The ultimate guide to Australian slang words and phrases
This post hasn’t even started and I’ve used some Aussie slang – Aussie (pronounced “Ozzie” rather than “Awzie”).
Yes, if you live in Australia, visit down under (yep, that’s another bit of slang), or even just read my Aussie recipe posts from another part of the world, you’ll need to get used to words being shortened and odd words being used for familiar things.
We love our slang insults and instead of answering questions with a simple “yes”, we can sometimes ramble a bit with “nah, yeah, no worries mate.”
What is slang?
The Cambridge dictionary defines slang as “
.” very informal language that is usually spoken rather than written, used especially by particular groups of people
And when it comes to Australian people, there’s a lot of slang to learn. I was born and raised in Australia, and I’m still learning myself.
There’s also a bit of nuance involved, and context and location within Australia can matter.
Why do Australians use so much slang?
We use so much slang in Australia, that sometimes I’m not even aware I’m using slang and other times I don’t even understand my fellow Aussies who might be using some more obscure slang.
The use of slang is a cultural phenomenon that can be attributed to a few factors:
We’re Australian, not British. Although colonised by the British, over time an Australian dialect developed.
We’re geographically isolated, which contributes to the development of a unique culture and identity.
We’re laid back, mate. And that’s reflected in our language.
Ready to discover some of our slang words and phrases? Aussie slang: popular words and phrases
Here’s my list of the words and phrases that might leave you scratching your head (confused) if you haven’t spent much time in Australia.
It’s not exhaustive, so leave a comment below or message me if you think I’ve left anything out.
aggro angry or aggressive amber fluid beer ambo ambulance or paramedic ankle biter a young child apples, she’ll be it will be alright arvo afternoon Aussie Australian Aussie salute Waving your hands to scare away flies avo avocado B
back of Bourke far away location, far away from civilisation bail cancel plans, leave or not turn up barbie barbeque beaut fantastic big smoke the big city (for example, Sydney) bikkie biscuit billy a teapot used on a campfire bloke a man bloody very (as in, “it’s bloody hot”) bloody oath very true blowie blow fly bludger lazy person blue nickname for someone with red hair bloke a man, particularly an Australian man bog in start eating bogan a person who is unsophisticated (and usually uses a lot of Aussie slang!) bonzer awesome, excellent bottlo bottle shop bowlo bowling club brekky breakfast Buckley’s no chance or a very small chance budgie smugglers tight-fitting swimming costume worn by men bundy Bundaberg, a brand of Australian rum bush rural or remote parts of Australia bush telly campfire BYO bring your own (usually referring to alcohol at a restaurant or alcohol/food to a party)
cactus broken, not functioning Captain Cook, have a have a look cark it to die or stop working choccy chocolate chockers full to the brim chook chicken chunder to vomit Chrissie Christmas clobber clothes or attire cobber friend or mate corker something that is very good crikey used to communicate amazement or surprise crook sick or not well made cuppa cup of tea or coffee, something to enjoy with a slice D
dag an unfashionable person, someone lacking style or character or a socially awkward person daks pants, trousers deadset absolutely digger a soldier, particularly an Australian soldier dipstick a loser, idiot dobber a tattletale dog’s breakfast messy dog’s hind leg, as crooked as someone who’s dishonest, unscrupulous or deceptive down under Australia and New Zealand drongo an idiot dunny a toilet durry a cigarette E
earbashing nagging esky an insulated food/drink container that people take to picnics, barbecues etc exxy expensive F
fair dinkum unquestionably good or genuine, often used as a general expression of approval fair go a chance fair suck of the sauce bottle a plea to be treated fairly fair crack of the whip a plea to be treated fairly feral a person who is uncivilised, unkempt or anti-social flanno flannalette shirt footy football frothy beer furphy an erroneous or improbable story that is claimed to be factual G
g’day hello galah a fool or silly garbo someone who collects garbage good onya well done grog alcohol gutful, I’ve had a I’ve had enough
hard yakka hard work heaps a lot hoon a reckless driver or someone who behaves in a foolish manner hooroo goodbye hottie an attractive person I
idiot box television iffy uncertain or dubious iso “isolation” or “self-isolation” itchy feet a desire to travel or move on to new things J
jackaroo or jillaroo a male or female trainee on a sheep or cattle station joe blake a snake John Dory, what’s the what’s happening, what’s the gossip? journo a journalist or reporter K
kindie kindergarten or preschool kip a nap knackered tired or exhausted knock to criticise knock back refusal knock off to finish work for the day L
larrikin someone who is person who is mischievous, irreverent or plays practical jokes lob to throw something lollies sweets or candy M
Maccas McDonald’s mate a term of friendship or companionship, similar to “buddy” or “pal” moolah money mozzie mosquito mug fool mullet a hairstyle that is short on top and long at the back muster a gathering or roundup of livestock, or a social gathering in the outback
nark to annoy or irritate someone, or a person who informs on others. never never the Australian outback, particularly remote or uncharted areas no drama it’s ok, don’t worry about it no worries expression of forgiveness or reassurance not the sharpest tool in the shed a way of saying someone is not very intelligent nuddy naked numpty a foolish or silly person O
ocker a stereotypically rough or uncultured Australian person oi an exclamation used to get someone’s attention or express excitement, similar to “hey” old mate a generic term for a person, particularly when their name is unknown on the nose something that smells bad or doesn’t seem right op shop short for “opportunity shop” – a thrift store or charity shop out of whack something is not working or functioning correctly outback the remote or rural areas of Australia Oz Australia P
pash a long and passionate kiss pav pavlova, an Australian dessert pissed drunk pokie a poker machine or slot machine polly politician postie postman pozzy position prezzy present Q
quid, make a earn a living, make money R
rack off go away ranga person with red hair rapt pleased, delighted ratbag silly person reckon think or “you bet” rellie relative, family member rip snorter great, fantastic rippa great rock up turn up rusty out of practice, worn out S
sanger sandwich servo a gas station or service station sheila a woman, particularly an Australian woman she’ll be right everything will be ok shoot through to leave shout, my my turn to buy a round of drinks, meal, coffee etc sickie a day off work due to illness smoko smoke or coffee break snag a sausage spit the dummy get very upset sprung caught doing something wrong streuth an expression of surprise or shock, similar to “wow” or “oh my god” sunnies sunglasses swag rolled up bedding
ta thank you tall poppy successful person Tassie Tasmania tea supper tee-up set up, organise tell him he’s dreaming a reply when someone is not offering a fair deal telly television thongs flip flops or sandals tinny a can of beer or a small aluminium boat too right agree, enthusiastically top end the northern part of Australia trackie dacks tracksuit pants or sweatpants tradie a tradesperson true blue genuinely Australian or authentic tucker food togs swimmers, bathing suit tucked up to be snug and comfortable in bed U
u-ey a U-turn while driving uggies ugg boots, Australian sheepskin boots unco uncoordinated under the pump under pressure undies underwear up yourself to be arrogant or self-important ute a utility vehicle, similar to a pick-up truck V
veg out relax veges vegetables W
whinge complain wombat native Australian marsupial (also, a stupid person) wrap your laughing gear around to eat or consume something Y
ya you yabby a freshwater crayfish found in Australian waterways yakka work yarn a story or conversation yobbo an uncultured or rowdy person yonks a long time youse you both, you all yummo delicious, tasty, or yummy
Now you’ve had a Captain Cook at this list, what do you think?
Can you think of something that should be included?
Let me know in the comments below. Ta.
For now, though, it’s hooroo from me.