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Useful Notes / Australian Slang

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"Our troops serving together in Afghanistan, our guys, the Americans, couldn't figure out why your guys were always talking about cheese. All day long, morning, noon and night, "why are the Aussies always talking about cheese?" And then, finally they realised it was their Australian friends just saying hello - just saying "cheers"."
Barack Obama, at an Australian state dinner, commenting on the American unfamiliarity with Australian accents and slang

A country that was first populated by indigenous people with a diverse set of religions, languages and cultures, who were then shoved aside and colonized by convicts and settlers, with a large British presence until great politicians and leading minds decided independence was a better tack. Is this America or Australia?

It would be easy to assume that such places would develop similar slang. They didn't, partly due to linguistics not working that way, partly due to Australia being more isolated than the US (resulting in fewer immigrants), partly due to Australia having bizarre — and in many cases deadly — flora and fauna which required equal parts linguistic creativity and borrowing from native languages to describe, and partly from the pronounced Cockney/Irish lower-class majority in pre-gold-rush Australia (you know, the whole convict thing). Only around half of these are still in regular use, mate, g-day, budgie smugglers, thongs, bogan etc. Grouse, not cricket, skip etc are less common (but still used).


Let's start with a short list of localisms that every Aussie should know:

  • Across the ditch - How Australians refer to our neighbour across the Tasman Sea (New Zealand), much like how Britons often refer to the United States as being across the pond.
  • Aunty - The ABC, Australia's state broadcaster.
  • The Deep North - Refers to percieved redneck sensibilities of Australia's northernmost state Queensland, in imitation of the US term The Deep South.
  • Sex & Bloody Soccer - Not a kinky activity, but Australia's other public broadcaster, SBS, so nicknamed because artsy European erotica and soccer games were the standouts of its programming.
  • Back o' Bourke - If you travel beyond (either west or north of) the town of Bourke in northern New South Wales, you are officially in the outback, in the "middle of nowhere" sense. Going even further into the middle of nowhere takes you to the Back of Beyond, and then to the Other Side of the Black Stump. Woop Woop is somewhere in the area, as well.

Here's an exhaustive list of Australia-specific slang terms:

