All you need to know in Aussie Slang & Aussie-isms
Australian “Slang”, also known as ‘Strine’, is a way of using certain words and phrases that have become iconic to Australians. You may find that Australians tend to speak quickly and have an unusual way of pronouncing words. Like a nickname the Aussie language has created a sub culture of communication that is fun, entertaining, descriptive & above all larrikin like. [mavericks]
A to Z of AUSSIE SLANG
Ace! : Excellent! Very good
Aerial pingpong : Australian Rules football
Amber fluid : beer
Ankle biter : small child
Apples, she’ll be : It’ll be alright
Arvo : afternoon
Aussie (pron. Ozzie) : Australian
Aussie salute : brushing away flies with the hand
Avos : avocados
B & S : Bachelors’ and Spinsters’ Ball – a very enjoyable party usually held in rural areas
Back of Bourke : a very long way away
Bail (somebody) up : to corner somebody physically
Bail out : depart, usually angrily
Banana bender : a person from Queensland
Barbie : barbecue (noun)
Barrack : to cheer on (football team etc.)
Bathers : swimming costume
Battler : someone working hard and only just making a living
Beaut, beauty : great, fantastic, bloody beautiful
Big-note oneself : brag, boast
Bikkie : biscuit (also “it cost big bikkies” – it was expensive)
Billabong : an ox-bow river or watering hole
Billy : teapot. Container for boiling water.
Bingle : motor vehicle accident
Bities : biting insects
Bitzer : mongrel dog (bits of this and bits of that)
Bizzo : business (“mind your own bizzo”)
Black Stump, beyond the : a long way away, the back of nowhere
Bloke : man, guy
Bloody : very (bloody hard yakka)
Bloody oath! : that’s certainly true
Blow in the bag : have a breathalyser test
Blowie : blow fly
Bludger : lazy person, layabout, somebody who always relies on other people to do things or lend him things
Blue : fight (“he was having a blue with his wife”)
Blue, make a : make a mistake
Bluey : pack, equipment, traffic ticket, redhead
Bluey : blue cattle dog (named after its subtle markings) which is an excellent working dog. favourite all-Aussie dog.
Bluey : heavy wool or felt jacket worn by mining and construction workers.
Bluey : bluebottle jellyfish
Bodgy : of inferior quality
Bog: take a shit, turd, grunt, dump, bondi cigar, brown blind snake, brown mullett
Bog in : commence eating, to attack food with enthusiasm
Bog standard : basic, unadorned, without accessories (a bog standard car, telephone etc.)
Bogan : person who takes little pride in his appearance, spends his days slacking and drinking beer
Bondi cigar : turd, poop, poo, brown mullet
Bonzer : great, ripper
Boogie board : a hybrid, half-sized surf board
Boomer : a large male kangaroo
Booze bus : police vehicle used for catching drunk drivers
Boozer : a pub
Bored shitless : very bored
Bottle shop : liquor shop
Bottle-o : liquor shop (originally a man with hessian bags going around picking up beer bottles in the 50’s and 60’s)
Bottler : something excellent
Bottling, his blood’s worth : he’s an excellent, helpful bloke.
Bounce : a bully
Bourke Street, he doesn’t know Christmas from : he’s a bit slow in the head. (Bourke Street is a brightly lit Melbourne street)
Bowl of rice, not my : not my cup of tea; I don’t like it
Brass razoo, he hasn’t got a : he’s very poor
Brekkie : breakfast
Brick shit house, built like a : big strong bloke
Brickie : bricklayer
Brisvegas : Brisbane, state capital of Queensland
Brizzie : Brisbane, state capital of Queensland
Brumby : a wild horse
Buck’s night : stag party, male gathering the night before the wedding
Buckley’s, Buckley’s chance : no chance (“New Zealand stands Buckley’s of beating Australia at football”)
Budgie smugglers : men’s bathing costume
Bull bar : stout bar fixed to the front of a vehicle to protect it against hitting kangaroos (also roo bar)
BS : Bullshit, bullshitter
Bundy : short for Bundaberg, Queensland, and the brand of rum that’s made there
Bunyip : mythical outback creature
Bush : the hinterland, the Outback, anywhere that isn’t in town
Bush bash : long competitive running or motorcar race through the bush
Bush oyster : nasal mucus
Bush telly : campfire
Bushie : someone who lives in the Bush
Bushman’s hanky : Emitting nasal mucus by placing one index finger on the outside of the nose (thus blocking one nostril) and blowing.
