100+ Australian Slang Words to Help You Speak Like a True Aussie

Oi, mate! 🦘 Did you know that “barbie” is the Aussie slang for “barbecue”?

100+ Australian Slang Words to Help You Speak Like a True Aussie

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.

Top 10 Popular Australian Slang Terms & Words

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 leaving the shop after the barista gives you your coffee.

2. 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?”

3. Barbie – Barbecue

Well, I don’t mind if you call me a “barbie girl” now.

4. Crikey! – An Exclamation of Surprise

Famously used by Steve Irwin. It’s similar to the British English slang “blimey!”.

5. Cake Hole – Mouth

There’s no better replacement for the word “mouth”. Why isn’t everybody using this?

6. Ankle-Biter – A Small or Young Child

It can also refer to a small, aggressive dog like a chihuahua.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. Bikkie – Biscuit

You’ll ask for a “bikkie” just to hear yourself say it.

There’s also the very cute expression “to cost big bikkies”, meaning that something is very expensive.

10. Mate – Friend

Oi, mate! This one’s a classic. You ought to use it. Additionally, you can also say “cobber”.

aussie slang
Australian slang

Australian Slang Phrases Only Local Aussies Know

Australian slangTranslation
ace! excellent, very good
agro aggressive
arvo afternoon
Aussie salute brushing away flies with your hand
avo avocado
bathers/cozzies/togs swimsuit
billabong a pond in a dry riverbend
billy teapot
bities biting insects
bizzo business
bloke man or guy
bloody very
bludger a lazy person
bonzer great, awesome, first-rate
booze bus police car used for catching drunk drivers
bottle-o liquor shop
bouncy mouse kangaroo
brolly umbrella
Bruce an Australian bloke
Buckley's chance no hope
bush forest
cabbie taxi driver
cactus beaten, dead, finished, not working
chewie chewing gum
chokkie chocolate
Chrissie Christmas
chuck a darkie get angry
cobber friend
coldie beer
convo conversation
crikey mikey snake
dag a funny and likeable person
daks trousers or pants
defo definitely
devo devastated
dingo’s breakfast no breakfast
dinkum unquestionably good or genuine
dog’s breakfast complete chaos, mess
esky portable cooler
exy expensive
fanny vagina
footy football
furphy erroneous or improbable story
g’day! good day!
grog alcohol
hard yakka hard work
in the nuddy naked
joey baby kangaroo
kindie kindergarten
lappy laptop
lippie lipstick
liquid laugh vomit
lollies sweets
Maccas McDonald's
mad as a cut snake very angry
mozzie mosquito
mushie mushroom
nowt nothing
oldies parents
outback the vast (usually arid) interior and rural part of Australia
pash a passionate kiss
polly politician
pressie present
rightio right, ok
roadie a beer you buy to take away with you
roo kangaroo
servo gas station
she’ll be right it’ll be alright
sheila woman or female
sickie sick day
sky gator airplane
smoko cigarette break
snag sausage
sparkie electrician
Straya Australia
Strewth! exclamation meaning God’s truth
sunbake sunbathe
sunnies sunglasses
tallie 750ml bottle of beer
tea dinner
thongs flip-flops
truckie truck driver
tucker food
u-ey (pronounced “u-ee”) u-turn
woop woop the middle of nowhere
ya you
yonks a long time
you beauty! fantastic, great
australian slang terms
Aussie slang

Funny Australian Slang Phrases

If it weren’t for this list, you’d need an Australian slang translator when you hear these Australian slang phrases! Use them in your day-to-day conversations and Aussies might think you’re one of their own.

1. What’s the John Dory?

What’s going on?

John Dory is an edible fish found on the coasts of Africa, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and – of course – Australia. There’s no secret story to it apart from the fact that it just rhymes with ‘story’. So, instead of asking, “what’s the story?”, in Australian slang, you ask “what’s the John Dory?”.

2. Chuck a sickie

Call in sick without actually being sick.

If you ever took a day off work pretending to be sick, you’re guilty of chucking a sickie. “I’m chucking a sickie to go to the beach. Wanna join?”

3. Fair dinkum!

Honest, true or genuine.

Popular Australian exclamation often used to emphasize or seek confirmation (if used with the proper intonation) of the genuineness or truth of something. “This pork barbie is fair dinkum!”

4. Wrap your laughing gear ‘round that

Eat that.

What’s your laughing gear? Your mouth, of course. So, when you wrap your laughing gear ‘round something, you… eat it. It can be used in either a friendly or threatening way.

5. Carrying on like a pork chop

To behave foolishly.

Let me get my Australian slang translator for this one. 😅

It seems that this phrase has had a lot of variations:

  • Carrying on like a pork chop in Jerusalem on a Saturday.
  • Carrying on like a pork chop at a Jewish wedding.
  • Carrying on like a pork chop in a synagogue.

While the original message referred to an object that is out of place, the modern meaning has slightly shifted. So, when you hear someone using this Australian slang phrase, know that they are referring to someone who behaves foolishly, makes a fuss, complains, or rants.

