A Guide to Aussie Slang

"G'day mate. Fancy a tinnie?"

If you have ever been to Australia, or know anything about it, you will know that like all other countries we have our own unique way of communicating. Our land is so vast, we could live thousands of kilometres away from a friend, yet we all speak the same language and in very similar accents. Australians, or Aussies as I will say from now on, (pronounced "Ozzy" not "Ossie") have a strong habit of shortening everything we say. Or putting an "O" on the end of a name/word. An example:

  • "Oi Damo...we're goin to the bottle-O to get some grog for the barbie. Ya wana come with?" translates to: "Hey Damien. We're going to the liquor store to buy some alcohol for the barbeque. Would you like to come?"

Here are some examples of some great words we use in everyday life, some more than others:

  • Sheila - Woman.
  • Bloke - Man.
  • Ankle-Biter - Small child.
  • Dag - Refers to either if someone is acting like a dork or is dressed quite shabby. It is mostly used as a term of endearment though between friends eg. "You're such a dag but that's why I love you".
  • "Snaggers" - Barbeque sausages.
  • "Barbie" - Barbeque.
  • "Drongo" - A person showing a lack of intelligence eg. "You didn't put your handbrake up, you drongo!"
  • "Bogan" - An Aussie of the flannelette shirt wearing variety, possibly smoking Winnie Blues with a VB in hand. Terrible stereo-typing, I know.
  • "Yobbo" - Quite like the bogan but more outwardly vocal in their Aussie-ness, often draping the flag around them on Australia Day and basically being a bit of a nuisance.
  • "Norks" - Breasts.
  • "Budgie Smugglers" - Speedos swimwear for men. Don't make me explain the reason please ;)
  • "Thongs" - Flip-Flop footwear. Most Aussies are conscious of the different meaning of this word in other countries. Otherwise this can happen: Person 1: "Would you like to come inside" Person 2: "Sure, hang on a sec, I'll just take off my thongs". Person 1: "Uhh...What?!!".
  • "Arvo" - Afternoon.
  • "Blue" - Argument/fight eg. "She just had a blue with her best mate".
  • "Daks" - Trousers/pants/underwear.
  • "Servo" - Petrol/Gas station.
  • "Floaties" - A swimming aid for young children to wear around their arms.

There are also many sayings that are distinctly our own. I will do my best at translating the best ones for you...I'll start with my subtitle:

  • "G'day mate. Fancy a tinnie?" - "Good day to you, friend. Could I tempt you with a beer?"
  • "Fair go!" - "Give me a chance!"
  • "Fair dinkum" - This basically means "Genuine". Someone can say they are "dinkum" when they are genuinely telling the truth about something eg. "The fish was this big...Dinkum!!" A "Dinky Di Aussie" is someone who is pretty fair dinkum on how Aussie they are!
  • "Bob's your Uncle" - Basically means if you follow certain instructions the result will be what you are after eg. "If you want to go to the shops turn right at the end of the road here, then a left, then right again and Bob's your Uncle" meaning you are now at the shops.
  • "Woop Woop" - A place that is very far to travel and out in the middle of nowhere eg. "I'd love to go see their new place but it's out near Woop Woop".
  • "She'll be right" or "She'll be apples" - Refers normally to a situation and trying to put someone at ease about that situation. For example, if you are worried you forgot to turn the iron off at home the response could be "Nah, she'll be right. I'm sure you turned it off".
  • "You little beauty!" - An excited remark when something really good has just happened. Normally said by people jumping up and down while saying it!
  • "Where's the dunny?" - "Where's the toilet?".
  • "Up the duff" - To say someone is "up the duff" is to say they are pregnant.
  • "Can I bum a durry?" - "Can I have one of your cigarettes?"
  • "Flat out like a lizard drinking" - To be, or have been very busy and hard at work.
  • "Hard yakka" - Hard work eg. "Building that retaining wall was bloody hard yakka".

And my personal favourite:

  • "No worries" - This is basically the attitude us Aussies generally pride ourselves on. It represents a relaxed, friendly attitude and mateship. It is commonly heard after someone has been thanked for doing a deed eg. Person 1: "Thanks for baby-sitting my kids" Person 2: "Yeah, no worries". Also after receiving instructions eg. Person 1: "Please get to the church by 10am." Person 2: "Absolutely. No worries".