  • Arse-over-tits, - To fall over dramatically, e.g. "He tripped over the cord and fell arse-over-tits." One of the few to actually make more sense than regular English, since your head is pretty much always over your heels.
  • Barrack - Support, or as Americans say, "root for". Apparently, in the UK, the word "barrack" means "to insult or abuse"... something which someone who barracks for a team is likely to do to the opposition. Nothing to do with Barack Obama. Generally speaking this word is used mostly in the Western & Southern areas, in the context of support AFL teams.
  • Bastard - a very complicated word in Australian English, which can be used as a generic term of abuse and low regard, without the connotations of illegitimate parenthood, or as an affectionate term of address to one's friends. An Australian can get away with calling his friends bastards, but if you're not Australian, do not try it. You have to work out from context whether it's being used to mean "slightly more vulgar version of 'bloke'" or "unpleasant person". It should be noted that tone of voice trumps modifying adjectives in the case of bastard - whether you're a lucky bastard, a miserable bastard, a fucking bastard, or any other variety of bastard, you'll still be relying on the speaker's tone of voice to know whether that's a good thing or not.
    • The best example is from the Bodyline cricket tour, when the English Captain Douglas Jardine informed Australian captain Bill Woodfull that one of his team members had called him a bastard. Woodfull turned to the dressing room and roared out, at the top of his voice, "Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?"
    • These days, another word has in Australian slang come to adopt pretty much the same meaning, if at a slightly higher level of intensity: a certain C-word.
  • Bin Chicken - an ibis. These birds inhabit parks around Brisbane and Sydney which habitually eat scraps and rubbish. Used in an episode of Bluey and the adult animated series Bin Chickens.
  • Bingle - a minor car crash, occasionally extended to non-cars.
  • Bloke - Guy/dude, means the same thing that it does in the UK and New Zealand.
  • Bludger - A slacker, layabout, or someone who's just being lazy. 'Dole bludger' refers to ones on welfare. (no relation to Harry Potter)
  • Bogan - The Aussie term for the urban/suburban redneck/white trash; he may wear ripped jeans, have a mullet, hold a stubbie or bong, drink large quantities of cheap beer (particularly Foster's, Victoria Bitter, and XXXX Gold), work as an unskilled labourer, drive a big, powerful, old, clapped-out car (Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore only) with an obnoxiously loud sound system (likely blasting AC/DC, Cold Chisel, Rose Tattoo, Airbourne, or any number of other hard/pub rock acts), and use pretty much all the words on this list, the more unfashionable the better. See here. Also quite prone to dropping Cluster F Bombs wherever possible.
  • Bottle-o - Liquor store.
  • Boy racer - A young motorist (usually male) driving a vehicle with excessive, obnoxious, and largely cosmetic modifications (i.e. spoilers, hood intakes, loud and often bass-heavy sound setups, wide-bore exhaust tips, excessive lowering and stanced/"hellaflush" tires) who is known for their poor driving etiquette and lack of regard for rules of the road. Also British and New Zealandian slang, where it means the exact same thing.
  • Buckley's chance (sometimes Buckley's or Buckley's and none) - No chance, or almost no chance. Comes from either the escaped convict William Buckley, or the now-defunct department store chain Buckley & Nunn. The latter is used to describe a situation with two supposed chances (probabilities), being Buckley's chance (meaning a very small chance) or no chance at all.
  • Budgie-smugglers, - AKA Speedos. Refers to the fact that it looks as if a budgerigar is being smuggled within them.
    • Dicktogs, - Like "budgie-smugglers"... but less polite.
    • Banana hammock, - Like "budgie-smugglers"... but more hilarious. This term is also used in the States.
  • Bugger!, - A popular variation on Oh, Crap! whenever something goes seriously wrong. Identical to the British and New Zealand usage.
  • Bungers - Mental, crazy, insane. "Go Bungers" can also be used to mean "help yourself" in the same way as "go nuts" or "knock yourself out". As in "There's plenty of grog in the fridge, so go bungers".
    • "Bungers" is also a term for small firecrackers.
  • Bunyip - A mythical beast, the Australian equivalent of Bigfoot or the Yeti (though Australia has stranger things than either). Former (left wing) Prime Minister Paul Keating said an opponent from the (right-wing) Liberal party was "from the Bunyip Aristocracy" (a quote from Daniel Deniehy, who made up the phrase), meaning he had fanciful notions of belonging to an aristocracy that does not exist. The term 'Bunyip' (from an Aboriginal language, although good luck finding out which one) is usually translated to mean 'spirit', although a more accurate translation might be "monster" — some tribes once identified the bones of the now-extinct 'giant wombat' Diprotodon as being those of the "bunyip".
  • Cark it - To die.
  • Carn, - A corruption of "Come on", as in, "Aw, come on, lets go to the pub." Pronounced with a very long 'a' sound. If you hear a drunk making a cawing noise, they are trying to say this (unless they are a galah; see above). Often used at football games. Mostly heard at sporting events/broadcasts, as "Carn the [mono/duosyllabic abbreviation of team]." Carn the Kangas! Its phonetic similarity to a certain naughty word can make for an interesting-sounding exhortation — cf. the Frenzal Rhomb song, "Kaan Kaant".
    • Speaking of such word-naughtiness, the c-word is essentially little more than punctuation in the vernacular of young Australian gentlemen — similar to their UK brethren. The American/Canadian squeamishness around the word is potent comedy to Commonwealth residents, to the point that Australian comedian Kevin 'Bloody' Wilson wrote the song You Can't Say Cunt In Canada when told he should avoid the word where possible. (Note: He first performed it in Canada)
  • Chat - Awful. Named after the suburb of Chatswood in Sydney. Born in Sydney's North Shore before spreading rapidly through the rest of the country.
  • Cheers - Thank you. Also used in the UK.