6. Dog’s breakfast

Complete chaos, mess.

You can think of it this way: what does a dog’s breakfast consist of? Leftovers. Chicken bones or maybe a half-eaten pizza from last night. So, if something is really messy or disordered, then it looks like a dog’s breakfast.

7. Do the Harry


The complete phrase is known as “to do a Harold Holt”, which is rhyming slang for “bolt”. The story behind this Australian slang phrase is related to Harold Holt, the 17th prime minister of Australia. In 1967, Mr. Holt disappeared, presumably by drowning, while swimming along Victoria’s coast.

Some say he “did the bolt” from his responsibilities as a prime minister.

8. No worries, mate, she’ll be apples

Everything will be fine.

Also known as “she’ll be right”, these positive expressions reflect the Australian way of looking at unfortunate events. There’s no point in worrying about anything, as it will all be alright in the end.

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sheila bloke
Australian slang

What You Need to Know About Aussie Slang

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 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 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.

Before you go, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

What does ‘Aussie’ mean?

Aussie means Australian, also known as a person from Australia. Remember that “Aussie” is an informal word and you should use it accordingly.

What is the most common Australian slang?

The most common Australian slang words are ‘arvo’ (afternoon), ‘Maccas’ (McDonald’s), ‘sheila’ (woman or female), ‘brekkie’ (breakfast), ‘barbie’ (barbecue), ‘mate’ (friend), ‘avo’ (avocado), ‘bikkie’ (biscuit), ‘cobber’ (friend) and many other more.

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Diana Lăpușneanu - Linguist at Mondly Blog

Diana is a Linguist at Mondly by Pearson. Learning English as a second language early on fueled her lifelong passion for language learning, leading her to pursue a diverse array of languages as a hobby alongside her academic endeavors. With a Master’s Degree in advertising and a fascination for historical linguistics, she brings a unique perspective to her role, making language learning fun for readers worldwide.

124 comments on “100+ Australian Slang Words to Help You Speak Like a True Aussie

  1. Great list Cobber.
    I’d also make point of the below amendment/sadditions, some of these can be regional.

    Cobber – Mate/Friend/Buddy/Pal
    Strewth! – Can’t believe this wasn’t on the list (.see crikey!)
    Smoko – any short work break that isn’t a lunch/meal break
    bathers – swimsuit (No-one calls them bathers, They’re called “Cozzies”)
    Joey – baby kangaroo (This isn’t slang, it’s what they’re called lol)
    Undies – Underwear
    Spud – Potato
    ‘Scarnon – Translation “What is going on?” – How are you?
    How’s it goin’? – “how are you?”
    “She’ll be right” – Don’t worry about it / no worries
    chuck – vomit
    longneck – 750ml bottle of beer
    mongrel – derogatory, unfavourable person – usually betrays others

    Plus a million more you’ll hear in a day hahaha.

    1. G’Day Mate 👋
      These are all great! Thank you for taking the time to upgrade our list 🧡

    2. Actually, the comparatively endearing term “cobber” is most frequently reserved for your better friends; for your Best Friends…. 🙂

    3. That’s good to know 🤔
      @AussieAsMate, we could be best friends if you’d like that 👍

    4. Something I heard in the “Crocodile Dundee 2” movie, that I haven’t been able to find:
      “Shoot the dirpy bastard!”
      What is “dirpy”?
      A grateful Yank

    5. Hi Thanx for these, it’s amazing to me how similar some are to South African slang.

      Mate for example here means friend usually a male.

      But the word thongs is used to describe female underwear usually like a G string. (will need to get used to it reffering to sandals) can’t wait to move there in a couple of months.

      And our beers normally the bigger bottles are called Dumpies.

    6. Never heard anything other than “bathers” and “togs” growing up in Victoria…

    7. Actually we do call them bathers they’re called cozzies in Sydney. Also our slang is not heckin cute! But I do have a new one for you. Carry on like a pork chop means to be overly dramatic. And I’m not sure if anyone actually uses cobber I’ve never heard it before, or it might be used in a different state.

    8. Just one thing….all the states have different names for swimsuits. I think Cozzies might be NSW, I know Qld have togs, bathers are in another state. We all have our own names forthem.

    9. I was born in Australia and have never heard anyone say the word ‘cozzie’, always known them as ‘bathers’.

    1. These lists are great. Diana, you did your homework. Good on ya darlin’ (I am kindly referring to you as being a good woman)
      Oi, Aussie as Mate, mate.. you were doin’ (short for doing) well too I might add til’ (short for until) I read a bit bout’ (short for about..U get the idea, yeah) bathers. In my birth state they’re called; togs, swimmers & or cozies.
      In my home state, we have always called them bathers & generalise it all as ‘swim gear’.
      Cheers for that, you know us Aussies’ll (Australians will) generally pipe up with their two bobs worth if need be (good luck with that one shouldn’t be two hard if you’re keeping up with us but, hey my Ozzie ol’ mate?!🤣✌️

  2. Derpy bastard – similar to dopey bastard.. it’s an intensifier but can be used affectionately.
    I often call my cat a derpy bastard especially when he does zoomies round the house into a door.

