Australian English is also referred to as "Strine". The word derives from saying the word "Australian" through clenched teeth - a local accent that some scholars claim arose from the need to try and keep ones mouth closed when speaking, in order to keep the flies out…….
True Aussie “Strine” can be quite difficult to understand, especially if you are in rural or outback Australia. To confuse things further, some Australians join several words together as one - like 'waddayareckon' (what do you reckon?) or owyagoin (how are you going?) and so on.
To add further frustration, some slang uses rhyming (just like English cockney slang) For example Captain Cook (referring to the English explorer who discovered Sydney) "Take a Captain Cook" means to take a look. The origins are unclear, but it is fair to say there is a link through the original convicts from England. Slang was almost always used by men because this lazy way of using the “Queens English” would have been considered very vulgar in its time.
Another peculiarity is the tendency to speak with a rising intonation, which makes their sentences sound like questions. So be warned when you are having a conversation with an Australian, you may not always be being asked a question – you may look a fool giving an answer.
Be careful, an attempt to use some Australian slang will likely be viewed as an attempt to mock, rather than an attempt to speak the local dialect - However, it can never hurt to say "G'day, How are ya goin'" to an Aussie. This guide should be viewed as an informal and fun introduction to some Australian idiosyncrasies, rather than a guide on how to communicate.
Glossary of Australian Slang "Words"
- Arvo: Afternoon.
- Avos: Avocados.
- Avago You Mug: Shout of encouragement to a sportsman not performing to his best
- Banana bender: A Queenslander.
- Barbie: Barbecue, as in "I'll throw some shrimp and chook on the barbie."
- Bash: Party. Also "fancy turns".
- Bonzer: Pronounced "bonsa" - grouse, great, excellent.
- Bloke: Man, guy.
- Bludger: Lazy person, layabout.
- Bluey: (also known as Blue) Slang for any bloke with red hair, and also known to describe the Australian Cattle Dog.
- Bonnet: Hood of a car.
- Boomer: A large male kangaroo, as Rolf Harris sings, "Six white boomers, snow white boomers on Santa's Australian run...".
- Boot: Trunk of a car.
- Bottle shop: Liquor shop.
- Box of blowflies: Ugly, as in "that's as ugly as a box of blowflies!" And that's pretty ugly!
- Buckley's Chance: No chance at all.
- Bung: To put or place. E.g bung another snag on the barbie
- Bunyip: A mythical bush spirit, Australia's bigfoot. Probably just a hairy surfie!
- Capsicums: Green or red bell peppers.
- Carpetbagger steak: Beef stuffed with oysters.
- Chemist shop: Drug store.
- Chew the Fat: To talk, engage in pleasant conversation, to have a chinwag.
- Chook: Chicken. Often served barbecued at fancy turns. If your hostess is befuddled and/or overcome by trying to do too many things at once, one might say she was "running around like a chook with its head cut-off!"
- Cockie: Farmer.
- Cockroach: Someone from New South Wales
- Crook: Sick, or badly made.
- Crow eater: A South Australian.
- Dag: A funny person, nerd, goof, loser.
- Digger: A soldier.
- Dilly-bag: Food bag.
- Ding bat: Fool.
- Dinky-di: The real thing.
- Donk: Car or boat engine.
- Donkey's years: Ages.
- Drop-in: To steal a surfer's wave. This is a serious crime in Surfer's Paradise.
- Earbash: Non-stop chatter.
- Esky: Portable icebox or cooler - it's always a good idea to have one in the boot stocked with some cold ones just in case the party's bar runs dry.
- Fair Dinkum: Kosher, the real thing - as in "Fair Dinkum Aussie" (true blue Aussie original). Often used by itself as a rhetorical question to express astonishment verging on disbelief ... "Fair Dinkum, mate?" (you've got to be kidding, haven't you?)
- Fair go: A good chance
- Footpath: Sidewalk.
- Footy: Rugby League
- Flyer: female kangaroo
- Galah: Noisy fool, named after the bird of the same name.
- Game: Brave.
- G'arn: Go on, you're kidding!
- G'day: Universal greeting, used anytime day or night, but never as a farewell. Pronounced "gud-eye", usually followed by "mate" (mite) or a typically strung-together "howyagoinallright"(= how are you today, feeling pretty good?)