    • Cheers, big ears! An alternately insulting and affectionate way of saying thank you. 'Insulting and affectionate' is a fair summation of the Aussie mindset... on a good day.
      • Same goes, big nose! is the common response to it, instead of saying you're welcome.
  • Chuffed - pleased. "I'm so chuffed you picked me"
  • Claytons, - A fake, or substitute; this term derives from the ad for Claytons non-alcoholic wine (the tagline: "The drink you have when you're not having a drink.")
  • Crikey - Expression of surprise. Best known to the internet generation from the renowned independent news website, or maybe the series Crocodile Hunter.
  • Cunt - Sometimes this means the same as it does in the rest of the world. Often though it's a general (if crude) way of addressing someone, the same as you'd use "mate". If someone is a "sick cunt" it's a compliment, usually because they've done something well. If they're a "mad cunt" they did something really awesome. "Oi cunt" is a standard greeting for one's friends. A "shit cunt" is an undesirable individual, while a "right cunt" is similar but is usually used to refer to an undesirable individual who is extremely rude and ill-mannered. A "dog cunt" is a traitor or someone who maliciously takes advantage of a friend or colleague.
  • Cuppa - A shorthand way to say "cup of", but can also be used in reference to tea, example "I'll just have a cuppa".
  • Daggy - Naff, out of fashion. Someone who frequently exhibits daggy behaviour can be referred to as a dag. A reference to the clumps of dung that get stuck to the arses of sheep.
  • Drongo, - An idiot. This term is distinctly out of fashion.
  • Durries - Cigarettes.
  • Fanny - Female genitalia, also an implication of cowardice or weakness if used as an insult. If you assume that it is used in roughly the same way that Americans and Canadians would use "pussy" (in both contexts), you would be correct.
  • "F.O.B"- commonly used in Queensland among the young people, stands for fresh-off-the-boat. Often used to describe Torres-strait islanders.
As a derogatory term has been ‘reclaimed’ by Pacific Islanders in Western Sydney, who have typically arrived in Australia via New Zealand. Some use this term to refer to themselves. Some people consider it insulting, some don't so use wisely.
  • It's used further south to distinguish Asians who grew up in Australia (they tend to use the term more than anyone) as opposed to Asian international students. Generally it's not an insult, but it could be made to be such.
  • Fuck a duck! - A expression of simultaneous disbelief and dismay. Lengthened to "Like fuck said the duck", among the verbose, although this is probably more an expression of defiance ("Like fuck I will!"). ''Fuck a duck, there's a gigantic flying saucer hovering over the Harbour!''
    • More common is the similar phrase Shit-a-Brick!. When you see it...
  • Furphy - A misleading statement that is not strictly a lie. Comes from the old Furphy water carts which workers would stand around during "smoko" (smoke break) and tell stories.
  • Galah, - Also means idiot, fool. Comes from the Galah, a cockatoo with very bright pink and white feathers, which has a rather hysterical-sounding squawk.
    • It's also pronounced "ga-laah".
  • Gatho/Getty - A gathering or a get-together. If you're in Sydney, this helps distinguish what part of Sydney the person you're talking to is from - easterners use gatho, westerners use getty.
  • G'day - Informal greeting, a shortened form of 'good day', but note that it is never used to end a conversation as 'good day' can be.
  • Goon - Boxed wine.
  • Gosford Skirt - A skirt that, when worn by a lady, stops just south of The Entrance. So named as the town of Gosford on the central coast of New South Wales is just south of the town known as The Entrance.
  • Grot - Filth. Often used as an adjective, such as "That's so grot, dude."
    • Sometimes amplified to grotty, or used in noun form to describe a particularly filthy person "you're a grot, mate"
  • Grouse, - Rhyming with "house", meaning 'Excellent'. Has fallen out of favour and sounds sort of Totally Radical now.
  • Hectic - A word used to replace any adjective from slightly busy to Holy-Mother-Of-God Armageddon, and with a strange side-meaning of also meaning "very crazy, but in a good way." Similar to "nuts."
    • A good example would be in describing a party: "That party last night was HECTIC! I woke up naked five blocks away!"
  • Hoon - (Noun) A person who engages in dangerous or obnoxious behaviour with motor vehicles (speeding, burnouts, gratuitous engine revving, etc); (Verb) To travel at dangerous speeds or operate in a rude and obnoxious manner, especially in a motor vehicle.
  • Jackaroo - Cattle drover, the Australian equivalent of a Cowboy. The female version is "Jillaroo".
  • Munted, - Broken; also, hungover — the verb "to munt" can, in some regions (Victoria, southeast Queensland), mean to vomit, usually with drunken or hungover implications. This is an Inherently Funny Word; just let it roll off your tongue. So to speak.
    • Also used to mean something like "messed up", like, "Gah, my hair's all munted" or about someone who's got bunions, "Their feet are all munted". It's kind of rude though, and not used all that much. Normally it is used with the former context (one about hair) more often, as in, easily fixed flaws rather than an actual disfigurement like the latter.
    • In Sydney, it is generally used to represent being intoxicated by certain... recreational substances. For example, "Mate, I'm feeling so munted, got any gum?"
  • Not Cricket - Something out of line, unfair or ridiculous, as in; "That's just not cricket." Naturally comes from Cricket terminology; most of these are also be found in Britain. Other common cricket terms used in non-cricketing life:
    • Hit for Six - To be surprised and heavily defeated or wrong-footed. Or Megaton Punched.
    • Let through to the Keeper - To actively decide not to deal with a difficult subject.
    • Stumped - Same as in American usage, but with the added imprimatur of being a very vivid image to an Australian, since it is a cricketing term.
    • Wrong'un - In cricket, a ball that is bowled to spin the opposite direction to which it would otherwise spin, much like a curveball in baseball; in real life, essentially equivalent to the figurative "curveball" in US slang.
