Australia like most countries has its own slang and phrases that can make learning English confusing because you won’t hear the following slang and phrases in other countries that’s national language is English, so in this blog post we will cover some of Australian’s favourite expressions including the shortening of words, names for foods, people, things and most used phrases that you’ll need to know to immerse yourself in the Aussie culture.

Shortening words

Australians very commonly shorten words. Although these aren’t to be used in a formal setting, these are some of the most used slang terms and are second nature to Australians, so you will most likely hear these all the time while in Australia.

Arvo – Afternoon  à “I’m going out this arvo”

Agro – Aggressive/someone is angry à “He’s so agro”

Aussie – An Australian

Aus – Australia

Avo – Avocado

Bottle-o – the bottle shop (a shop that sells alcohol)

Brekki – Breakfast

Cuppa – coffee “can I get you a cuppa?”

Servo – This is used for a service station (where you get petrol)

Stray’a – Australia

Barbie – A barbeque, you may have heard American’s say “throw a shrimp on the barbie” as a way of explaining Australian slang however Australian’s don’t call them shrimp the crustacean is called prawns in Australia and that has never been an expression used by Australians

Brolly – an umbrella

Defo/def/defs – Definitely

Devo – Devastated à “I’m so devo the game got cancelled”

Footy – Football

G’Day – a shortened word for “good day”, essentially it means hello. This is very commonly associated with Australia by countries world-wide but not that commonly used in metro areas of Australia

Kanga – Kangaroo

Kindy – Kindergarten, this is the year before the first grade of school (5–6-year old’s)

Lappy – Laptop

Lippy – Lipstick

Misso – Essentially this means Mrs, but can be used for a girlfriend, partner or wife à “How’s ya misso?”

Muso – Musician

Preggas – someone is pregnant

Prezzie – Present

Rego – Registration, car registration in particular is almost always referred to as rego in Australia

Relo – Relationship

Spose – Suppose à “I spose I can take a look at that”

Sunnies – Sunglasses

Trolly – A shopping cart

Vego – vegetarian

Ya – This means you often used in “How ya going?” (This means how are you?)

Yous – the plural of you, used similarly to when American’s say “Y’all” à “are yous coming over later”

Food

Choccy – Chocolate

Chook – Chicken, you may hear someone say à “we should get a cooked chook”

Baloney/Devon – processed pork-based sandwich meat

Cold one – a beer

Fairy Bread – A slice of bread with butter and sprinkles on top

Icy Pole – A popsicle

Lollie – candy/sweets

Maccas” – McDonald’s (this was used so much MacDonald’s changed their brand name in Australia to Maccas)

Mushies – Mushrooms

Sanga – a sandwich

Snag – a sausage, commonly used with the above “snag sanga” is a sausage with a piece of bread folded around it

Spag-bol – Spaghetti Bolognese

Stubby – a 375ml can or bottle of beer

Tucker – any food à “I’m so excited for tucker”, derived from the aboriginal term “bush tucker” which is traditional food from the outback

Tuck Shop – The canteen/cafeteria at school

Things

Budgy Smugglers – A man’s speedo (based off a Budgerigar bird which Australian’s call a budgy)

Ciggie – A cigarette; Australians also say “rollie” for a cigarette you have rolled yourself and “durry” for a pre-rolled cigarette

Cozzie, Kini, Togs, Bathers, Swimmers – these are all terms for swimsuits

Dunny – toilet

Esky – A cooler/cold box, a portable insulated box for storing cold foods/drinks

Flicker – This is a term for a television remote (mainly used in Western Australia)

Mozzie – A mosquito

Stubby holder – a foam cylinder that insulates a “stubby” to keep it cold

Thongs – flip flops/sandals

Tinny/Tinnie – this could be referring to a can of beer or a small boat

Trackies/Track-a-dacks – sweatpants

People

Bludger – a lazy person/someone not putting in effort à “Jamie is such a bludger, he didn’t even try in the game”, similarly if someone refers to something as a bludge it means it’s easy “HPE is my bludge subject” (health and physical education this is sports in school) 

Bogan – a bogan is a term for someone who is un-sophisticated, dresses a stereotypical way or someone who lives in certain areas. Often someone of a low socio-economic class.