  3. Hes not the full quid. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I had a dingos breakfast, ( piss and a good look round). He’s got a roman nose (roaming all over his face ) . Hes lower than a sharks shithouse, ( that’s at the bottom of the sea). Shove that up against your dunny door, (derogatory term). He wouldn’t shout if a Shark bit him. ( won’t buy anyone a beer ). Tight as a fishes arsehole (watertight ) Dirt overcoat ( buried )
    Popular as a pork chop in Jerusalem. Bluey ( mate with red hair ). Mudguard ( bald, shiny on top, crap underneath), (very derogatory). Billy Lid ( your hat or a child). Opium (nickname ,Slow working dope) Boozer, Pub, bloodhouse, ( Hotel) Walloper, Copper,
    Fuzz, Boys in blue (Police ) Grouse (very good ) just a few for the collection, l avoided the rude ones, but some times they don’t ring true without the empathise of a particular word.

    1. You must speak a different Aussie dialect (I’m sure they exist!). I hadn’t heard most of yours (whereas knew most of the ones from the article), but you got some good ones!

    2. I’ve heard some of these. I grew up in Kensington, Melbourne, and I tell you what we’ve got some very interesting slang (and a very suburb-specific accent) that I haven’t heard anywhere else in the country thus far. Words like “Spitting” which means very light rain, “Tuppence” means nothing, nada. “Shit-hot” usually refers to a flog (there’s another more common slang word haha) and basically means someone who thinks they’re great. I’ve heard older residents of Kensington say “nowt” and “owt”, which are both UK slang words as well, so I wonder if they sort of carried over to Melbourne. “Birds nest”, refers to someone with messy hair, “cat eyes” is sort of blurry, it’s not used much but I think it refers to something very valuable, as there are marbles called cat eyes as well. “Belter”, something really good or amazing (not to be confused with “belted” which refers to being beaten very badly, usually by your parents). “Yonks” refers to something that takes a long time, “Duck’s Guts” is a more rural term which means something really good. “Have a wobble” is often used by elderly people, it just means to agree to disagree basically, and is usually said passive-aggressively or dismissively. “Chips” is a common nickname for tall, lean men or boys. “Chimpy” means cheap or shoddy. “Mercy Moo” this one is very derogatory, it usually refers to an overweight girl attending a private catholic school or something of the sort. My grandad used that a fair bit back in the day.

    3. I’m from the Appalachian Mountains of East TN, USA and we actually share some of the same slang lol

    4. As a 61 year old Australian from Queensland I had a good laugh at this list. Great work.

  4. Hey Jim as a born and bred Aussie I can tell ya “dirpy” is how you heard “dopey” as in slow/ stupid/ idiot. Or the name of one of the 7 dwarves in a seppo cartoon I spose haha! Thanks for the laugh! And for being interested in talking strayan. Catch ya ron

    1. That’s what I was thinking. Not sure on derpy but certainly dippy & or dopey referring to somewhat of an idiot mantality.

    2. Bloody does not mean very
      Bloody accentuates the following word or atmosphere.
      Bloody hell is not very hell is could mean shock, horror or real bad.
      Bloody good could be very good it’s really just better than good,
      Bloody oath is like past tense of fair dinkum. True bloody oath it’s true
      Up a gum tree is lost or got no idea
      Roos in top paddock is when someone a bit nutty, lost the plot.
      Drier than a dead dingo’s donger is very thirsty

  5. Australians also tend to say complete sentences as one word. For example:
    Whatchupta? owsitgoin? whatyadointhisarvo? catchyalater? whatsupisass? bloodyhell wadyadothatfor? com’ntothebarbie? huzzzaup? doindonuts in ma’ute! whatchagoin,todo,bout,it? ab,so,bloody,utely,nuthin! causehe’sa,flamin,(xxxx).
    ya,avin,a,go,r,ya? nah,chill,mate. that,eff,ing,dick!
    Due to the lack of pausing, foreigners can find it difficult to understand this Australian version.

    There are actually 3 different types or Australian English.
    1. Proper/Formal Australian English where the person is quite eloquent, enunciates words and is usually from the upper classes and lives within their demographic. You would never hear a QC (Queen’s Counsel at Law) say “whadyado?”. They say “What did you do?”

    2. Normal Australian English. A middle class accent. The nasal accent isn’t as pronounced as the “strayan” presented here. Common to shorten words and sentences but not to the extent of 3. Uses formal speech when necessary yet reverts (to an extent) when with family and friends.

    3. Strayan. Clipped sentences, many euphemisms, nasal, and if from the rural areas they tend to speak quite slowly. This dialect likes to shorten most words even names e.g. Davoe, Richo, ScoMo (our Prime Minister lol), Sentences. See above.

    As with any large country dialects are now forming even within the cities, towns and States).