    • Sticky Wicket - A difficult situation.
    • Play a straight bat - a simple defensive batting move; in real life, to be simple and direct and honest.
    • Sledge - To Trash Talk in an unbecoming manner; in proper circles, trash-talk must be witty and urbane, such as "Learn to bowl straight and I might even play the ball," or any funny comeback to an offensive sledge. It becomes sledging when it is simply abuse with no element of class, ie, "You're fat. Why are you so fat?" It is rather subjective. Sometimes can still be a fine art, take this exchange between Pakistani batsman Javed Miandad and Australian bowler Merv Hughes:
      Javed: You should be driving buses, you're too fat to be playing cricket.
      Merv: *Bowls Javed out* Tickets please Javed.
    • Also note that terms such as "Back pad," "Silly Mid On," "Deep Fine Leg," and other cricketing terms lend themselves well to an Australian's filthy mind.
  • Peg - To throw an object very hard at someone, usually with the intention of hitting them with it and mocking them for not catching it.
  • Pingas - MDMA. Unrelated to the infamous Mondegreen. Not pronounced the same way, either.
  • Pom, - a British (but most often English) person. Allegedly derived from PMOE, a backronym for "Prisoners Of Mother England" or POHM, "Prisoner Of His/Her Majesty'," the word is used instead of "Brit" because "Brit" doesn't lend itself well to the phrase most often used to describe a British person, "Pommy Bastard". Try it - rolls off the tongue way easier that "Brit Bastard."
    • Another possible origin is jeering during The Ashes (The cricket match between Australia and England) making fun of the English's (inevitable) sunburn - their pale skin turns a bright shade of red, similar to a pomegranate.
  • Pull a sickie - Pretend to be sick to skip school/work. "Chuck" or "Throw" is also used interchangeably with "Pull".
    • Wag also means to skip school or work, but without the "pretending to be sick" part; i.e. just not turning up without bothering to disguise the indiscretion.
  • Ranga - a term for people with red hair. Usually meant to be insulting, but has been used so much that it can just be a way to refer to them. Ranga is short for Orangutan, the idea behind it being that Orangutans are covered in red hair. (This being a fine example of the Australian reputation for stating the obvious.)
    • It replaces, more or less, the older term for a redhead, which in typical early Australian contrarian style, was blue. In fact, until 2011 the Australian arm of Virgin Airlines was called Virgin Blue for the specific reason that their planes were red. It is still the name of their Twitter account amongst other things.
  • Root, - also means its traditional meaning of a part of a plant or beginning point of another thing, but in Australia is the unusual euphemism for sexual intercourse. "Wanna root?" is a coarse and unfortunately common proposition in Australian pubs. It's interchangeable with our favourite four letter F word as a verb, past tense verb, adjective, noun, and beyond.
    • For this reason Australians tend to find it either offensive or hilarious when Americans ask "What team do you root for?"
      • Also the reason that Australians both adore and find hilarious the Canadian clothing brand "Roots", often buying items as souvenirs when visiting Canada.
    • 'Route' is pronounced "root" as well, in both British and Aussie English. 'Rout' (as in the military term or carpentry cut) is still pronounced as in America, though.
    • The multiple meanings are nicely summed up in Bryce Courtenay's book Brother Fish on pages 204-205.
      Jacko (Aussie): Mate, we're stuffed. Rooted.
      Jimmy (African American): Rooted?
      Jacko: It means we're fucked, up shit creek... it's Australian.
      Jimmy: Rooted! Hey, dat's good, man! I'm rooted.
      Jacko: No, that's not the same thing. When you say "I'm rooted" it means you're tired. "We're rooted" means we're stuffed, finished, washed up. "Get rooted" means piss off, beat it, scram. "I've been rooted" means I've been cheated or badly done by. "I rooted her" means I had sex with a woman.
      Jimmy: Whoa, man, dat Aus-tray-lee-an a mighty strange language for sure!
  • Scab - Apart from the traditional usages for blood clots after injury and people who cross union picket lines, in Australia it also means to get something for free by asking or by hanging around until you get what you want. Example, "Can I scab a ciggy off ya mate?" Means asking your friend for a free cigarette, while "You wanna scab some tea?" would mean the person has stuck around long enough that the person making or getting dinner is going to get the scab some as well as their own.
  • Septic - American. Rhyming slang: an American is a Yankee, which is shortened to a Yank, which rhymes with septic tank, which is shortened to septic. As an added note: Americans do not consider all Americans to be Yankees, but Australians do. Shortened to "Seppo." Not necessarily used in a derogatory manner.
    • Gleefully adopted by British Army personnel working alongside their American allies in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, where it generally is used in a derogatory manner. Often shortened to Sepp, as in fucking Sepps - all the gear, but no idea.
    • Alternatively it may have been derived from the idea that Americans are all full of shit, and then been given a more polite explanation of cockney slang, or vice versa.
  • Shang - Meaning "pass", as in "Could you shang us the Vegemite?" as opposed to "Could you pass me the butter?"
  • Sheila - A woman.
    • Shacked up with the sheilas - In a bedroom with sheilas, generally meaning promiscuous women.
    • Fun fact: the word derives from an Irish word for "homosexual". Long story.
  • She'll be right, or No worries - Everything will be going well, don't worry. She'll be apples is an outdated form. Not a drama is another variation.
  • Shithouse - Sometimes used to describe a toilet. More often used in the saying, 'built like a brick shithouse', which is old Cockney (but not rhyming slang). Most often used these days as an adjective - 'That was a shithouse performance by [Football Team] last night'.