Bushranger : highwayman, outlaw
Butcher : small glass of beer in South Australia – From the theory that a butcher could take a quick break from his job, have a drink and be back at work
BYO : unlicensed restaurant where you have to Bring Your Own grog, also similar party or barbecue
Cab Sav : Cabernet Sauvignon (a variety of wine grape)
Cactus : dead, not functioning
Cane toad : a person from Queensland
Captain Cook : look (noun) (“let’s have a Captain Cook”)
Cark it : to die, cease functioning
Cat burying shit, as busy as a : busy
Chewie : chewing gum
Chokkie : chocolate
Chook : a chicken
Chrissie : Christmas
Christmas : see Bourke Street
Chuck a sickie : take the day off sick from work when you’re perfectly healthy
Chunder : vomit
Clayton’s : fake, substitute
Cleanskin : Bottle of wine without a label. Usually bought in bulk by companies who then add their own personalised label and use the wine as e.g. gifts to clients
Cleanskin : cattle that have not been branded, earmarked or castrated.
Click : kilometre – “it’s 10 clicks away”
Clucky : feeling broody or maternal
Coathanger : Sydney Harbour bridge
Cobber : friend
Cockie : farmer
Cockie : cockatoo
Cockie : cockroach
Cockroach : a person from New South Wales
Coldie : a beer
Come a gutser : make a bad mistake, have an accident
Compo : Workers’ Compensation pay
Conch (adj. conchy) : a conscientious person. Somebody who would rather work or study than go out and enjoy him/herself.
Cooee, not within : figuratively a long way away, far off – England weren’t within cooee of beating Australia at cricket
Cooee, within : nearby – I was within cooee of landing a big fish when the line broke. He lives within cooee of Sydney.
Cook (noun) : One’s wife
Corker : something excellent. A good stroke in cricket might be described as a ‘corker of a shot’
Corroboree : an aboriginal dance festival
Counter lunch : pub lunch
Cozzie : swimming costume
Crack a fat : get an erection
Crack onto (someone) : to hit on someone, pursue someone romantically
Cranky : in a bad mood, angry
Cream (verb) : defeat by a large margin
Crook : sick, or badly made
Crow eater : a person from South Australia
Cut lunch : sandwiches
Cut lunch commando : army reservist
Cut snake, mad as a : very angry
Dag : a funny person, nerd, goof
Daks : trousers
Damper : bread made from flour and water
Date : arse[hole] (“get off your fat date”)
Dead dingo’s donger, as dry as a : dry
Dead horse : Tomato sauce
Deadset : true, the truth
Dero : tramp, hobo, homeless person (from “derelict”)
Digger : a soldier
Dill : an idiot
DILLIGAF: Do I Look Like I Give A F*K [Kevin Bloody Wilson saying]
Dingo’s breakfast : a yawn, a leak and a good look round (i.e. no breakfast)
Dinkum, fair dinkum : true, real, genuine (“I’m a dinkum Aussie”; “is he fair dinkum?”)
Dinky-di : the real thing, genuine
Dipstick : a loser, idiot
Dob (somebody) in : inform on somebody. Hence dobber, a tell-tale
Docket : a bill, receipt
Doco : documentary
Dog : unattractive woman
Dog’s balls, stands out like : obvious
Dog’s eye : meat pie
Dole bludger : somebody on social assistance when unjustified
Down Under : Australia and New Zealand
Drink with the flies : to drink alone
Drongo : a dope, stupid person
Dropkick : see ‘dipstick’
Drum : information, tip-off (“I’ll give you the drum”)
Duchess : sideboard
Duffer, cattle : rustler
Dummy, spit the : get very upset at something
Dunny : outside lavatory
Dunny budgie : blowfly
Dunny rat, cunning as a : very cunning
Durry : tobacco, cigarette
Dux : top of the class (n.); to be top of the class (v.) – “She duxed four of her subjects”.