We are very proud of our own unique styles and although we are not all your stereo-typical looking Aussies, most of us would say many of these words and phrases in our everyday life. This was just touching on our language Down Under. I guess you'll have to come for a visit sometime and learn some more - I hope I helped you get started! Hoo Roo (GoodBye) and take it easy!!


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Comments 35 comments

Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

This is flat out fun to read! I've never been to Australia, so wouldn't this be helpful? Voted up, useful, funny and AWESOME!!!


Talia J profile image

Talia J 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you so much! I had it published before under my old account and it was quite popular so wanted to show it again in my new account. Thanks for your comment :)))


thranax profile image

thranax 5 years ago from Rep Boston MA

Very nice guide. Now I can Hard yakka at hubpages. (Fail I know.)

Thanks for sharing gonna get me some barbie,

~thranax~


Talia J profile image

Talia J 5 years ago from Australia Author

hahaha but I LOVE how you know you failed!!! Please keep trying, us Aussies love the effort!

Thanks so much for reading and commenting :)


LABrashear profile image

LABrashear 5 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

So helpful. I have a couple of Aussie acquaintances. I just smile and nod when they use slang (much like I'm sure they do to some of the US slang!) Now, I can kind of know what they are talking about - maybe. It's funny how two such similar languages are still very different. Very fun hub. Thanks again!


Talia J profile image

Talia J 5 years ago from Australia Author

Lol, I can imagine the awkward moments sometimes. Thanks so much for commenting, glad I could be of help!


easydney profile image

easydney 5 years ago from Los Angeles

Great hub mate! Keep it up ;)


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco

Loved this! Have only been to Australia once, but we had a wonderful time there. "No worries" has migrated over to California and is in common parlance here, too. I'm going to see if I can get fellow California to start saying "Bob's your uncle" too, but I suspect all I'll get are quizzical looks...


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Norks is now my favorite word. I love ALL of these, and there are a bunch of terms here I've never heard before! LOVE this Hub. I'm a huge fan of all slang, so any chance to learn some new words leaves me positively giddy!


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 5 years ago from London

Love it! I'm proud to say that I understood nearly all of these. :) I've got some family there, but have to admit it's also partly (mostly?) from watching too much Neighbours as a child..

We had an amazing time in Sydney many years ago, and would love to go back one day to explore more of your amazing country.

Great hub, good on ya cobber!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Strewth, Sheila, that was the best. You little beauty, you reminded me what it was like to talk proper in Perth.

So if I ever forget some words, I know who to go to to borrow the lend of a dictionary. Bonza!


Golfgal 5 years ago

I loved this hub....congrats on title selection and content... this will go far and long. I agree with Simone, I like the word Norks too. Cya down under.


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

Voted up and more. I love Aussie slang. I wish that we Merkins had "Fair Dinkum" in our lexicon. Thanks, Talia. Here's my stoopid question of the day:

In light of the generic quality of the name, are there any Australian parents who choose to name their girls Sheila?


Raymond Tremain profile image

Raymond Tremain 5 years ago from Metro Manila Philippines

We aussies are the most honest sort of blokes you could ever find anywhere, we all stick together when it comes to help out with money, we raise millions for support for fires, floods, hospitals, and what have you.

what about a fang carpenter meaning a dentist.

fan the breeze.to engage in idle talk,

a fall guy.......:scapegoat,

come for a feedbag.........:come for a meal

to fart around.....: a waste of time

farmyard confetti................: a lot of rubbish about

he's got the clap................: he has gonorrhoea or any other veneral disease

also there was a film made called They're a Weird Mob

meaning that the australians were strange people.

an old car is called a bomb

a good child is called "a little vegimite"

a gum tree full of galahs....... a room full of people not knowing what they are talking about


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

G.day A great fun hub.

I used to live in Sydney so know most of these.

But if you come to New Zealand be careful when asking for a 'tinnie/tinny' you are more likely to get cannabis wrapped in tin foil.

Loved this hub such a friendly bunch, the Aussies :-)


Drew 5 years ago

Wow I had heard Aussies had "some accent" but look at all these strange words and phrases! Now I definitely wanna go to Australia to hear them in person!

Great hub ;)


logic,commonsense 5 years ago

Love the hub! Now I can follow Aussie conversations! Would enjoy even more if you have the chance!


shyonegb profile image

shyonegb 5 years ago from Australia

G'Day from Melbourne, You forgot to mention "Fair shake of the sauce bottle!" from KRudd.


chrisand profile image

chrisand 5 years ago

Hi Talia

Greetings from Sydney. Some great slang terms you've showcased here. One of my favourites to use when I am exasperated by someone's incompetence is 'they couldn't run a chook raffle'

Keep up the good work on your hubs.