  • Shit-stirrer, - Troublemaker; the best analogy might be "troll" (in the internet sense). Also used in the UK with the same meaning. It also sees some use in the US, but is usually used to refer to a person who likes drama and deliberately pits people against one another and engineers conflict, rather than just someone who likes to antagonize others.
  • Shonky - ersatz, poorly made, faulty, dubious, unreliable.
  • Skip or Skippy - An Australian of Anglo-Saxon descent. Coined by Greek and Italian immigrants who were subjected to racial taunts and wanted to return the favor. Comes from the TV show Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.
    • Can also be used as a teasing term for someone with one leg. See also Blinky for blind people.
    • The genre of music created by Australian rappers is derisively referred to as Skip Hop.
  • ‘ ‘ Skuxx ‘’ - starting as New Zealand slang it crossed the Tasman into Western Sydney and other areas via visiting Kiwis and former Auckland Pacific Islanders. Typically used to describe yourself as being attractive or looking particaularly good looking at that moment. “ I’m Skuxx”.
  • Smoko - Smoke break.
  • Spewing' - in a state of frustration, e.g. "I was spewing last night cause I couldn't find my car keys" - sometimes used as an interjection. It should be noted that the word still also maintains its meaning of "vomiting", but it's not frequently used like that.
    Alice: I couldn't find my car keys last night, so I missed the movie.
    Bob: Spewin'.
    • Spitting chips is similar. "You'd be spitting chips if you'd bought that before the price went down!"
  • Spruik (transitive verb) To publically advocate for a product or idea. "The prime minister spent this week spruiking his new tax plan."
  • Squiz - To look at something, if made into a noun; "Here, take the binoculars and take a squiz at the skyline."
  • Strewth, - An expression of surprise, much like 'Oh god!' or 'Jeez!'. Contraction of "God's truth". This was an apparently-common English curse from the colonial period (compare "zounds!", which derived from "God's wounds"), and the contraction "strewth" now stands on its own. Note: no self-respecting Aussie would actually say "God's truth"; whether any self-respecting Aussie would say strewth is a whole other can of worms.)
  • Stubby, - A short bottle of beer, usually with 375mL capacity; this is a bottle type also used in Europe and Canada, but which is rare in the United States. The rubber coverings that allow the drinker to hold onto the bottle without getting cold hands is referred to as a stubbie holder.
    • Speaking of which, a can of beer is sometimes referred to as a tinnie. This is also slang for a small aluminium boat. Drink enough tinnies while you're in a tinnie, and you may not feel it when the croc takes your arm. Hurrah!
  • Ta - thank you. Interchangeable with 'cheers'. Also used in British English.
    • Not to be confused with "the Tahs", aka the Waratahs, a New South Wales sporting team.
    • Also never means 'good bye', though "ta ta" does
  • Thongs - No, not the underwear, folks. They're shoes. Flip-flops to be precise. The 'essential' Aussie footwear. (This term has made its way to the U.S....and the ambiguity of the term is often played for comedy. For example, in Zits when Jeremy's mom uses the term with the "shoe" meaning, the teens visualize the "underwear" meaning. Squick.)
    • Although, they stem from the same linguistic root; a thong was a thin strip of material (usually leather) used for various purposes. The footwear derives its name from the strip of material, usually rubber, that acts as a harness for the foot. The other... Well.
  • Too easy - meaning sure, okay, no problem. It does not mean we want to be asked to do something more challenging. (which we never do)
  • Trackie Dacks, - Short for tracksuit pants ('Dacks' being broad slang for trousers, shorts or underwear. Or culottes, presumably, but that doesn't seem to come up.)
    • Dacking, - Pulling down another person's pants. Popular in the schoolyard, despite being a grave contravention of schoolyard anti-cootie measures. "Cooties" are not usually part of the Australian child's lexicon, however — "boy germs" and "girl germs" are the primary epidemiological threat facing the Australian child.
  • Tradie. A tradesperson such as a chippie (carpenter) or sparkie (electrician). Always seen wearing Hi-Vis clothing (which has replaced the term fluoro).
  • Ute - What an American calls a pickup truck, an Aussie calls a Ute. An abbreviation of "utility vehicle", and pronounced "yoot".
    • Just don't use 'SUV'. Car advertisements don't seem to get the message.
    • Pickup trucks and utes are two different things, however. While a pickup truck is half truck, half trailer, a ute is half car, half trailer. It's smaller and more ideal as just a normal car to drive around.
  • VB - Victoria Bitter, a brand of cheap beer. Despite the name, it has nothing in common with a traditional English bitter, instead being an adjunct lager.
  • Westie - A resident of the western suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, usually synonymous with "bogan" since these suburbs tend to be lower-class, as opposed to the typically upper or middle class eastern suburbs. Inverted in Perth, where the eastern suburbs are the lower-class ones.
  • Wog - Any person coming from any country adjoining or abutting to the Mediterranean - primarily Greece, Italy or any former Yugoslavian state, although usually not France or other Balkan states. As with most Australian words, it's highly offensive but is often used in a totally non-offensive manner.
    • Wogball - Derisive name for soccer.
  • Wowser - A killjoy or spoilsport, especially of the Moral Guardians type — also a derogatory term for a teetotaller. Comes from the slogan of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, "We Only Want Social Evils Remedied". Nothing to do with Inspector Gadget's Catchphrase.
  • Yeah Nah - Its original usage was to sum up a person's opinion in an argument or discussion in two words (typical of the Aussie's preference for laziness) by saying 'Yes I hear you but no I don't agree.' It has also become a standard response to almost any question.
    • Truly gifted practitioners have added Nah Yeah to their vocabulary, as a way of responding to questions along with Yeah Nah. Often found in sports match post-game player interviews. Can be taken to extremes such as extended "Yeah nah yeah", "Nah yeah nah yeah" and so on. The true answer is the last one.