Earbashing : nagging, non-stop chatter
Eh : aye, yeh, Ok, hey
Ekka : the Brisbane Exhibition, an annual show
Esky : large insulated food/drink container for picnics, barbecues etc.
Exy : expensive
Face, off one’s : drunk (“He was off his face by 9pm”)
Fair dinkum : true, genuine
Fair go : a chance (“give a bloke a fair go”)
Fair suck of the sav! : exclamation of wonder, awe, disbelief (see also “sav”)
Fairy floss : candy floss, cotton candy
Feral : V8 ute (q.v.) sporting large heavy bullbar, numerous aerials, large truck mudflaps and stickers almost all over the rear window and tailgate. Sometimes seen with a Mack emblem on the bonnet and always with large (multiple) driving lights
Feral (n.) : a hippie
Fisho : fishmonger
Flake : shark’s flesh (sold in fish & chips shops)
Flat out like a lizard drinking : flat out, busy
Flaming : Flaming hell, F*k
Flick : to give something or somebody the flick is to get rid of it or him/her
Flick it on : to sell something, usually for a quick profit, soon after buying it.
Flippin : Flip, Flippin hell, F*k
Fly wire : gauze flyscreen covering a window or doorway.
Footy : Australian Rules football
Fossick : search, rummage (“fossicking through the kitchen drawers”)
Fossick : to prospect, e.g. for gold
Fossicker : prospector, e.g. for gold
Franger : condom
Fremantle Doctor : the cooling afternoon breeze that arrives in Perth from the direction of Freeo
Freo : Fremantle in Western Australia
Friggin : Friggin hell, Frig me, F*k
Frog in a sock, as cross as a : sounding angry – a person or your hard drive!
Fuck: Refer “101 meanings of Fuck”
Fruit loop : fool
Full : drunk
Furphy : false or unreliable rumour
G’Day : hello!
Gabba : Wooloongabba – the Brisbane cricket ground
Galah : fool, silly person. Named after the bird of the same name because of its antics and the noise it makes.
Garbo, garbologist : municipal garbage collector
Give it a burl : try it, have a go
Gobful, give a : to abuse, usually justifiably (“The neighbours were having a noisy party so I went and gave them a gobful”)
Gobsmacked : surprised, astounded
Going off : used of a night spot or party that is a lot of fun – “the place was really going off”
Good oil : useful information, a good idea, the truth
Good onya : good for you, well done
Goog, as full as a : drunk. “Goog” is a variation of the northern English slangword “goggie” meaning an egg.
Greenie : environmentalist
Grinning like a shot fox : very happy, smugly satisfied
Grog : liquor, beer (“bring your own grog, you bludger”)
Grouse (adj.) : great, terrific, very good
Grundies : undies, underwear (from Reg Grundy, a television person)
Handle : beer glass with a handle
Heaps : a lot, e.g. “thanks heaps”, “(s)he earned heaps of money” etc.
Holy dooley! : an exclamation of surprise = “Good heavens!”, “My goodness!” “Good grief!” or similar
Hoon : hooligan
Hooroo : goodbye
Hotel : often just a pub
Hottie : hot water bottle or hot babe
Icy pole, ice block : popsicle, lollypop
Jackaroo : a male station hand (a station is a big farm/grazing property)
Jillaroo : a female station hand
Joey : baby kangaroo
Journo : journalist
Jumbuck : sheep
Kangaroos loose in the top paddock : Intellectually inadequate (“he’s got kangaroos loose in the top paddock”)
Kelpie : Australian sheepdog originally bred from Scottish collie
Kero : kerosene
Kindie : kindergarten
Knock : to criticise
Knock back : refusal (noun), refuse (transitive verb)
Knocker : somebody who criticises
Lair : a flashily dressed young man of brash and vulgar behaviour, to dress up in flashy clothes, to renovate or dress up something in bad taste
Lair it up : to behave in a brash and vulgar manner
Larrikin : a bloke who is always enjoying himself, harmless prankster
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
Liquid laugh : vomit
Lizard drinking, flat out like a : flat out, busy
Lob, lob in : drop in to see someone (“the rellies have lobbed”)
Lollies : sweets, candy
London to a brick : absolute certainty (“it’s London to a brick that taxes won’t go down”)
Long paddock : the side of the road where livestock is grazed during droughts
Longneck : 750ml bottle of beer in South Australia
Lucky Country, The : Australia, where else?
