The Author In Australia: The Lingo (Language)

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Australia is the world’s smallest continent but what it lacks in numbers it makes up in personality. Being down under and completely away from the grinds of the world, Aussie’s (Australians) have their own unique way of life and speaking. Even people from English-speaking countries sometimes say they find it hard to understand what Australians are talking about.

Time is the only thing that will help you adjust to the Australian accent. But this guide will help you understand some of the more common slang words you may hear in Australia.

How you going?
This is a very common phrase used when two people greet each other. The catch here is it doesn’t mean ‘How you going?’ in the literal sense but ‘How are you doing?’. Think of this as short for ‘How is your day going?’

Mate
Men greet each other as mate (friend). It is very common to hear people saying ‘Thanks, Mate’ or ‘How you going Mate?’

Love, Darling
Women on the other day greet each other as Darling, Love or sweetheart.

Diary
If you are in the IT world and have used Microsoft Office Outlook to set up meetings and appointments you are used to the term Calendar. But in Australia even though they mean the same Calendar they refer to it as Diary. So when setting up a time to meet they will often say, ‘Let’s put it down in the diary’

Dah-ta and not Day-ta
Since Australia uses the Queen’s English even in the way they speak they pronounce words differently from how an Indian would. If you walk into a mobile store, for example, don’t be surprised to hear how they pronounce data when speaking about the Internet Plan. They will say dah-ta and not day-ta. However, they do understand what day-ta mean. Hence it is not a hindrance.

Toh-mah-to and not Toh-may-to
The same rule as in the previous case applies here too.

Yogurt
There is no such thing as curd here. Be it flavoured or unflavoured, it is yogurt.

Paw Paw
Papayas are known as Paw Paws in this part of the world.

Cap is a Hat
A cap worn by a person is referred to as a Hat. This is to avoid any confusion with bottle caps.

Toh-mah-to sauce and not Ketchup
Very few people will get you if you say Ketchup. The Aussie’s refer to it as Toh-mah-to sauce instead.

Unit
Apartments of Flats are referred to as Units as they have a separate identification number.

Oz (short for Aussie)
With ‘Z’ pronounced as ‘Zee’, ‘Oz’ becomes short for short for Aussie.

What Australian’s Say What Australian’s Mean
 

Arvo

 

Afternoon

ARIA Australian Record Industry Award – the highest honour for musicians in Australia
Barbie BBQ or barbeque. Usually, a relaxed social get-together where food (usually meat) is cooked on a grill or hotplate. Australian men like to take charge of this aspect of cooking
Bikkie Biscuit
Bingle Motor vehicle accident
Bloke Man, guy
Bluey Bluebottle (stinging jellyfish). Bizarrely, it can also mean blue cattle dog or redheaded person
Boardies Board shorts. Originally worn by surfboard riders, they are now the preferred swimwear of many ‘blokes’
Bottle-o Liquor shop, off-licence
Budgie smugglers Tight-fitting men’s swimming costume. Often the source of ridicule, especially when worn by a ‘polly’
BYO Restaurant or party where you ‘Bring Your Own’ food or drink (usually alcohol)
Chewy Chewing gum
Chook Chicken, usually a hen
Cuppa Cup of tea or coffee
Digger Soldier or ex-serviceman
Daks Trousers
Esky Large, insulated food/ drink container. An essential for every ‘barbie’
Footy Football. Usually refers to Australian Rules Football, especially popular in Victoria
Flat out To be ‘flat out’ means to be very busy
G’day Hello
Garbo Garbage collector
Hooroo Goodbye
Icy pole Iced lolly, ice block, popsicle
Jaffle iron Heated sandwich press used to make toasted sandwiches (‘jaffles’), stuffed with anything from ham and cheese to baked beans
Kindy Kindergarten. School attended by children around 5 years old
Knock To ‘knock’ something means to criticise it
Lingo Language, especially slang
Mozzies Mosquitoes
Nipper Young surf lifesaver
Op shop Opportunity shop or thrift store, where second-hand goods can be bought. ‘Vinnies’ is a perfect example
Pav Pavlova. A meringue based dessert Australia takes credit for (don’t listen to anyone from New Zealand who tells you otherwise)
Piker Someone who ‘pikes’ – that is, quits or leaves early
Polly Politician
Plonk Cheap wine
Postie Postman
Rego Registration (usually for a car)
RSL Stands for Returned and Services League. Usually, refers to a club where locals meet. Not just for ‘diggers’
Sanger Sandwich
Schooner Glass of beer. Varies in size according to which state or territory you’re in
Smoko Cigarette or coffee break
Shout ‘My shout’ means ‘my turn to pay’ or ‘my treat’
Stoked Pleased or delighted. Originally a surfer’s term
Servo Service station, where petrol (gas) can be bought, and other basic goods
Sunnies Sunglasses
Sook Person who is tame, pathetic, or sorry for themselves
Thongs Cheap rubber footwear, known as flip-flops or slippers. Not to be confused with a skimpy form of underwear
Togs Swimming costume. Also called ‘cozzie’
Tool Idiotic person
Tradies Tradesmen (plumbers, electricians, etc.)
Ugg boots Warm sheepskin boots worn by surfers since the 1960s. Made famous (or infamous?) by Pamela Anderson. Also referred to as ‘Uggies’
Ute Utility vehicle, pick up truck. Usually driven by ‘tradies’
Vinnies Stands for Saint Vincent de Paul – one of Australia’s oldest charities, which operates many ‘op shops’ around the country
Woop woop Small, remote town
Wuss Weak, cowardly or nervous person
Yewy ‘U-turn’, or 180-degree turn, usually made on the road
Yakka Hard work (used as a noun)