And a few words and phrases that started out Australian but took over the world:

  • GFC - unrelated to fried chicken products, GFC is the Australian-coined term for the Great Recession of 2008 started by, amongst other things, poorly designed financial products. It stands for "Global Financial Crisis," and has caught on as a reasonably recognisable acronym around the world to describe that recession.
  • No worries - don't worry about it, no problem, etc. Sometimes shortened to "No'oreez" or "N'worriz". Also "No wukkahs", which comes from an obvious rude spoonerism. (The long form is "No wucking furries" can work it out.)
  • Selfie - to take a photograph of yourself, while holding on to the camera. While originally Australian, this word has broken out to worldwide use, although it has a definite Australian construction (shortening of "self-portrait" and bunging on an "-ie" at the end). There are some associated words along with the original coining (which may not necessarily be Australian in origin):
    • Duckface - To purse your lips such that it looks like a duck's bill (see also the "Blue Steel" look in Zoolander.)
    • Food-Selfie - The irrational yet apparently universally genetically imprinted compulsion for Australians (often of Asian descent) to take selfies of themselves consuming or about to consume food.
    • Gym-Selfie - The aftermath of a healthy workout. For some reason, they are always in Gyms and never seem to show the subject sweating.
    • Gosford-Gap - known elsewhere in the world as a box-gap, a trait exhibited by women who take selfies in Gosford Skirts. note  There must be a gap between the top of the lady's thighs just as they reach The Entrance.
  • Whatevs - An expression of acute indifference. We were clearly too lazy to add the "er" to the end of the word, but stole the original disaffected-nineties-kid meaning from the Americans, who have stolen back the abbreviation.

