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?’
Men greet each other as mate (friend). It is very common to hear people saying ‘Thanks, Mate’ or ‘How you going Mate?’
Women on the other day greet each other as Darling, Love or sweetheart.
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.
There is no such thing as curd here. Be it flavoured or unflavoured, it is yogurt.
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.
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|
|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|
|Bingle||Motor vehicle accident|
|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)|
|Chook||Chicken, usually a hen|
|Cuppa||Cup of tea or coffee|
|Digger||Soldier or ex-serviceman|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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’|
|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|
|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’|
|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)|