- Give it a burl: Try it.
- Good as gold: Great!
- Good oil: Useful information, a good idea.
- Good Onya: Omnipresent term of approval, sometimes ironic, offering various degrees of heartfelt congratulations depending on inflection. Indispensible during Aussie smalltalk - substitute "really, oh yeh, aha, etc."
- Grizzle: To complain.
- Grouse: Rhymes with "house" - means outstanding, tremendous. Can be applied
- universally to all things
- social ... "grouse birds (women), grouse band, in fact, grouse bloody gay and hearty (great party!)"
- Have a yarn: To talk to someone.
- Hit your kick: Open your wallet.
- Hooroo: Pronounced "who-ru"... means "see ya later", make sure you don't say g'day when meaning goodbye - it's a dead giveaway you're not a true blue Aussie.
- Hotel: Often just a pub.
- Icy pole: Popsicle.
- Jackaroo: A male ranch hand.
- Jillaroo: A female ranch hand.
- Joey: Baby kangaroo.
- Journo: Journalist.
- Jumbuck: Sheep.
- Jumper: Sweater.
- Knock: To criticise.
- Lemon squash: Lemonade.
- Lob-in: Drop in to see someone.
- Lollies: Sweets.
- Lolly water: Soft drink.
- Never Never: Distant outback.
- No-hoper: A fool, loser
- Offsider: An assistant.
- O.S.: Overseas, as in "she's gone O.S."
- Oz: Australia; God's country
- Pines: Pineapples.
- Pommie or pom: An Englishman.
- Rafferty's rules: Chaos, disorder.
- Reckon: Think, as in "Your shout or mine? What' ya reckon?".
- Ridgy-didge: Original, genuine.
- Right: Okay, as in "she'll be right, mate."
- Ring, tingle: Phone someone up, as in "I'll give him a ring."
- Ripper: Pronounced "rippa" means beaut, tippy-tops, grouse
- Rubbish: To knock something.
- Sandgroper: A Western Australian.
- Shark biscuit: New surfers, grommets on boogie boards. Tres uncool!
- Sheila: A woman
- She'll be right: No problem, don't worry, mate.
- Shootin' through: Leave, take off.
- Smoko: Smoke or coffee break.
- Snag: A sausage.
- Sook: Someone who complains a lot
- Spit The Dummie: A "dummie" is Australian for a child's pacifier. Lose your cool
- Stickybeak: Nosy person.
- Stone the crows: An exclamation of surprise.
- Strewth: Pronounced "sta-ruth" ... general exclamation of disbelief or shock.
- Strine: Australian slang, from "Aus-strine", the way Aussies say Australian.
- Swagman: Itinerant farm worker, tramp
- Taswegian: A resident of Tasmania.
- Tee-up: To set up an appointment.
- Tomato sauce: Ketchup.
- Too right: Definitely!
- True blue: Honest, straight.
- The Lucky Country: Why, Australia, of course.
- Tucker: Food.
- Vegemite: A dark brown, gooey, salty vegetable yeast extract. It's what makes Aussies strong.
- Wally: Idiot
- Whinge: Rhymes with "hinge" as in door! Means to complain incessantly
- Woopwoop: in the boonies, nowhere.
- Wowser: Straight-laced person, prude, puritan, spoilsport.
- Yabber: Talk.
- Yobbo: An uncouth person.
Glossary of Australian Rhyming Slang
Rhyming slang is a creative way to play around with language. It’s basically two or more words, the last of which rhymes with the word it’s replacing. For example, Gold Watch = Scotch. The origins of Australian rhyming slang is not clear. While some believe it came over with the original convicts from United Kingdom, others point to its appearance at the turn of last century.