Foreigners are notorious for assuming New Zealanders and Australians are the same people. In fact, using much of this slang in New Zealand will earn you a derisive snort. Particularly thong, which New Zealanders call a jandal. There is about 50% overlap between Australian and New Zealand slang, leaving both parties in perpetual confusion over what is or isn't mutually comprehensible.

Note that saying some of these to anyone under the age of 35 may net you withering looks, as the expressions are aging somewhat; genuine slang changes quite rapidly across time and places, and phenomena such as globalisation and American cultural imperialism means that even if many younger people do know what these words mean, they sure as hell won't use them. On the other hand, many young men seem to take a semi-ironic delight in reviving the most obnoxious slang available — this may even act as a feedback loop, not only sustaining distinctively Australian slang, but intensifying its crudity... We can only hope.

Further note: saying any of these to any Aussie, if you aren't Australian, will not endear you to them. Unless they taught you themselves. And its pronounced "Ozzy" like the guy from Black Sabbath, not "Ah-zzy", which is Aussie for "American fuckwit" (see below)

Additionally, Australians are often too lazy to bother saying a full word - Aussie (Australian), Barbie (Barbecue), Trackies (from the aforementioned 'trackie dacks') and "A-over-T" (arse-over-tits) are all briefer variations on already-brief terminology. This passion for abbreviation crosses all classes, with things such as Elsty (the suburb of Elsternwick), Akker (footballer Jason Akemanis), "The G" (MCG, the Melbourne Cricket Ground) or Brissie (Brisbane — to add a touch of withering scorn or regional semi-ironic pride, we also recommend "Bris Vegas" or "Brisneyland". NB: It is crucial to pronounce the 's' in all Brisbane-related words as a 'z' sound. Screw that up and y're gone, mate! Don't. Even. Bother.). If your name is longer than two syllables, expect it to be shortened to one, with an optional '-o' or '-zza' for a suffix. Even if your name has merely two syllables and is already shortened, it will probably be modified just the same. Gary = Gaz or Gazza; Stephen = Steve-o; Larry = Lazza. Those named Leonard should not expect their name to be shortened to "Lezza", or "Lezzo", for the obvious reason. Unless it turns out to be funny. (Lezzo is Australian slang for "lesbian". It's usually derogatory unless you're referring to an actual lesbian who is a friend. Not to be confused with 'Lebbo', that's refering to Lebanon or someone who is Lebanese.)