Lunch, who opened their? : OK, who farted?
Lurk : illegal or underhanded racket
Maccas (pron. “mackers”) : McDonald’s (the hamburger place)
Mallee bull, as fit as a : very fit and strong. The Mallee is very arid beef country in Victoria/South Australia.
Manchester : Household linen, eg sheets etc.
Mappa Tassie : map of Tasmania – a woman’s pubic area
Mate : buddy, friend
Mate’s rate, mate’s discount : cheaper than usual for a “friend”
Matilda : swagman’s bedding, sleeping roll
Metho : methylated spirits
Mexican : a person from south of the (Queensland) border
Mickey Mouse : excellent, very good. Beware though – in some parts of Australia it means inconsequential, frivolous or not very good!
Middy : 285 ml beer glass in New South Wales
Milk bar : corner shop that sells takeaway food
Milko : milkman
Mob : group of people, not necessarily troublesome
Mob : family or herd (?) of kangaroos
Mongrel : despicable person
Moolah : money
Mozzie : mosquito
Muddy : mud crab (a great delicacy)
Mug : friendly insult (“have a go, yer mug”), gullible person
Mull : grass (the kind you smoke)
Muster : round up sheep or cattle
Mystery bag : a sausage
Nasho : National Service (compulsory military service)
Never Never : the Outback, centre of Australia
Nipper : young surf lifesaver
No drama : same as ‘no worries’
No worries! : Expression of forgiveness or reassurance (No problem; forget about it; I can do it; Yes, I’ll do it)
No-hoper : somebody who’ll never do well
Not the full quid : not bright intellectually
Nuddy, in the : naked
Nun’s nasty, as dry as a : dry
Nut out : hammer out or work out (an agreement, say)
O.S. : overseas (“he’s gone O.S.”)
Ocker : an unsophisticated person
Offsider : an assistant, helper
Old fella : penis
Oldies : parents – “I’ll have to ask my oldies”
Op shop : opportunity shop, thrift store, place where second hand goods are sold.
Outback : interior of Australia
Oz : Australia!
Paddock : see ‘long paddock’
Pash : a long passionate kiss; hence “pashing on”
Pav : Pavlova – a rich, creamy Australian dessert
Perve (noun & verb) : looking lustfully at the opposite sex
Pig’s arse! : I don’t agree with you
Piker : Someone who doesn’t want to fit in with others socially, leaves parties early
Pink slip, get the : get the sack (from the colour of the termination form)
Pint : large glass of beer [3 middies] 750ml
Pissed : Drunk, had too much to drink
Pissed Off: not happy, irritated
Piss Off: go away, get lost, leave me alone
Plate, bring a : Instruction on party or BBQ invitation to bring your own food. It doesn’t mean they’re short of crockery!
Plonk : cheap wine
Pokies : poker machines, fruit machines, gambling slot machines
Polly : politician
Pom, pommy : an Englishman
Pommy bastard : an Englishman
Pommy shower : using deodorant instead of taking a shower
Pommy’s towel, as dry as a : very dry – based on the canard that Poms bathe about once a month
Porky : Lie, untruth (pork pie = lie)
Port : suitcase (portmanteau)
Postie : postman, mailman
Pot : 285 ml beer glass in Queensland and Victoria
Pozzy : position – get a good pozzy at the football stadium
Prezzy : present, gift
Pussy: weak, softy, easy beat
Quid, make a : earn a living – “are you making a quid?”
Quid, not the full : of low IQ. [Historical note: ‘quid’ is slang for a pound. £1 became $2 when Australia converted to decimal currency]
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
Raw prawn, to come the : to bullshit, to be generally disagreeable
Reckon! : you bet! Absolutely!