    SO PLEASE understand that if you called me mate. i would think ” This tourist is way off, I’m not your mate”. Don’t TRY to use STRAYAN because you will find you are way off and just embarrassing for yourself. K?
    And. SHIELA is derogatory so NO! And do not bring your “fanny pack” because that’s your Vagina pack. A man has his Willy, Donger, or his Crown Jewels (fruit & 2 veg).

    Some other I have heard!
    looked like a stunned mullet (shocked)
    lower than a snakes belly (without morals)
    put a cork/plug in it willya? before i do! (SHUT UP)
    petrolhead (car hoon)
    he is so far up himself, he’s in pain
    devo (deviant)
    chucka yui (do a U-turn)
    chuckasickie (fake sickness for a day off)
    Un-Australian (not giving people a fair go)
    And a zillion more Laugh along!

    1. I hate to embarrass you darlin’ but “He is so far up himself” means that he is so vain (he is in pain🤣)as in thinks he’s so irresistible or “gods gift to women”. “A show pony” type of wanna be macho but too busy looking hot for the ladies..
      A real dickhead in other words.
      If “he’s in pain” luv, then we all know “the blokes fu**ed, poor bugger”.

    2. In the regional/remote areas “mate” is used by everyone for everyone.
      G’day mate can be used by a male or female for a male, female, friend or stranger.
      Nobody takes offence at being called mate.

      cheers mate

    3. Chuck a wobbly (get angry)
      Chuck a fit (get even angrier)
      Chuck a mental (make yourself scarce, they’ve lost the plot completely)

    4. Chuck a sickie is a good one. We need a term for that in America. Also, as an American married to an Ozzie, the one that really got me was “how ya goin’?” Instead of “how ya doin?”. It’s a small difference, but since we say it constantly, it’s a strong difference to the ears. My husband is a queenslander, so dick tog is another good one. My mum says cozzie or swimming costume, which I like. Better than bathing suit, like we’re bathing, not swimming. Or bathroom instead of toilet. But in defense, we have our toilets and bathtubs in the same room in our houses, so it kind of makes sense. We often call the public ones restrooms. At least in the olden days and sometimes now (like at the department store Nordstrom), the women’s restrooms do have a rest area, like a separate room before the toilets. I think it’s to put on makeup, freshen up, take a rest. For current times, women breastfeed or drop their kids in a safe place for a few minutes while they use the toilet.

  6. I am australian, and I only knew around half of these. But joey is the REAL name for a baby kangaroo, not slang. And last time I checked, Esky is a company, not slang.
    But I am half british, so I guess I have no right to be australian. XD
    Anyway, interesting list!

    1. Yes I think your half-Britishness may be deceiving you! (Although I’m equally British and Aussie also, so who am I to talk).
      Esky is a brand name you’re right, but Aussies use it to mean “portable cooler box” of any brand. Bit like “Doona” is a brand name but Aussies use it to mean duvet of any brand.
      Similar to how British people use the word “hoover” to mean vacuum cleaner of any brand, and Americans say “kleenex” to mean any brand of paper facial tissue. Brand names sometimes enter the language like that.
      I thought the list really good – many words I use all the time, only a handful I’d never heard.
      I do think slang is different from one part of Australia to another, though, maybe the person compiling the list was from near me and you’re from somewhere further away.

    1. No the saying Buy a donkey isn’t at all Australian that I know of. But there is an African word n it’s spelt ‘baie dankie’.
      Some other slang
      – froth, mint, sick (cool)

    2. I am 4th gen Aussie. Lived in 3 different states. “To buy a donkey” is also “To buy a Lemon” “To buy a dud” however, it refers to the inability of the buyer in this case to not know the difference between a horse and a donkey. Because if whoever bought the donkey had any brains about buying a horse he wouldn’t have come home with a donkey and this saying is a loosely generalised saying for anyone who thinks they know what they’re doing when it’s quite apparent they don’t. To buy a Lemon or a dud means you’ve been ripped off by a purchase buying something less of what you expected for the money paid. Lol, this is fun 🙂

  7. Good list! As an Aussie, many of these are extremely common, some even more common than the “proper” word, and I use many on a daily basis. When was the last time I said “what are you doing this afternoon?” when I meant “what ya doing this arvo”? Or when was the last time I said I’m baking “biscuits”? No no, nearly always “arvo” and “bikkies” for me.
    Some terms are much rarer though, a few I hadn’t heard before. Sky gator? That was new to me.
    Also, “dag” meaning a funny and likeable person? That’s a new meaning! To me, “dag” is a mild insult, or sometimes an endearment in the twisted way Aussie can use words, for someone who is a bit scruffy or considered uncool. “Daggy” is the adjective, describing someone or something that’s scruffy or uncool.

    1. Growing up in Victoria, saying somebody was “a bit of a dag” was very common and not the slightest bit insulting. It was a friendly way of saying they liked to joke around.

      Calling somebody a “dag”, or “daggy”, in the way you mention is a different usage, I think.

