W. Bush, which has become internationally popular, and for good reason.) Bushie – someone who lives in the bush.
Bushranger – highwayman (eg. Ned Kelly.) Bush telegraph – ‘grapevine’, word-of-mouth.
Bushtucker – food gathered from nature, in the outback.
Bushwalking – hiking in the bush.
BYO – Bring Your Own alcohol.
Cab Sav – Cabernet Sauvignon wine
Cabbie – taxi driver
Cackleberry – an egg.
Cancer stick – a cigarette.
Cark it – to die, stop functioning.
Cask – boxed wine in a bladder.
Chinwag – conversation.
Chippie – carpenter.
Choof off – leave, depart.
Chunder – vomit.
Chook – chicken.
Chrissie – Christmas (Chrissy pressies – christmas presents).
Ciggie – cigarette.
Clayton’s – fake, substitute.
Click – kilometre – “it’s 10 clicks away”.
Clucky – feeling broody or maternal.
Cobber – friend / mate.
Cockie – farmer, cockatoo or cockroach.
Cockroach – a person from New South Wales.
Coldie – a beer.
Compo- Workers’ Compensation pay.
Cooee – a call used to find someone lost in the bush, a place can be ‘within cooee of..’
Corroboree – an Aboriginal gahtering/dance festival.
Counter lunch – pub lunch.
Cozzie – swimming costume.
Crack onto (someone) – to hit on someone, pursue someone romantically.
Cranky – in a bad mood, angry, grumpy.
Crash – Go to sleep, often at someone else’s house!
Crikey – Amazed. Steve Irwin would often be heard saying “Crikey, that looks dangerous… let’s take a closer look”
Crim – criminal.
Croc – crocodile.
Crook – can mean criminal ( he is a crook) or indicate someone not feeling well ( I’m a bit crook, mate).
Croweater – resident of South Australia.
Cuppa – cup of tea.
Cushie – to have it easy, a cushie job.
Cut lunch – sandwiches.
Dag – a funny person, nerd, goof.
Daks – trousers.
Damper – bread made from flour and water.
Deadset – true, the truth.
Dero – tramp, hobo, homeless person (from “derelict”).
D***head – an idiot.
Digger – an Australian soldier.
Dill – an idiot.
Ding – a wog in Western Australia.
Dinkum, fair dinkum -: true, real, genuine (“I’m a dinkum Aussie”; “is he fair dinkum?”) .
Dinkie-di – the real thing, genuine.
Dipstick – a loser, idiot.
Dig in, mate! – Bon appetit!
Dishpig – person that washes the dishes in a restaurant.
Dob (somebody) in – inform on somebody.
Docket – a bill, receipt.
Doco – documentary.
Dog’s balls, stands out like – bloody obvious.
Dole – social security.
Dole bludger – somebody lazy voluntarily on social security.
Donga – demountable/transportable building.
Donk – engine.
Doona – duvet, quilt.
Down Under – Australia and New Zealand.
Drink with the flies – to drink alone.
Drongo – a dopey, stupid person.
Dropkick – a dipstick.
Dummy, spit the – get very angry about something.
Dunny – outhouse or toilet.
Earbashing – nagging, non-stop chatter.
EFTPOS – Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale; pay for goods with your bank card or make cash withdrawals at shops from your Australian bank account.
Ekka – the Brisbane Exhibition, an annual show.
Esky – large insulated food/drink container for picnics, barbecues etc. , also very handy to sit on.
Exy – expensive.
Fair dinkum – true, genuine.
Fair go – a chance (“give a bloke a fair go”).
Fairy floss – candy floss, cotton candy.
Fantastic plastic – credit card.
Feral – a hairy, unclean looking hippie.
Firie – member of the fire brigade.
Five-finger discount – act of shoplifting.
Fix up – to pay someone money you owe them/ to repair something/ a doctor to heal you.
Flake – shark meat in fish & chips.
Flick – to give something or somebody the flick is to get rid of it/him/her.
Foodie – person interested in fine foods.
Footie – regional term for either Australian Rules Football, or Rugby League or Union!
Fossick – to prospect, e.g. for gold.
Fortnight – two week period.
Fremantle Doctor – the cooling afternoon breeze that arrives in Perth from the direction of Freo.
Freo – Fremantle in Western Australia.
Frog – resident of France.
Fruit loop – fool.
Full – drunk.
Garbo – garbage collector.
G’Day – hello!
Glassie – the person that walks around the pub to collect empty glasses.
Go for it – try it / do it / also used instead of the international ‘Bon Appetit’ for which Australia has no alternative of its own, (other than ‘Dig in mate!’).
Going off – used of a night spot or party that is a lot of fun – “the place was really going off”. Also “she went off at him” meaning she gave him a good telling off.
Good oil – useful information, a good idea, the truth.
Good onya – good for you, well done.