Reffo : refugee
Rego : vehicle registration
Rellie or relo : family relative
Ridgy-didge : original, genuine
Right, she’ll be : it’ll be alright
Right, that’d be : Accepting bad news as inevitable. (“I went fishing but caught nothing.” “Yeah, that’d be right.”)
Rip snorter : great, fantastic – “it was a rip snorter of a party”
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 : a cigarette that you roll yourself
Roo : kangaroo
Roo bar : stout bar fixed to the front of a vehicle to protect it against hitting kangaroos (also bull bar)
Ropeable : very angry
Rort (verb or noun) : Cheating, fiddling, defrauding (expenses, the system etc.). Usually used of politicians
Rotten : drunk – “I went out last night and got rotten”
Rubbish (verb) : to criticize
Salute, Aussie : brushing flies away
Salvos, the : Salvation Army, bless them
Sandgroper : a person from Western Australia
Sanger : a sandwich
Sav : saveloy (see also “fair suck of the sav!”)
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
Seppo : an American
Servo : petrol station
Shag on a rock, stands out like a : very obvious
Shark biscuit : somebody new to surfing
She’ll be right : it’ll turn out okay
Sheila : a woman
Shit house (adj.) : of poor quality, unenjoyable (“this car is shit house”, “the movie was shit house”)
Shit house (noun) : toilet, lavatory, dunny, out house, crapper, thunder box
Shit yeah : very good, well done, good stuff
Shitting me : must be joking, telling me lies, irritating, pissing me off
Shonky : dubious, underhanded. E.g. a shonky practice, shonky business etc.
Shoot through : to leave
Shout : turn to buy – a round of drinks usually (“it’s your shout”)
Show pony : someone who tries hard, by his dress or behaviour, to impress those around him.
Sickie : day off sick from work (chuck a sickie = take the day off sick from work when you’re perfectly healthy!)
Skite : boast, brag
Skull/Skol (a beer) : to drink a beer in a single draught without taking a breath
Slab : a carton of 24 bottles or cans of beer
Sleepout : house verandah converted to a bedroom
Smoko : smoke or coffee break
Snag : a sausage
Sook : person or animal who is soft, tame, inoffensive. Hence sooky (adj.)
Spag bol : spaghetti bolognese
Spewin’ : very angry, verbal diarrhoea
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)
Squizz (noun) : look – “take a squizz at this”
Standover man : a large man, usually gang-related, who threatens people with physical violence
Station : a big farm/grazing property
Stickybeak : nosy person
Stoked : very pleased
Stonkered : drunk
Strewth : exclamation, mild oath (“Strewth, that Chris is a bonzer bloke”)
Strides : trousers
Strine : Australian slang and pronunciation
Stubby : a 375ml. beer bottle
Stubby holder : polystyrene insulated holder for a stubby
Stuffed, I feel : 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!
Swag : rolled up bedding etc. carried by a swagman
Swaggie : swagman
Swagman : tramp, hobo
Tall poppies : successful people
Tall poppy syndrome : the tendency to criticize successful people
Tallie : 750ml bottle of beer
Taswegian : derogatory term for a person from Tasmania
Technicolor yawn : vomit
Tee-up : to set up (an appointment)
Thingo : Wadjamacallit, thingummy, whatsit
Thongs : cheap rubber backless sandals
Throw-down : small bottle of beer which you can throw down quickly.
Tickets, to have on oneself : to have a high opinion of oneself
Tinny : can of beer
Tinny : small aluminium boat
Tinny, tin-arsed : lucky
Togs : swim suit
Too right! : definitely!
Top End : far north of Australia
Trackie daks/dacks : tracksuit pants
Trackies : track suit
Troppo, gone : to have escaped to a state of tropical madness; to have lost the veneer of civilisation after spending too long in the tropics.