  8. I grew up in Kensington, Melbourne, and we have some very peculiar words (and a peculiar accent to match). The accent is by far the most Londoner-sounding Australian accent I’ve ever heard, and quite frankly I was surprised at how other Aussies sound when I first left Kensington.

    Spitting – To rain very lightly. “Oh, it’s only spitting out there.”
    Tuppence – Nothing or hardly anything. “You wouldn’t believe it, I got tuppence for that.”
    Shit-hot – ‘Shit’ is applied broadly before words as a way to exaggerate it. “That’s shit-good!” or “Oh, shit-yeah!”. It rolls very well with the Kensington accent, pronounced like “Shitch-yeah”.
    Nowt – Nothing, similar to tuppence but can be applied to events. “There’s nowt on in that joint.”
    Owt – Opposite to nowt. Owt means something, or anything. “Is there owt going on or not?”
    Bird’s nest – A very messy, shaggy hairdo. “Look at that bird’s nest!”
    Cat’s eyes (or) Cat eyes – Something valuable, precious. “I’d hang onto that, it’s cat’s eyes.”
    Belter – Something great, usually a party or other event. “Last night was a belter!”
    Belted – Getting beaten severely, usually by your parents. “My dad belted the daylights out of me for that!”
    Yonks – A long time, ages. “We’ve been going for yonks!”
    (The) Duck’s guts – Something very good or exciting. “This car’s the duck’s guts mate!”
    Have a wobble – Used as a way to end a disagreement passive-aggressively. “Oh fine, have a wobble then.”
    Chips – Skinny, usually used to refer to a tall, lean person. “This bloke’s chips!”
    Chimpy (or) Chimp – Cheap. “Do you like it? I got it chimpy from the op-shop!”
    Black Mariah – A specific police truck for arresting just about anyone. It has a very nasty reputation in Kensington. “Don’t let the Black Mariah catch you mate… Run for your life!”
    Bird – A woman. “This bird in the shop gave me a discount.”
    Slag – A promiscuous man, sometimes used for women but not often. It’s basically a male alternative to slut. “Oh that bloke’s a slag!”
    Wank – Masturbate, common all over Australia.
    Dopey – A moron. “Oi, dopey!”
    Dill – A dopey person, someone innocently stupid. “Christ, this bloke’s a dill!”
    Rat-bastard – Just means bastard, someone who is not liked for whatever reason. I don’t know why ‘rat’ is included in front of it.
    Dog – Someone to be treated with little to no respect, usually as a result of a wrongdoing. “Him? He knocks his wife around, he’s a dog.”
    Truncheon – A policeman’s billy club. “He’ll hit us with the truncheon!”
    Abbas/Abbers – The abattoirs. Used primarily by slaughtermen. “Go up the abbas and find some work there.”
    Slaught – A slaughterman. “I used to be a slaught.”
    Locomotive – I’ve heard this used for anything that is deemed unstoppable. “That horse can’t lose, it’s a bloody locomotive!”
    Bloomin’ – Alternative to ‘bloody’. “Bloomin’ hell.”
    Warming up – Getting angrier and angrier. “Mate, I’m warming up…”
    Been Had – To have been tricked or conned. “I think we’ve been had.”
    Madra/Magra – Pronounced; ‘MADGE-RAH’, this means a mixed-breed dog. Alternative to the more common ‘bitzer’. “This thing? It’s a madra mate.”
    Right – Proper, absolute. “He’s a right wanker, that bloke.” This is extremely common in Kensington, it’s used in almost every sentence haha.
    Pentridge – This is an actual prison from the old days, it was a very bad place to go to. Now the name ‘Pentridge’ is used for most jails and prisons around Kensington and Flemington as slang.
    The Pent – A shortened variant of ‘Pentridge’. It just means any jail or prison. “He’s ended up in the pent.”
    Bob – Money, typically cents. “Fifty-bob for that?!”
    Jenker/Jenka – A wagon or cart pulled by horses. It isn’t used much anymore.
    Jammy Dodger – A popular biscuit with raspberry jam in the centre. Arnotts make them but don’t call them this.
    Mick – A friend, mate. Alternative for ‘cobber’ or ‘mate’. “Yeah, alright mick.”
    Wench – Usually used to refer to a female cat, it is also sometimes used to refer to a very rude old woman. “My mate got a cat, it’s a bloody wench.”
    Punt/Punting/Punter – Bet, gamble, usually on horses. “Come down to the TAB and punt with me.” This word is common all over Australia.
    Mongoloid – A derogatory word which began as a racial slur but is now used to refer to someone stupid or retarded. “God, you’re a mongoloid.”
    Possum-pants – Common amongst elderly ladies, this refers to a child (usually a girl) who can’t sit still. “Sit still, possum-pants!”
    White pointer – This one is interesting. It refers to a Great White Shark, but most people in Kensington (or other inner Melbourne suburbs) don’t call them Great Whites, they call them White Pointers or White Death.
    Floozy – A particularly flirtatious young woman or girl, usually considered to be not very intelligent. “She’s such a floozy…”
    Scag – Shortened version of scumbag. “Look at that scag!”
    Divvy Van – This is common all over Melbourne. It means a police transport van. “Got breathalysed last night, thought I was gonna end up in the divvy van.”
    Yankees/Yanks – Used to refer to northerners, much in the same way that Queenslanders call New South Wales and Victorian people Mexicans. “Those yanks up there are a bit slow.”