Going troppo – mental health problems due to excessive heat, common in Darwin in summer time.
Gone walkabout – traditionally an Aboriginal person going bush for spiritual reasons, now also used to refer to anyone disappearing for a while.
Green can – term for VB beer.
Greenie – environmentally minded person.
Grog – booze, alcohol.
Grog shop – licensed outlet selling alcohol.
Grommet – young surfer.
Grotty – run-down, dirty.
Grouse – very good, cool!
Grumblebum – complainer.
Half your luck – congratulations!
Handle – beer glass with a handle.
Hard yakka – hard work.
Hard yards – hard work, training.
Heart-starter – first alcoholic drink of the day, sometimes first cigarette.
Heaps – a lot, e.g. “thanks heaps”, “(s)he earned heaps of money” etc.
Heave – to vomit.
Hit the frog and toad – let’s go / let’s depart.
Hit the grog – Start drinking.
Hit the piss – Start drinking.
Holy dooley! – an exclamation of surprise like “Good heavens!”, “My goodness!” or”Good grief!”
Hoon – someone with fast and careless driving style.
Hooroo – goodbye.
Hotel – often just a pub, not necessarily a place to sleep.
Humongous – ginormous.
Humpie – temporary home in the bush.
Icy pole, ice block – popsicle, lollypop.
Idiot box – television.
If it’s got t*** or wheels, sooner or later it’s gonna cost you and you’re gonna have problems with it. – Confucius might have supplied the Chinese with lots of ancient eternal wisdoms but the Aussies have created some of their own.
Jackaroo : a male station hand, a (cattle or sheep) station is a big farm/grazing property.
Jaffle – toasted sandwich.
Jaffle iron – camping tool, used to make a toasted sandwich.
Jillaroo : a female station hand.
Jocks – mens underpants.
Joe Blow – Mr. Average.
Joey : baby kangaroo, koala or any marsupial.
Journo : journalist.
Jumbuck : sheep.
Kelpie – Australian sheepdog originally bred from Scottish collie.
Kero – kerosene.
Kindie – kindergarten, pre-school.
Kiwi – either a resident of New Zealand or a Chinese gooseberry (nowadays marketed as kiwi fruit) or a small endangered bird native to New Zealand.
Knock – to criticise.
Knock back – refusal (they knocked it back).
Knocked up – Made pregnant ( he knocked her up).
Knocker – somebody who criticises a lot.
Knuckle sandwich – A punch!
Lamington – small square of sponge cake covered in chocolate icing, and dessicated coconut.
Larrikin – a bloke who is always behaving silly.
Lay-by – store system of paying for goods in instalments.
Lend of, to have a – to take advantage of somebody’s gullibility, to have someone on (“he’s having a lend of you”).
Lippy – lipstick.
Lilo – Air mattress.
Liquid lunch – drinking beer at lunchtime.
Longneck – tall bottle of beer, 750ml or 26oz.
Lucky Country, The – Australia.
Maccas – McDonald’s (hamburgers).
Mate’s rates – cheaper than usual price for a “friend”.
Metho – methylated spirits.
Mexican – the meaning of this one varies from state to state, in New South Wales it means Victorians and in Queensland it refers to anyone who lives south of the Queensland border.
Middy : 285 ml beer glass in New South Wales.
Milk bar – corner shop that sells takeaway food.
Milko – milkman.
Missus – female partner/ wife /girlfriend.
Mob – group of people.
Mob – family or group of kangaroos.
Mongrel – despicable person.
Mozzie – mosquito.
Muso – musician.
Muster – round up sheep or cattle.
Never Never – the Outback, centre of Australia.
Nipper – young surf lifesaver.
No worries – frequently used expression usually meaning you’re welcome, it’s OK , don’t worry about it, bye bye, basically endless situations where you can use it.
Nuddy, in the – naked.
Ocker – a yobbo, an unsophisticated person.
Off her t*** – very drunk.
Off his face – very drunk.
Offsider – an assistant, helper.
Old Girl – mother.
Old Lady – wife.
Old Man – father.
Oldies – parents – “I’ll have to ask my oldies”.
On the nose – smelly.
Outback – interior of Australia.
Oz – Australia!
Panelvan – A car like a station wagon but with the rear part being just a bit higher and usually without windows it made it a very practical vehicle for tradesmen to throw all the tools and stuff in and also became the vehicle of choice for hoons, usually with big V8 engines and wide tires. As there was plenty of room for a mattress in the back teenagers found the panelvan offered a hundred times more privacy and comfort than a backseat in a normal car and the panelvan developed a few nick names like ‘sinbin’ and ‘shaggawagon’ and was often decorated with a sticker announcing ‘if this van is rockin’, don’t bother knockin’.
Perve (noun & verb) – looking lustfully at the opposite sex.
Piece of piss – easy task.