An odd side effect is that many Australianisms have been gender neutral for longer than people have been activated about it. For example firemen/firefighters are firies and postmen/postal workers are posties.

Speaking of hell, another particularity of Australian English is that we swear a bloo- a shitload (Last-second corrections notwithstanding, 'bloody' is often thought of as the Great Australian Adjective). Not Wil Anderson "a lot", but then, no-one's that mannered. Essentially, 'bloody' is a modifier used to denote emphasis, as in "Get a bloody move on!" Australians are fond of emphasis, and will insert it anybloodywhere...

Perhaps an indication of how attached Aussies once were to the great Aussie adjective, the following are three verses from Austral-aise by CJ Dennis (one of Australia's foremost early 20th century poets), which (sung to the tune of "Onward Christian Soldier", of all things) was once a finalist for the national anthem (without the German-slurring later verses, we assume, but you never know, with Australians). Just think how awesome it would be if this (especially the second verse) were played every time an Aussie won gold at the Olympics...

Fellers of Australier,
Blokes an' coves an' coots,
Shift yer bloody carcases,
Move yer bloody boots.
Gird yer bloody loins up,
Get yer bloody gun,
Set the bloody ener-my
An' watch the blighters run.

Get a bloody move on,
Have some bloody sense.
Learn the bloody art of
Self de-bloody-fence.

Joy is bloody fleetin',
Life is bloody short.
Wot's the use uv wastin' it
All on bloody sport?
Hitch yer bloody tip-dray
To a bloody star.
Let yer bloody watchword be

When the bloody bugle
Sounds "Ad-bloody-vance"
Don't be like a flock o' sheep
In a bloody trance
Biff the bloody Kaiser
Where it don't agree
Spifler-bloody-cate him
To Eternity.

Australia also recommends the use of the term "fuckwit" in place of the neologism "fucktard" — "fuckwit" has a longer heritage and is more conceptually coherent, retains the phonetic vigour of "fucktard" and avoids the Unfortunate Implications of "fucktard"". Try it — you'll like it!

There are also several words which shouldn't be used in Australia due to alternate meanings. Some are rather innocent, such as the word "bum" meaning "buttocks". However, the words "fanny" (female genitalia) and "root" (to have sexual intercourse) should never be used in polite company. If you were to say you were "rooting for your football team", you may be met with some laughter, although at this point, we've all watched enough American TV to be desensitised to it. The same goes for the nickname "Randy". (Although most Australians who live anywhere else in Australia still think that the Sydney suburb "Rooty Hill" has a hilarious name. Especially when, as in the last Federal election, politicians attempt to be dignified there.)

The very nature of Australian slang means that a new slang term is probably being made daily. American comedian Arj Barker, as an experiment, went into five different Australian furniture stores and pottered about until someone came up to him to ask him, "Can I help you, sir?" to which he would respond, "I'm just having a squidgy didge." Five out of five people did not question this. This is because it's quite similar to the commonly used slang word "Squiz," which means, "a look at," as well as "Ridgy-didge," which means, "authentic or genuine." Australians often correlate two similar sounding slang words in meaning, especially if one is a "longform" or "shortform" of the other.

For some more examples of slangs, see this Irregular Webcomic! Podcast (link to transcript).

The ABC ("Aunty") also maintains a massive database Aussie slang broken down by region. Important for things like correctly using your golden drinking ticket (depending on the state/pub/bartender, a glass of beer can be a schooner, a middy, a pony, a -ah, bugger it, just look it up) and finding out what on earth a deadly treadly is before it kills you.

Alternative Title(s): Gday Mate


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