    There are many others but these are what I could think of right now.

    1. Hey Jack, so cool, I hadn’t heard “madra” – and after 19 years (half of them spent in Lithgow, country Tassie, and the Blue Mountains ) I’ve heard a lot of slang. Where in Oz do you live, may I ask. It’s so interesting.

      madra comes directly, unchanged from the Irish Gaeilge, just like sheila, smithereens etc.

    2. A “mongrel” is a mixed-breed dog, a right-royal bastard, and a really impressive stiffy…

      Having “ants in your pants” is also not being able to sit still…

    3. Dog & Bone.
      Get on the dog & bone (phone).
      Put that in your skyrocket

  9. I’m writing a light-hearted sci-fi series set in outer space, where all the characters are women, and one’s a bolshie Strayan.
    She gets all the best lines, and I’d like to keep her authentic if I can.
    She’s from Brizzie, and uses a lot of slang.
    In the scene I’m writing, all hell breaks loose and I need her to ask ‘what the hell’s going in,’ but in slang.
    “What’s the Dory,” isn’t enough.
    Can anyone help please?
    Thanks cobblers!

    1. Back in my childhood days in Glasgow, it was common to say “cumon, whut’s the score pal?” Or, more often when things are getting heated, “whut’s the fu@#in score pal?” for “what the hell’s going on “

    2. The words – maybe
      The slang usage – unlikely

      A drongo
      mad as a cut snake
      fast as an abo in a bushfire
      dry as a dingo’s donger


    3. Cobbers mate, not cobblers
      Cobblers make and repair R M WILLIAMS (boots mate)


    4. “Give me the SP” this dates back to earlly illegial gambling on horses where you had SP bookies (bookmakers) offering Starting Price bets so give me the SP means give me the lowdown ahh another one just crept in. It means give me the information. Probably more familiar to old f####.

    5. Cobbler, I’d suggest this is a fraught track you’re travelling…

      …but, if an Aussie sheila went into a place looking like a brothel with a bunch of drongos carrying on like pork chops, she’d either chuck a mental and pull ’em into gear, or put her togs on and go sick…

  10. i never knew that some of these were slang, cause i use em every day (or minute) and who calls swimmers BAYTHERS, they r called cozzies. and NOONE calls a lady Sheila. being aussie i know all these and WAY more

    1. In Queensland we have togs not bathers and if you come from far North Queensland then most sentences end in hey whatyadoinnow hey

    2. Sheila used to be very common, and not derogatory. It was used mostly by blokes, in the same way they called women “birds” or “chicks”, they were also called “sheilas”…

  11. Many are exckusively Australian, but some are also used in UK. And some certainly in Scotland.

    1. On the subject of swimwear, another common one (depending where in Oz you are) is budgie smugglers.
      don’t think that comes from the UK (too cold for budgie smugglers there)


  12. How about a Winger..someone who complains a lot. I am a Yank but have travelled to Aussie land many times.

    1. That should read “whinger”
      A winger is the guy or gal running down the side either carrying or kicking a ball or the guy or girl that goes along with you as your wingman (read for male or female)

    2. A winger is also a special term for gun shearer with a Chinese background…

  13. Does anyone remember any of these: letshavagander; having a psychedelic yawn; splash the boots; acting like a galah;hoon; budgie smugglers; get off the grass; a knight hood; a durry,rollie or op; donga; horses ass; breakfast of champions; raise it up the flagpole; pull the other one; pony,middy or schooner; strike a light; struth and don’t get your knickers in a twist.

    1. Most of those are still in use somewhere in Oz today.

      Cheers mate

    2. Yep know nearly all of these I love my Aussie slang nothin else Hilda’s a mirror yo it

  14. Canadian here, doing my Oz citizen oath in a few days. Lots are common between CA and AU, “spitting” is used on weather forecasts for instance.
    The ones I got a big kick out moving here were people-focused and so common:
    Tradie: Tradesman
    Chippy: Carpenter
    Sparky: Electrician
    Firie: Firefighter
    Bikie : Biker (i.e. “outlaw clubs”)

    Bloody oath: Yeah, right!
    Yeah, nah: No – more common than Nah, yeah: Yes
    I can never figure how to work in fair dinkum without sounding like a poser, so I leave that to the locals.

    1. Just a couple more that come to mind-

      Ambo…an Ambulance officer/paramedic.
      Round the Johnny Horner…around the corner.
      Having a Captain Cook…having a look.
      I’ll keep it for ron…I’ll keep it for later on.