Pig’s arse! -: I don’t agree with you, opposite of ‘bloody oath mate’!
Pint – large glass of beer (esp. in South Australia).
Piss – urine, go to the toilet coz I need to hang a piss.
Piss – beer. Hence “hit the piss”, “sink some piss” , to order more beer; more piss, Miss!
Piss artist – someone who drinks a lot of piss.
Pissed – Americans are pissed when they are angry, in Australia this word means drunk, when Australians get angry they are “pissed off’.
Pissed it up the wall – wasted it.
Pissed off – Angry, unhappy with something. Can also be used to indicate someone’s departure; he has pissed off – he has left, he’s gone. Or to dispose of something or someone.
Pisshead – someone who drinks a lot of piss.
Pissup – a gathering where a lot of piss or other alcohol is being consumed.
Playing sillybuggers – waste time, mess around. Bob Hawke confused the hell out of the translator of a visiting head of state by using this term.
Please explain… – Pauline Hanson’s trademark expression.
Plonk – cheap wine.
Pokies – poker machines, fruit machines, gambling slot machines.
Pollie – politician.
Pom, pommy, pommie – an English person.
Postie – postman.
Pot – 285 ml beer glass in Queensland and Victoria,
Pozzie – position – get a good pozzy at the football stadium. In photography; give us a pozzy!
Preggo – pregnant.
Prezzie – present, gift.
Pub – bar
Pushie – pushbike, bicycle.
Quid, make a – earn a living – “are you making a quid?”
Not the full quid – stupid.
Rack off – push off! get lost! get out of here! also “rack off hairy legs!”.
Rage – party.
Rage on – to continue partying – “we raged on until 3am”.
Rapt – pleased, delighted.
Ratbag – mild insult.
Rats arse – I couldn’t give a rats arse! I don’t care!
Raw prawn, to come the – to bulls***, to be generally disagreeable.
Reckon! – I reckon! you bet! Absolutely! I reckon that…- I think that…
Rego – car registration.
Rellies – relatives.
Ripper – great, fantastic – “it was a ripper party”
Ripper, you little! -: Exclamation of delight or as a reaction to good news.
Road train – big truck with many trailers.
Rock up – to turn up, to arrive – “we rocked up at their house at 8pm”.
Rollie – cigarette you roll yourself.
Roo – kangaroo.
Rotten – drunk – “I went out last night and got rotten”.
Rotto – Rottnest Island in W.A.
R.S.L. – Returned Services League-Social club, good place to play pool or have a counter lunch, originally only for returned soldiers but as they gradually all died and no new wars were fought for a while they emptied out to the point that all of the public was invited to fill the bars again.
Rubbish (verb) – to criticize.
Salute, Aussie – brushing flies away.
Salvos, the – Salvation Army.
Sandgroper – resident of Western Australia.
Sanger – a sandwich.
Sambo – a sandwich.
Schooner – large beer glass in Queensland; medium beer glass in South Australia.
Scratchy – instant lottery ticket.
Screamer – party lover; “two pot screamer” – somebody who gets drunk on very little alcohol.
Screenie – someone who likes to watch heaps of movies.
Servo – service station or petrol station.
Shagonwagon – see panel van.
Shart – When you do a fart and get a little more than expected.
Sheila – girl, woman.
She’ll be right – it will be OK.
Shonky – dubious, underhanded. E.g. a shonky practice, shonky business etc.
Shoot through – to leave.
Shout – turn to buy a round of drinks (“it’s your shout”).
Sickie – taking a day off being sick ( usually a hangover)
Smoko – work break, even non-smokers have smoko, it just means stop to eat or have a coffee.
Snag – a sausage or Sensitive new Age Guy.
Sook – person or animal who is soft, tame, inoffensive. Hence sooky (adj.)
Spag bog – spaghetti bolognese Sparkie – electrician.
Spewin’ – very angry.
Spiffy, pretty spiffy : great, excellent.
Spit the dummy – get very upset at something.
Spruiker – man who stands outside a nightclub or restaurant trying to persuade people to enter.
Sprung – caught doing something wrong.
Spunk – a good looking person (of either sex).
Squiz – having a look at something, have a squiz at it.
Starkers – naked.
Station – a big farm/grazing property.
Stickybeak – nosy person.
Stoked – very pleased.
Strewth – exclamation, mild oath (“Strewth, that Chris is a bonzer bloke”).
Strides – trousers.
Strine – Australian slang and pronunciation.
Stubby – bottle of beer, usually 375 ml. but over 2 litres in the Northern Territory.
Stubby holder – polystyrene insulated holder for a stubby.
Stuffed, I’m stuffed mate! – I’m tired.
Stuffed, I’ll be – expression of surprise.
Sunbake – sunbathe.
Sunnies – sunglasses.
Surfies : people who go surfing – usually more often than they go to work!