Trough lolly : the solid piece of perfumed disinfectant in a men’s urinal
Truckie : truck driver
True blue : patriotic
Tucker : food
Tucker-bag : food bag
Turps : turpentine, alcoholic drink
Turps, hit the : go on a drinking binge
Two up : gambling game played by spinning two coins simultaneously
Uni : university
Unit : flat, apartment
Up oneself : have a high opinion of oneself – “he’s really up himself”
Up somebody, get : to rebuke somebody – “the boss got up me for being late”
Useful as an ashtray on a motorbike / tits on a bull : unhelpful or incompetent person or thing – “he, she or it is about as useful as tits on a bull” etc. etc.
Ute : utility vehicle, pickup truck
Vedgies : vegetables
Vee dub : Volkswagen
Veg out : relax in front of the TV (like a vegetable)
Vejjo : vegetarian
Vinnie’s : St. Vincent De Paul’s (charity thrift stores and hostels)
WACA (pron. whacker) : Western Australian Cricket Association and the Perth cricket ground
Waggin’ school : playing truant
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
Wanker: masterbater, jerk off, jerk, idiot
Weekend warrior : army reservist
Whacker, whacka : Idiot; somebody who talks drivel; somebody with whom you have little patience; a dickhead
Whinge : complain
White pointers : topless (female) sunbathers
Whiteant (verb) : to criticise something to deter somebody from buying it. A car dealer might whiteant another dealer’s cars or a real estate salesman might whiteant another agent’s property
Wobbly : excitable behaviour (“I complained about the food and the waiter threw a wobbly”)
Wobbly boot on, he’s got the : drunk
Wog : flu or trivial illness
Wog : person of Mediterranean origin. A milder insult than the same word in the UK and perhaps elsewhere.
Wombat : somebody who eats, roots and leaves (see also root)
Woop Woop : invented name for any small unimportant town – “he lives in Woop Woop”
Wowser : straight-laced person, prude, puritan, spoilsport
Wuss : coward; nervous person or animal
XXXX : pronounced Four X, brand of beer made in Queensland
Yabber : talk (a lot)
Yabby : inland freshwater crayfish found in Australia (Cherax destructor)
Yakka : work (noun)
Yewy : u-turn in traffic (“chuck a yewy at the next traffic lights”)
Yobbo : an uncouth person
Zack : sixpence (5 cents) – “it isn’t worth a zack”, “he hasn’t got a zack”
Zeds: get some zeds.. sleep
This is a work in progress with many more historical slang words to be added by request or reader feedback.
Plus All Australian sayings & phrases to know added below…
Fair go, mate. Fair suck of the sauce bottle. Fair crack of the whip
Made famous by the ill-fated former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who enjoyed using Australian slang to speak to the electorate and often pleaded for a “fair suck.” The phrase generally means that you want to be treated fairly.
“Fair suck” was coined by struggling Australian families who shared droppings of tomato sauce to flavor their meat. Such was the hard life that all they wanted was an equitable suck. In the fields, they needed a “fair crack of the whip.” Fair go, mate.
“No worries, mate, she’ll be right”
Reflects a national stoicism that suggests everything (she) will turn out fine in the end. This being the case, there’s no real point in worrying about anything.
“Have a Captain Cook”
A look, a brief inspection. In apparent honor of the first Brit to map eastern Australia, Captain James Cook, who skippered the HMB Endeavour. After landing at Botany Bay he sailed on past Sydney Harbour. He had a Captain Cook (a look) and liked it.
“What’s the John Dory?”
John Dory is a fish found in Sydney Harbour and it’s great grilled with lemon and pepper, or deep-fried. It also rhymes with story. So when people want to know what’s going on, or they’re requesting the “goss” (gossip), they ask what the John Dory is.
“A few stubbies short of a six-pack. A few sandwiches short of a picnic”
A six-pack has evolved to mean anyone with fit abdomens, but long ago the six-pack was (and still is) a group of beers. If one is perceived as being a little slow — more than feeling “under the weather,” they’re actually quite dumb — they’re a few stubbies short of a six-pack. They’re not the “full quid.” For those who don’t speak about money or alcohol, they’re “a few sandwiches short of a picnic.”
“Tell him he’s dreaming”
Given air time by Michael Caton in “The Castle:” when you advise someone involved in a business transaction to tell their counterpart that he’s “dreaming,” you’re suggesting that the other side is not offering a fair deal.