    2. Maaaate, you’re not being fair dinkum, if you don’t give “fair dinkum” a fair dinkum go…

    1. … and if you LITERALLY piss yourself, well, that’s a bit of a bummer…

    1. Cracker
      rib tickler
      side splitter
      more laughs than a one armed man peeling a potato

    2. If someone has “Buckley’s chance” of winning, and they often win, they’re a bit arsey…
      ie. they pull it out of their arse…

  15. Australian born in rural NSW, the bush.
    There is very little here that I don’t recognize and or used while growing up, also have family members who still use most of it today.
    Having moved to the US in the early 70’s I had forgotten quite a lot of them though.
    Listening to a radio commercial here in the US back in the 80’s for meadow lea margarine a heavy Australian accent declared “some drongo dobed in my cheese and kisses for choofing off after the prang”, my immediate thoughts were “not many people understood that some idiot reported my wife for leaving the scene of an accident.
    Now that’s “strayan”

  16. There are 3 other classic Aussie slang sayings that have not been mentioned.
    These are 1. It’s as dry as a dingo’s donger, 2. It’s so dry that I saw 2 dingos fighting over a tree and 3. As fast as an Abo in a bushfire.

  17. We also have a tendency to use opposites as words of endearment.
    Though I’m not one to use them because I think it’s crass, it’s still something I hear frequently.
    Ie: you have the shits with someone and you refer to them as “mate”.
    “Yeah no worries mate, ya f&$kin’ d:$khead!”
    And then the opposite for a good friend
    “G’day c$&t!, how are ya?!”

    1. Yep, and the word “bastard” is used freely here as a very mild rebuke. ie, “Who’s the bastard who put Vegemite on the dunny door-handle?”
      Whereas “bastard” is still regarded as quite a seriously insulting word in some places, so this can result in some misunderstandings with people new to Australia.

  18. most of thoes words are used in every english speaking country
    Fit aboot spikin a bit oh doric min. Thats fin yea weill see the quanter

  19. As a South African who visit Australia often I had a good laugh at some of these words. Now I know why it is sometimes difficult to follow a conversation. Haha.

  20. Foofer or foofa valve
    As in, gunna bust a foofa valve waiting
    Its slave for gut or bottom bits lol

  21. I was born and raised in Canada. We used to use some of these all the time. Funny how words and meanings get around and get traded. I still catch myself using many of them.

  22. I’m a Liverpudlian, i.e. from Liverpool, England. There’s an awful lot of those words that we here ,use exactly the same. I would say they’re typically English, just as you say that they’re Australian.

  23. For Aussie Slang I often refer to “The Dinkum Dictionary” A ripper guide to Aussie English ISBN 0-670-0419-8 by Stephen Murray-Smith. It appeared in 1988.. a bit dated now but most of it still used today. it has nearly 17,000 entries. Cheers…

  24. Hey Diana – great blog! I’m somewhat surprised nobody’s mentioned Barry Humphries’ creations. As well as his TV stars (Dame Edna Everage, Les Patterson and others) Humphries – along with illustrator Nicholas Garland – created the cartoon character Barry McKenzie in 1964. This cartoon strip was published fortnightly in ‘Private Eye’, the British satirical and current affairs news magazine. It was from here that I and many of my Brit mates in London, learned and used Aussie slang, which then became part of the cultural lingo of many groups including London journalists, rugby club members and almost anyone who hung around the Earl’s Court area of London, known as ‘Kangaroo Valley’. We used it so much that I can remember being at a party in Earl’s Court when a guy I was talking with asked me, ‘Hey mate, what part of Sinny [Sydney] are you from?’
    It’s really worthwhile investigating Barry McKenzie (full name Barrington Bradman Bing McKenzie) as bits of Barry Humphries’ Aussie slang were in fact invented by him, and is now used by Aussies on their home turf! Wikipedia will give you the basics. Have fun!

    1. Too bloody right!

      Dag is a person who is funny
      Or a person who is not too well groomed
      Or the sh*tty bits on a sheep’s bum are called dags

      Sh*t hits the fan

      What about dijaavagoodweekend

    2. I’d be very surprised if either men “invented” any Aussie slang. They were both very astute observers of their fellow Australians, and THAT was their appeal. Can you give some examples…?

  25. Hi everyone, I’m a 69 year old 4th generation Aussie.. ‘Mate’ was only used for someone you could trust your life with or were really close to. It was not bandied about for everyone. And very rarely did you hear a man call a woman ‘mate’. Sheila (Gaelic form: Sile) an old Gaelic girls name, that came here originally with the first settlers and convicts, that were deported from their own countries by the English, for their political views, Just meant ‘heavenly’ /blinding light (originally it was used as a word for an Irish woman) then was used for a generic word for a ‘woman/girl. Even though the English invaded Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the English saw them as criminals for fighting back or not co-operating with English laws. Sheila (originally pronounced Shayla, they’re about’s) WASN’T used as a derogatory term. These terms don’t have exactly the same worth they used to! Even though my name is Renee, I am of mostly Irish, Scots, and Welsh descent,

    1. “Mate” was, and still is, used by everybody for everybody. It is not at all uncommon to call a complete stranger “mate”, when you are being friendly.
      ie. “Oi, Mate, where’s the dunny around here?”