Stubbies – brand of shorts worn by man, often as workwear. Also a beerbottle as described below.
Swag – Green canvas bedroll, previously carried by bushmen but now often seen tied on the back of utes.
T.A.B .- Totalisator Agency Board – betting shop, mainly for horse racing.
Tall poppies – successful people.
Tall poppy syndrome – the habit of criticizing successful people.
Tart yourself up – to go and apply your make-up.
Tasmaniac – resident of Tassie.
Tassie – Tasmania.
Tee-up – to set up (an appointment).
Thingo : Wadjamacallit, thingummy, whatsit.
Thongs – not underwear like in the U.S. but rubber footwear also known as flip-flops. You need to know this as some bars have signs “No Thongs” on the door, there is no need to remove your undies before entering the bar.
Tinny – either a can of beer or an aluminium fishing boat.
Togs – swim suit.
Too right! – definitely!
Toorak tractor – refers to four wheel drive vehicles that never leave the city, Toorak is an expensive suburb in Melbourne where pricey Range Rovers are commonly used to do super market shopping.
Top End – far north of Australia.
Trackie daks/dacks – tracksuit pants.
Trackies – track suit.
Troopy – Toyota Troopcarrier, model of four wheel drive that seats at least eight people.
Truckie – truck driver.
True blue – patriotic.
Tucker – food.
Tucker-bag – food bag.
Tuck shop – canteen where students buy food at school.
Turps – turpentine, alcoholic drink.
Turps, hit the – go on a drinking binge.
Two up -: gambling game played by spinning two coins simultaneously.
U-ie – U-turn.
Uni – university.
Unit – flat, apartment.
Up himself / herself – have a high opinion of yourself /”he’s really up himself”.
Up s*** creek without a paddle – having a problem, being stuck.
Up somebody, get – to rebuke somebody /”the boss got up me for being late” .
Useful as an ashtray on a motorbike / t*** on a bull – unhelpful or incompetent person or thing /”he, she or it is about as useful as t*** on a bull” etc.
Ute – car with open back, like a pick-up truck in the U.S.
Vegies – vegetables.
Vee dub – Volkswagen.
Veg out – relax in front of the TV.
Vego – vegetarian.
Vinnie’s – St. Vincent De Paul’s (charity thrift stores and hostels).
Waggin’ school – not attending school.
Walkabout : a walk in the Outback by Aborigines that lasts for an indefinite amount of time.
Walkabout, it’s gone : it’s lost, can’t be found.
Whacker, whacka : Idiot/ somebody who talks drivel/ somebody with whom you have little patience/ a d***head.
Wharfie – dock-worker.
Whinge : complain, especially English people have a reputation for this, hence the often heard expression ‘whingeing Pom’.
White pointers : topless (female) sunbathers.
White ant – refers to termites that like to eat houses but a biologist can tell you termites and ants are in no way related and are completely different animals.
Wing nut – person with prominent ears.
Within cooee – within shouting distance.
What size donk you got mate? When you have engine trouble the outback mechanic might ask you for the size of your car engine (donk), not to be confused with dong.
Wobbly – excitable explosive behaviour (“He threw a wobbly”).
Work – something you do so you can pay for your beers when it’s all finished.
Woop Woop – non existing place used to describe a very remote place, made even more famous in the movie ‘Welcome to Woop Woop’.
Wowser – straight-laced person, prude, puritan, spoilsport.
Wuss – coward/ nervous person or animal.
XXXX – Pronounced as Four-Ex this is the most famous beer in Queensland.
Yabbie – small freshwater crayfish.
Yakka – work, that’s hard yakka mate!
Yewy – u-turn in traffic (“chuck a yewy at the next traffic lights”).
Yank – American person.
Yank tank – Large American car.
Yobbo – Male person who is usually dressed in blue singlet, pair of stubbies, thongs (if not barefoot) and spends most of his time drinking, fishing, being loud- and foulmouthed, watching the footy and usually drives an old ute or V8 panel van too fast with swag in the back and beercans on the floor.
Youse – you (plural), instead of ‘have you guys got any beers cold’ say ‘hey, youse got any beer cold’?
Yowie – Aussie version of the mythical Bigfoot, the teribble snowman etc.
Zeds – Sleep; ‘stack some Zzzz’s’
Zilch – nothing.
Zillions – lots and lots, where millions could not express it.
Zonked – exhausted.
In certain situations and areas it may be helpful to finish at least half your sentences with ‘mate’ at the end so people understand you better. It will make communication easier in for example; outback pubs, barbeques and parties where you see lots of blue singlets around you. It is up to you to judge when to do this. Although not encouraged, certain areas may have people using the infamous F#*#! word at least once or twice in every sentence.
In major cities this is not necessary and, at for instance Sydney cocktail parties, it is definitely not a good idea to do this.