- Nail and Screws – news
- Forgive and Forget – cigarette
- Froth and Bubble – trouble
- Rock and Lurch – church
- Steak and Kidney – Sydney
- Dodge and Shirk – work
- Curry and Rice – price
- Dog and Bone – phone
- Ducks ‘n Geese – police
- Young and Old – cold
- Oxford Scholar – dollar
- Saint Louis Blues – shoes
- Babbling Brook – cook
- Angora Goat – throat
- Almond Rocks – socks
- German Band – hand
- Bag of Fruit – suit
- Bread and Jam – tram
- Grim and Gory – story
- Apples and Pears – stairs
- Smash and Grab – cab
- After Darks – sharks
- Noah’s Ark – shark
- Ham and Eggs – legs
- Plates of Meat – feet
- Jam Tart – heart
- Mud Pies – eyes
- Gin Sling – ring
- Ginger Beer – ear
- Dog’s Eye – meat pie
- Sky Rocket – hip pocket
- Kitchen Sink – drink
- Mystery Bags snags, sausages
- Frog and Toad – road
- Near and Far – bar
- Young & Frisky – whisky
- China Plate – mate
- Captain Cook – look
- Nelly McGuire – light the fire
- Dad ‘n Dave – shave
- Pat Malone – alone
- Johnny Horner – corner
- Al Capone – phone
- Mad Mike – push bike
- Country Cousin – dozen
- Jimmy Grant – immigrant
- Rory O’Moore – close the door
- Georgie Moore – door
- Joe Baxi – taxi
- Malvern Star – car
- John Hop – cop
- Mutt and Jeff – deaf
- Nellie Bligh – fly
- Mary Lee – tea
- Aristotle – bottle
- Jack Jones – bones
- Ned Kelly – belly
- Lionel Rose – nose
- Joe Blake – snake
- Jack and Jill – bill
- Stay Afloat – coat
- Billy kid – lid
- Tin Lid – kid
- Molly the Monk – drunk
- Ginger Meggs – legs
- Gregory Peck – neck
- Zane Grey – pay
- Germaine Greer – ear
- Trouble and Strife – wife
- Cheese ‘n Kisses – missus
- Blood Blister – sister
- Comic Cuts – guts
- Sausage Roll – goal
- Porkie Pie – lie
- Septic Tank – Yank
- Tin Tank – Yank
Australian Slang Phrases
Many English speaking people visiting Australia for the first time often find our English surprisingly different. For example we tend to shorten our words in ways that leave visitors lost: a university is uni and Christmas is Chrissie and politician is a polly. In addition to using the “ee” sound at the end, we also use “o” endings when we shorten words such as rego for car registration – such is Australian Slang Phrases.
So if you’re heading down under, keep this in mind and you’ll be able to guess some of what we’re saying – well maybe!
Meaning: someone is not trying hard enough and you want them to.
Example: Av-a-go-yer-mug. It really easy to do.
Away with the pixies
Example: She’s not listening. She’s in love and away with the pixies.
Bag of fruit
Meaning: man’s suit. It’s an example of Aussie rhyming slang.
Example: He went to the meeting in his new bag of fruit.
Meaning: you are asked stop talking, be quite, in a angry way.
Example: Oh! Belt up. You’re getting me mad.
Meaning: that’s the truth
Example: Bloody oath it is.
Bob’s yer uncle
Meaning: if you do this (whatever is said first) it will work or be all right.
Example: Just add some extra water and Bob’s yer uncle.
Meaning: that’s great friend.
Example: That’s bonzer mate. I’m happy for you.
Chuck a U-e
Meaning: make a U-turn.
Example: Chuck a U-e mate, the pubs the other way.
Crack a tinnie
Meaning: open a can of cold beer
Example: Come over to my place and we’ll crack a tinnie.
Meaning: true, genuine.
Example: Jack is a dinky-di Aussie all right.
Doing your block
Meaning: you are getting very angry, losing your head.
Example: Peter is out doing his block ’cause his wife pranged the car.
Don’t get your knickers in a knot
Meaning: Don’t upset yourself.
Example: Don’t get your knickers in a knot. She’ll be right, mate.
Fair crack of the whip!
Meaning: give me a fair go.
Example: Fair crack of the whip! I only just started.
Meaning: someone really genuine.
Example: Peter is fair dinkum. You can trust him.
Meaning: what you say when someone is not letting you do or say something.
Example: Fair go mate. I know I can do it.
Fair suck of the sav
Meaning: statement you make when someone is not letting you do or say something.
Example: Fair suck of the sav, mate. How about shutting up and listening.
Fifty k’s south of Woop Woop
Meaning: in the middle of nowhere
Example: He wants to go camping 50 k’s south of Woop Woop.
(You can use any number for the distance.)
Flat chat or flat out
Meaning: going very fast what ever they’re doing.