      It can also be used when you’re about to have blue with someone, to remind them that you’re the civilized one in the situation…
      ie. “Listen, Mate, that ding on my ute is the same colour as your Merc…”

  26. I laughed when I read this article and the comments attached, I pretty sure I use just about all the slang terms mentioned. I use to live the US for a couple of years and the number of times I had to explain what I meant made me realise the volume of Aussie slang I just naturally used.

  27. I’m a Canadian 🍁 and we actually have a lot of the same words and phrases except we add “eh?” at the end. “G’day, eh?” or “Beauty, eh?”
    But I knew nothing about Australian politics so I had NO idea what a “ScoMo” was. I thought it was something you ate at the end of a Barbecue.
    “Hey. I brought, chocolate wafers and marshmallows! Who wants ScoMos?!” BOY, did I get that one wrong, eh? ✝️🇨🇦❣️

  28. I love Australian people. Thanks for sharing this type of article with us. We hope for more info from this site. Keep going on and keep sharing with us.

  29. Catain Cook- have a look
    Billy Heath – Teeth
    Rippa buety bonza – the best of the best
    Did the Harold Holt – left with no trace (Harold Holt was an Australian Prime Minister who was never found after a swim in the Ocean)
    Did the Bolt – left in a hurry, same as did the Harold Holt.
    Snott Box – Nose
    Dogs Eye – Pie
    Over the shoulder boulder holder – Bra
    Under the Butt Nut Hut – Under pants

    1. Pretty Flash…
      Cunning as a shithouse rat…
      Don’t come the raw prawn…
      Look what the cat’s dragged in…
      Stone the crows…
      Looking like the duck’s guts…
      Having kittens…
      You wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire…
      Icy pole…
      Sitting up like Madam Muck (or Farouk)…
      He’s carked it…
      It’s cactus…
      Sticking out like dog’s balls…
      As useful as tits on a bull…
      As cold as a witch’s tit…
      Charging like a bull at a gate…

  30. Hi!!. any alternative to word “guys” in Australia?. I work remote with an australian team(2 girls, 1 boy) and they have comment us than “guys” is a little bit rude for them. “you guys” is an alternative?. P.S. I’m native spanish speaker.

    1. “Guys” or “you guys” is usually OK with most people these days, although it does traditionally refer to males, so some “special” girls might not like it…
      You could try calling them “fellas” or “you fellas” although it has a similar issue.
      If calling them “girls” or “ladies” gets a similar reaction, you should come up with a ‘special’ word just for them…

    2. If it’s the girls that have the problem being called guys, I think they might be a bit ‘precious’, definitely not from the country or regional areas of Australia, most wouldn’t have a problem, it’s generally a unisex term in this day and age.

  31. Hi, 4th or 5th Gen Aussie. Heard most – used most. A lot depends on the area you live.
    Sheila in most cases refers to a woman. Mostly used by men talking together. Would be considered rude to call a woman Sheila to her face. However, can refer to a man that is acting (behaving) like a woman. Ie) stop being a Sheila.

  32. Well Rodrigo do not call them Sheila’s. Seeing as your team is 2 girls and one bloke then call them Mates. Mates covers both sexes. If they do not like being called Mates the call the Females girls. Ie) You girls did bonza today.

  33. I think no one mentioned hooroo for goodbye. Bathers and togs are also called swimmers. Strewth is an abreviation of God’s truth.

  34. We dont call them bathers or swimmers , we call ’em togs or boardies.
    Also, not to forget the exclamation ‘Fair Dinkum’! or ‘Fair Dink!’ meaning Really?! True?! Wow!

    … oh how the list goes on

  35. If bastard” is a term of semi-endearment, what to Aussies call someone in anger whom they hate?

  36. Had a great time reading replies…as 9th gen auzzie, if that makes a difference.. who cares… I must say each slang word used depends on tone, pace of speech and context for example universal word fark… if I say quickly in a high pitch fark yeah.. means yes, I Agee. If I say quickly in monotone that’s farked up means no way acceptable. If I extend both tone and pace.. I’m faaaarked means I’m tired or in trouble… I find we auzzies love love love to laugh at anyone anytime anyhow, not many boundaries as long as we’re laughing… I suggest if u don’t understand go for a smile/laugh… but we do love dry sarcasm… so good luck.. if I said good luck with that… in a quick monotone, means I’m cranky with you.. so yeaaarh… meaning I have nothing more to add… on yeah to hit stumps means it’s closing/ finished

  37. If someone said to me that gumbo(out in the surf) I would think it’s someone out in the surf that’s not Australian… and of course they can’t surf if they’re not an Auzzie.. to be specific to American they would add gumbo septic tank.. gumbo is used for someone who can’t surf and shouldn’t be out there

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