Hooroo(Goodbye) and

Seeya round like a rissole (see you later)


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

I'd love to visit down under one of these days...we had guests visit from Australia a couple of times when my kids were young, and we had great fun with them.

Very laid-back friendly folks, indeed.

They brought Aussie-style gifts, including some Vegemite. I'd never heard of it before, and I must say, it surely must be an acquired taste...we did not care for it at all...

So, we "retaliated" by serving Artichokes for the dinner vegetable..and had fun watching their puzzled expressions trying to figure out how to eat them. We did show them how...eventually. LOL

Voted up, interesting and funny. Good job!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Congratulations on this being the Recommended Hub in this week's HP newsletter! A great choice! But then you know already know I love your writing, and this hub in particular! ;D


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia

Thank you so much dear Talia to promote 'our Aussie lingo'....GO AUSSIE GO!!!


Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 5 years ago from Australia

G'day Mate, jeez, your'e a bit of a dag, but it's bloody bonza to meet ya here, cos ya speak the lingo. Was gunna write this before me tea, but me dog's eye and dead horse would'a gone cold. I've been livin out in the sticks most'a me life, but moved to the big smoke a coupl'a years back. I'm livin in Canbra now, but streuth, I'm not'a a bloody pollie. Hav a good one, Mate and say G'day to Bruce from me. (Good on ya, mate, bloody bonza Hub!!) From an Ozzie Sheila!!!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

LMAO!! This was a superb hub. I knew a couple of the slang words but many I hadn't heard before. Now if I ever get the chance to visit beautiful Australia I'll have more of an idea about the lingo!!

Great hub + voted up


Mary Soliel profile image

Mary Soliel 5 years ago from Colorado

I'm smiling ear to ear reading this awesome hub, Ozzy! What fun, my most favorite hub ever, as I plan to visit my beautiful family (I've never met in person) in Australia, and now I can understand the "language" better! I'm recommending this! I LOVE your writing, Talia J!


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

Those are fun and interesting to my Euro-American ears, thank you for the lesson :-)


Talia J profile image

Talia J 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you all so so much!

I got a real kick reading through all these comments, they are so bloody funny :D

@ JamaGenee thank you so much for letting me know, I didn't realise that before you told me - I am so happy!

@ Larry Fields - I know a few women named Sheila but they are in their 60's. Not too common these days...maybe it could make a comeback?? lol

Thank you all so much for your awesome comments, you put a big smile on my face!!!


stricktlydating profile image

stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia

Awsome! And G'day from Sydney. I've written a similar Hub with Aussie slang a few months back and it's good to see you're using the same Aussie slang as me :)


Gloshei profile image

Gloshei 5 years ago from France

Nice hub and very interesting. Good luck.


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Great job Talia, I'm glad to say I understood all the slang. Hello from Sydney.


tonipet.hubpages.com 5 years ago

Really an awesome and funny hub. LIKED that "thongs" tip, couldn't help laughed all out:=) "Arvo" was my first lesson word two years ago while preparing to fly to Brisbane. Now I could be more at ease being in the middle of wonderful Aussies! Funny, USEFUL and very interesting. A big THANK YOU for this.


Carrie 5 years ago

I'm American, but we lived in Sydney for a bit when I was little. My dad had a book called, "Let Stalk Strine" that took me YEARS to figure out the title! I love the Aussie culture and people! And now I know why I still call those things "thongs"!


Talia J profile image

Talia J 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you all and so nice to see other Aussies enjoying it too.

@ Carrie - I didn't even mention the word "strine" did I? I can't believe it, may have to edit that later!! My husband (a born and bred Aussie) heard me say the word once and thought I made it up. I guess because it does sound so silly. Especially the way we say it lol :D


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Wow...how could I forget "strine" after two Aussie hubbers kept me guessing for days about what it meant! ;D


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Hi Talia ... fun hub ... I think Strine must be more universal than you think as I understood most of these ... and my dear old mum was always calling folks drongoes! Now, how did that happen in deepest, darkest Yorkshire? I just love the laid-back Ozzie approach to language and find it easier to understand than American slang for some reason.

Voted up and fair dinkum, ya little beauty.

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