Messy, but doesn’t refer to food. Often used by parents to describe their kids’ chaotic lives. Not in order, a shambles, no thought, just a bit of everything. A “dog’s breakfast.”
“Wrap your laughing gear ’round that”
While some suggest you can laugh on the inside, your main laughing gear is your mouth. So when you wrap your laughing gear ’round something, you eat it.
Someone playing a good game of sport (having a “blinder”), or something that’s exceptionally good. Can also be “bonza” or “beaut.”
Better than a ham sandwich. Better than a kick up the backside
Something that is better than nothing. Even if you are paid peanuts — a pay rate that usually attracts monkeys — it’s better than a kick up the backside. You’d prefer a “fair whack.” As things become more worthwhile, they may even be better than a ham sandwich.
William Buckley was Australia’s very own Robinson Crusoe, a man who escaped a convict ship during the first attempt to settle Melbourne in 1803. Three decades later, colonials returned to find a tattooed, two-meter tall, long-bearded man with half Aboriginal children who spoke tribal tongue. He picked up English within days.
Sydney: Insider Travel Guide
They soon realized it was Buckley, who was given a pardon and used as a peacemaker between whites and blacks.
Buckley’s local knowledge led settlers to indigenous tribes throughout modern-day Victoria. He advocated cooperation with Aboriginals. After the 1840s decade of indigenous slaughter saw locals massacred, it was said that he had “Buckley’s chance” of making peace.
Buckley spent the latter part of his life as a poor loner in Tasmania. There was a concerted lobby for the government to give him a pension for his service to the colony. Once again, he had “Buckley’s.”
22. Pull the wool over your eyes
Similar to “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the jockey,” this one derives from the bush. A history of “earning a buck” around woolsheds meant people had to give an honest day’s work (“eight hours’ work, eight hours’ play and eight bob a day” chanted the union movement).
Australians had to be genuine with each other so they could all get their “fair share” of “spuds” (potatoes). If someone is being a little “sheepy,” dishonest, or “spinning a yarn,” they are trying to “pull the wool over your eyes.”
There’s much conjecture about what really goes inside the national staple, a meat pie. Is it beef? Kangaroo? The important thing is that it rhymes. So when you’re having a pie, it’s looking back at you, in a canine kind of way. It’s a dog’s eye. Could that really be the runny meat filling?
G’Day! – Hello
was the greeting at from the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Often used to refer to the British, or anyone who doesn’t play fair. The last Australian to be shot by an English firing squad in the Boer War, Breaker Morant, famously shouted his last words: “Shoot straight, you bastards!”
During the infamous 1932-33 Bodyline cricket series, English captain, Douglas Jardine, walked into the Australian dressing room to complain about being called a bastard. An Australian cricketer supposedly asked his team: “Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?”
In politics, a third party, the Australian Democrats, was formed in the 1970s to “keep the bastards honest.”
Toads, banana benders, cockies, sandgropers, crow eaters
These are favorite ways Aussies disparage those who live elsewhere. Tropical Queensland has many more bananas and cane toads than people, so they’re branded banana benders or cane toads. Queenslanders get their own back, calling Sydneysiders cockroaches in honor of the omnipresent, nuclear-immune pest found around the harbor city. South Australians — particularly early settlers — partake in the delicacy of crow eating, while Western Australians spend their lives groping sand (sandgropers).
The loudmouth who’s a larrikin, who likes the sound of his own voice, is a yobbo — often a bit of a troublemaker. A yobbo typically has a deep Australian twang to his accent, in which case he’s an “ocker.”
Put a sock in it
Tells somebody to “shut up.”
Throw a shrimp on the barbie
“Throw another shrimp on the barbie!”
In a regression to stereotype, Paul Hogan introduced the world to this phrase and in the process invited countless tourists to come over. Australians aren’t in the habit of cooking small people — a “shrimp” refers to a yabby (or more simply, a “prawn”). It’s a way to invite someone to your house for lunch, where you throw a shrimp (or a “snag,” that’s a sausage) on the barbie.