Coppers – police officer

Grommet – a beginner surfer

Larrikin – someone who is not well behaved, similar to hooligan but used for someone who is still a good person. Mainly a jokester or someone who plays pranks

Mate – A friend

Old Mate – A way to refer to anyone without using their name à “look old mates here”

Pom/Pommie – A term for a British person

True Blue – A very Australian person; a patriotic person

Journo – A Journalist

Sheila – A woman (this is less commonly used with millennials/gen z or in metro areas)

Sook – A ‘cry-baby’, someone who can’t take a joke or gets easily upset

Tradie – A tradesman such as an electrician, plumber, builder etc.

Truckie – A truck driver

Yank – A term for an American

Phrases

“Aussie Aussie Aussie” “Oi Oi Oi” – this is mainly used as a chant at sporting games one person will yell the first part (Aussie) and the crowd will reply with the second part (oi)

“A feed” – this could be referring to any meal

Bail – If someone says “he bailed” it does not have anything to do with getting out of jail, it is referring to someone cancelling plans often last minute

Bloody oath – bloody is used a lot in Australia and can be quite confusing if you don’t live or come to Australia often, the term bloody oath just means that something is 100% true or that you are confirming you believe someone’s story, it can be used in a similar way to struth à if someone was to say something like “I saw the biggest croc when I was in the NT” you could reply here with “bloody oath”

“Choc-a-Block” or Choccers – means somewhere is packed/very busy, such as a room containing a lot of people à “I went to the restaurant, but we had to leave because it was choccers”

“Crikey” – used as an expression on its own when you are shocked, like “wow” or “oh my”

Crook – someone is sick/unwell

Dropkick – to call someone useless. This can be used as a joke between friends or to insult someone you don’t like

“Good on ya” – good job/well done

Heaps – this can be used to say you have a lot of something or as an expression, for example “that’s heaps good” means it’s very good

“How ya going?” / “How’s it going?” – this means “how are you?” this confuses a lot of non-Australians because they don’t understand that “ya” means you and going doesn’t mean you/anything is going anywhere

“Chuck a sickie” – to call in sick to work/school, this is mainly used when someone fakes being sick

“Chuck a u-ey” – make a u-turn when driving

“Fair Dinkum” – something is good

“Flat out” – very busy à “I’ve been flat out”

Gobsmacked – Shocked à “I’m honestly gobsmacked he pulled that off”

“Have a sook” – this is often used in a joking manner, but it means “go cry about it”

“How’s your old man” – This is referring to your father, it is saying “How is your father?”

“I’m knackered” – you are exhausted

“I’m spewin” – You are annoyed/angry

Pash – Kiss

“Piece of piss” – Something is easy

Pub feed – this means to go get a meal at a pub

“Rock up” – this means to show up somewhere, usually when you are unsure if someone will come somewhere or if they come uninvited à “do you think he’ll rock up?” / “he just rocked up out of the blue”

Smoko – this is a break from work to have a cigarette, mainly used by tradies and physical labourers

Squiz – If someone says “Take a squiz” this means “have a look” it would be used in a sentence like à “hey can you take a squiz and my work”

Stickybeak – a term for a nosy person

Stoked – You would use this to say you are excited à “I’m stoked for the party this weekend”

Struth à used as an expression on its own when you are shocked

“Sweet as” – This means something is cool/good

Thingo/thingy/thingamajig – this could be referring to any item you can’t think of the name for à “I’m looking for the um thingamajig”

“Tryna” – trying to à “I’m tryna find my thongs”

“Veg out” – to be lazy/ particularly to sit on the couch and relax à “I’m so tired, I’m just going to go home and veg out”

“Woop-woop” – to say something is far away or “the middle of nowhere” à “he lives in woop-woop”

Wuss – A coward à “come on don’t be a wuss”

“You reckon? /Ya reckon?”– this means do you think à “Ya reckon this will be on the test?”

 

Note: Australians also use a lot of insults/swear to their friends, this is not to be taken as an insult and has entirely different meaning when used with friends.

Now that we have covered Australia’s most used slang, are you ready to fit in to Australia’s culture?

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