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You don’t really know a language until you’ve learned its slang. And when it comes to English, many people agree that Australian slang is the richest, liveliest and funniest slang you could learn. Sure, there’s always British English, but the Brits don’t call their barbecue “barbie”. And that’s a missed opportunity. Wouldn’t you agree? How can you have just a plain, dull barbecue when you could have a “barbie”? The Aussie slang is the best slang.
As you probably know, “Aussie” is slang for “Australian”. Yeah, these people do have a slang term for everything. Now, whether you want to move to the Australian paradise, spend a holiday there to visit the Irwin family’s Australia Zoo, or just learn the Australian slang because you feel like spicing up your English vocabulary, there are a few things you need to remember:
- the term for Aussie slang and pronunciation is “strine”;
- Australian slang is often characterized by making words as short as possible, but also as cute and as funny as possible!
- if you want to sound like a true Aussie, you should speak through clenched teeth to stop blowies (blowflies) from getting into your mouth. It sure sounds funny, but you know perfectly well that this is not entirely excluded while in Australia;
- you should avoid using the Australian slang in business or formal contexts because it could do more harm than good. Aussie slang is only for good friends and informal gatherings.
Ta, bogan, brekkie and more popular Australian slang terms you heard before
Let’s start with the basics: core Australian slang vocabulary. Here’s a list of popular Australian slang terms you probably heard before but didn’t know what they meant.
1. ta – thank you
You can also use “thanks heaps” when you are really grateful to someone for doing something for you or “cheers” to combine both “thank you” and “goodbye” in a single word. For example, “cheers” is a perfect choice for when you leave the shop after the barista gave the coffee.
2. sheila – woman or female
Derived from the Irish girls’ name Síle. It is now rarely used because it is considered derogatory.
3. bloke – man or guy
A stereotype of a typical Australian man: loves beer, sport and barbies.
It’s similar to “chap”or “fella”.
4. bogan – an uncultured or unsophisticated person
A “bogan” is an uncouth or unrefined person regarded as being of low social status. The term is usually pejorative, but it can also be regarded as a joke between friends.
5. brekkie – breakfast
Although it sounds like breakfast for kids, brekkie is the Australian meal everyone has in the morning.
So… what did you have for brekkie today?
6. barbie – barbecue
Well, I don’t mind if you call me a “barbie girl” now.
7. mate – friend
Oi, mate! This one’s a classic. You ought to use it.
8. crikey! – an exclamation of surprise
It’s similar to “blimey!”. Was made famous by Steve Irwin.
8. cake hole – mouth
There’s no better replacement for the word “mouth”. Why isn’t everybody using this?
9. ankle-biter – a small or young child
It can also refer to a small, aggressive dog like a chihuahua.
10. bonzer – great, awesome, first-rate
Sometimes spelled “bonza”.
11. arvo – afternoon
Or “s’arvo” which means “this afternoon”.
12. bottle-o – liquor shop
An abbreviation of “bottle shop”.
13. avo – avocado
Do you want some avo toast for brekkie?
14. bush telly – what you watch at night when you are camping
You heard “telly” before, but “bush telly”? That’s a new one. Basically, when you are camping you can’t watch traditional television, so you watch the “bush telly”: the campfire, the stars or just… the bush.
15. lippie – lipstick
Can this get any cuter?
16. bikkie – biscuit
You’ll ask for a “bikkie” just to hear yourself say it.
Additionally, there’s also the expression “to cost big bikkies” that means that something it’s very expensive.
17. sunnies – sunglasses
Share these words with your introvert friend and he might never stop talking.
18. mushie – mushroom
The barbie is ready! Bring the mushies.
19. defo – definitely
You’ll defo want to use this Aussie abbreviation.
20. cabbie – taxi driver
Call the cabbie! I’m moving to Australia right now.
21. roo – kangaroo
They had to have a dedicated slang term for kangaroos too, didn’t they? After all, the kangaroos are Australia’s most popular animals.
22. ace! – excellent, very good
Like this Australian slang list!
23. you beauty! – fantastic, great
Used to express joy or enthusiasm. Often used as “you beauty!”.
Australian slang words and phrases only Aussies know
Step into the realm of the unknown. This following list of Australian words and phrases contains some slang terms only true Aussies know! Use this Aussie slang in your day-to-day conversations and Aussie might think you’re one of their own.
- bathers – swimsuit
- brolly – umbrella
- coldie – beer
- in the nuddy – naked
- smoko – cigarette break
- thongs – flip-flops
- Chrissie – Christmas
- Aussie salute – brushing away flies with your hand
- bities – biting insects
- truckie – truck driver
- outback – the vast (usually arid) interior and rural part of Australia
- kindie – kindergarten
- Joey – baby kangaroo
- exy – expensive
- yakka – hard work
- oldies – parents
- servo – gas station
- daks – trousers or pants
- what’s the John Dory? – what’s going on?
- tucker – food
- u-ey (pronounced “u-ee”) – u-turn
- sky gator – airplane
- Bruce – an Australian bloke
- crikey mikey – snake
- bouncy mouse – kangaroo
- mozzie – mosquito
- pash – a passionate kiss
- sickie – sick day
- dag – a funny and likeable person
- billabong – a pond in a dry riverbend
- bloody – very
- devo – devastated
- fanny – vagina
- esky – portable cooler
- lappy – laptop
- lollies – sweets
- Maccas – McDonalds
- Straya – Australia
- tea – dinner
- ya – you
- bludger – a lazy person
- pressie – present
- footy – football
- snag – sausage
- woop woop – the middle of nowhere
- dog’s breakfast – complete chaos, mess
- mad as a cut snake – very angry
- dingo’s breakfast – no breakfast
- dinkum – unquestionably good or genuine
- furphy – erroneous or improbable story
- agro – aggressive
- she’ll be apples – it’ll be alright
- liquid laugh – vomit
- billy – teapot
- bizzo – business
- booze bus – police car used for catching drunk drivers
- cactus – beaten, dead, finished, not working
- chewie – chewing gum
- chokkie – chocolate
- g’day! – hello!
- polly – politician
- roadie – a beer you buy to take away with you
- sunbake – sunbathe
- tallie – 750ml bottle of beer
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