Learn the lingo

Even people from English-speaking countries sometimes say they find it hard to understand what Australians are talking about.

We don't think it is our Aussie accent that is causing the problem; it's more than likely our unique Aussie slang.

Time is the only thing that will help you adjust to the Australian accent. But this guide will help you understand some of the more common slang words you may hear in Australia.

We sayYou might say

 

Arvo

 

Afternoon

ARIA

Australian Record Industry Award – the highest honour for musicians in Australia

Barbie

BBQ or barbecue. Usually a relaxed social get together where food (usually meat) is cooked on a grill or hotplate. Australian men like to take charge of this aspect of cooking

Bikkie

Biscuit

Bingle

Motor vehicle accident

Bloke

Man, guy

Bluey

Bluebottle (stinging jellyfish). Bizarrely, it can also mean blue cattle dog or redheaded person

Boardies

Board shorts. Originally worn by surfboard riders, they are now the preferred swimwear of many ‘blokes’

Bottle-o

Liquor shop, off-licence

Budgie smugglers

Tight-fitting men’s swimming costume. Often the source of ridicule, especially when worn by a ‘polly’

BYO

Restaurant or party where you ‘Bring Your Own’ food or drink (usually alcohol)

Chewy

Chewing gum

Chook

Chicken, usually a hen

Cuppa

Cup of tea or coffee

Digger

Soldier or ex-serviceman

Daks

Trousers

Esky

Large, insulated food/ drink container. An essential for every ‘barbie’

Footy

Football. Usually refers to Australian Rules Football, especially popular in Victoria

Flat out

To be ‘flat out’ means to be very busy

G’day

Hello

Garbo

Garbage collector

Hooroo

Goodbye

Icy pole

Iced lolly, ice block, popsicle

Jaffle iron

Heated sandwich press used to make toasted sandwiches (‘jaffles’), stuffed with anything from ham and cheese to baked beans

Kindy

Kindergarten. School attended by children around 5 years old

Knock

To ‘knock’ something means to criticise it

Lingo

Language, especially slang

Mozzies

Mosquitoes

Nipper

Young surf lifesaver

Op shop

Opportunity shop or thrift store, where second-hand goods can be bought. ‘Vinnies’ is a perfect example

Pav

Pavlova. A meringue based dessert Australia takes credit for (don’t listen to anyone from New Zealand who tells you otherwise)

Piker

Someone who ‘pikes’ – that is, quits or leaves early

Polly

Politician

Plonk

Cheap wine

Postie

Postman

Rego

Registration (usually for a car)

RSL

Stands for Returned and Services League. Usually refers to a club where locals meet. Not just for ‘diggers’

Sanger

Sandwich

Schooner

Glass of beer. Varies in size according to which state or territory you’re in

Smoko

Cigarette or coffee break

Shout

‘My shout’ means ‘my turn to pay’ or ‘my treat’

Stoked

Pleased or delighted. Originally a surfer’s term

Servo

Service station, where petrol (gas) can be bought, and other basic goods

Sunnies

Sunglasses

Sook

Person who is tame, pathetic, or sorry for themselves

Thongs

Cheap rubber footwear, known as flip-flops or jandles. Not to be confused with a skimpy form of underwear

Togs

Swimming costume. Also called ‘cozzie’

Tool

Idiotic person

Tradies

Tradesmen (plumbers, electricians, etc.)

Ugg boots

Warm sheepskin boots worn by surfers since the 1960s. Made famous (or infamous?) by Pamela Anderson. Also referred to as ‘Uggies’

Ute

Utility vehicle, pick up truck. Usually driven by ‘tradies’

Vinnies

Stands for Saint Vincent de Paul – one of Australia’s oldest charities, which operates many ‘op shops’ around the country

Woop woop

Small, remote town

Wuss

Weak, cowardly or nervous person

Yewy

‘U-turn’, or 180-degree turn, usually made on the road

Yakka

Hard work (used as a noun)

This article covers general information about Australian slang. Please use it as a guide only.