15. Do the Harry
Harold Holt was the prime minster who disappeared off Victoria’s coast in 1967. He did the bolt, some say, from the responsibilities of the prime minister-ship. Some suggest the (secretly communist) politician was abducted by a Chinese submarine or UFO.
More likely, he was caught in deadly currents and washed out to sea from Cheviot Beach, near Portsea. His body, however, has never been found, so anyone doing a disappearing act is doing a “Harold Holt.” So, when you have to “mosey on,” or “get the hell out of here” you do the “bolt” — the “Harold Holt.” Or simply, you do “the Harry.”
Six of one, half a dozen of the other
It’s not quite you’re “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” nor is it being “caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.” It’s when it’s 50-50 odds that whatever decision you make will not likely affect the outcome of the situation. “Six of one, half a dozen of the other” means you’ll end up with a dozen, anyway. Unless, of course, it’s a baker’s dozen.
Not pissing on someone when they’re on fire
Means you don’t really care about somebody. Even if they were on fire, you wouldn’t do them the service of pissing on them to put the fire out.
Euphemisms used to communicate amazement or surprise.
Oi for drongos and galahs
Chanted three times after “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie,” in perhaps the world’s cheesiest national cry. But in normal use, it’s mouthed when you disagree with what someone is doing, or to convey annoyance and get someone’s attention: when you’re being a “drongo” or a “galah” — in fact, not native birds, but someone who has “rocks in their head” — doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Blokes and sheilas
When Julia Gillard was voted in as the country’s first female prime minister, it didn’t take long for Australia to start calling the prime minister’s partner “the first bloke.”
Not really a handkerchief at all, but using your hands to delicately drain the snot from your nose.
Onya bike. Tell your story walkin’
When you don’t want to have anything to do with someone, you tell him or her to get “onya bike,” which suggests he or she leave. Quite the opposite to “hold your horses,” which requests someone to stay, or begs their patience, similar to “keep your pants on” or “don’t get your knickers in a knot.” When you tell someone to get “onya bike,” even if they’re trying to excuse themselves with well-concocted verse, you bid them to “tell your story walkin’.”
Lobster, pineapple, gray nurse
Australians don’t barter with lobsters and pineapples, but most have had at least one friend ring them up (or hit them up at the pub) to lend a lobster or a pineapple.
The $20 note being a sparkling red (lobster) and the $50 note being bright yellow (pineapple) lends itself to the phrase. The $100 note, a blue gray, has now been named after a shark (grey nurse). The less important $5 and $10 notes are often referred to as past international sporting stars — Pam Shriver (fiver) and Ayrton Senna (tenner).
Smoko, garbo, bowlo, bottlo, arvo
An “o” is the suffix to any word it can shorten. If in doubt, throw an “o” on the end of the word and it’s bound to be Australian.
A break when you smoke is a “smoko.” Someone who collects garbage is a “garbo.” A bowling and community club is a “bowlo.” A bottle shop is a “bottlo.” And the word afternoon, with three syllables, just doesn’t stand a chance: it’s evolved/devolved to arvo.
Have a go, you mug
The favored call of those who watch sport from budget seating. Heard at cricket games where batsmen block the ball too much, or football games where the team isn’t being inventive enough in trying to score. Generally refers to anyone who isn’t putting in a full effort or taking any risks.
A loud, Aboriginal cry in the “outback” that tells people where you are, assuming they’re within cooee range. So, if you’re not within a cooee of something, you’re nowhere bloody near it.
Another piece of language (much like the accent itself) that’s derived from indigenous culture. The natives enjoy going “walkabout,” as do other Australians who enjoy travelling — whether it’s backpacking around Asia or following a harvest at home, they’re going walkabout.
One for the road
A last drink before going home. Said at bars or friends’ houses before going home. The saying hasn’t been eradicated by the increased amount of random-breath alcohol testing on roads.
Hit the frog and toad
Different to “having a frog in your throat,” which means having a sore throat. And while some Queenslanders and Territorians organise whacking day outings against the spreading plague of cane toads, it’s not used to describe the ritualized slaying of the dreaded toad. Hitting the frog and toad is when you hit the road. Get out of there.