Example: He is going flat chat and he’ll be finished in half the time.
Full as a goog
Meaning: drunk or eaten to the excess.
Example: That was a great meal. I am full as a goog.
Ga day Cobber
Meaning: welcome close friend.
Example: Ga day cobber. What have you been up to
Go and have a cuppa
Meaning: have cup of tea or coffee.
Example: Go and have a cuppa and I will be there soon.
Go and tart yourself up
Meaning: Please dress in your best clothes
Example: Go and tart yourself up we’re going out to dinner.
Going to the dunny
Meaning: off to the toilet.
Example: Mate you have to wait. I got to go to the dunny.
Having a blue
Meaning: having a fight or argument.
Example: Listen! Can you hear next door having a blue with her old man.
Have a naughty
Meaning: sexual intercourse.
Example: Sorry I’m late. I had a quick naughty with the misses.
He’s got a goog
Meaning: he’s got a bump as big as an egg.
Example: He was in a fight and he got a goog on his head.
He’s got tickets on himself
Meaning: highly self opinionated, thinks they are just great
Example: Don’t take any notice of him. He’s got tickets on himself.
Meaning: an expression of surprise.
Example: Holy-dooly! That was hot.
I got the wog
Meaning: a cold, flu or virus
Example: I can’t go to school because I got the wog.
I will job you!
Meaning: I will hit you or punch you.
Example: If you don’t leave me alone I’ll job you.
Meaning: absolutely exhausted or very tired.
Example: It was a tough day at work. I’m nackered.
It’s a goer
Meaning: something that will definitely occur.
Example: no matter if it rains or not it’s a goer tomorrow.
Meaning: acting in a way that others generally don’t like.
Example: She got very mad at the way he was mucking around.
Meaning: go now, get lost.
Example: Nick off you’re bothering me.
Meaning: don’t worry about it, everything is fine (same as “no worries”)
Example: No dramas mate. It will work out fine.
Meaning: don’t worry about it, everything is fine (Australian Attitude)
Example: No worries mate. It will work out fine.
Meaning: how are you?
Example: Ow-yar-goin mate?
Meaning: you are on your own, alone.
Example: If you do that you are on pat malone.
Meaning: that’s wrong, or incorrect.
Example: Pigs bum, you’re not smarter than me.
Meaning: messing around, wasting time.
Example: Stop playing sillybuggers and finish your homework.
Pull ya head in
Meaning: I don’t want to listen to you so shut up.
Example: Pull ya head in, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Put a snag on the barbie
Meaning: a sausage cooked on a barbeque. That’s what real Aussies cook.
Example: Come on over and we’ll put a few snags on the barbie.
Meaning: leave, you’re not wanted here.
Example: Rack off, you idiot.
Meaning: mild insult calling someone a rascal
Example: Where you been you old ratbag!
Meaning: true or genuine article
Example: Ridgie didge! It’s true, it really is gold.
She’ll be apples!
Meaning: everything will be all right; giving someone assurance
Example: No worries mate. She’ll be apples!
Shut ya gob
Meaning: be quiet.
Example: Aw shut ya gob or I’ll hit you.
Meaning: surprised, bewildered, uncomprehending. You’re said to look like a stunned mullet when you have no idea what’s going on or what they’re talking about.
Example: When she said no, he looked like a stunned mullet.
Take an early mark
Meaning: leave early from whatever you’re doing
Example: they took an early mark from work and are headed to the pub
Taking a sickie
Meaning: taking time off work when not really sick
Example: I am taking a sickie and going fishing.
Meaning: this afternoon.
Example: I’m going to sleep now and this arvo we’ll go to the club.
Turn it up
Meaning: stop what your saying or doing as its not right
Example: Turn it up, you’re making it worse.
You are a galah
Meaning: loud, rudely behaved person.
Example: Keep quiet you big galah.
You dirty grub
Meaning: dirty eater or dirty child.
Example: You dirty grub. Go change your clothes.
You little beauty, that’s beaut, you bewdy
Meaning: excited approval, something has gone really well.
Example: You little beauty. I won the lottery. Reply – That’s beaut mate.
Meaning: your turn to buy the drinks
Example: Bill, it’s your shout.
See ya later, cobber!
Last updated on the 5th of January 2019
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