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A Guide to Aussie Slang

Updated on October 10, 2011

"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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    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 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.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 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

    • Talia J profile image
      Author

      Talia J 6 years ago from Australia

      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

    • profile image

      Carrie 6 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"!

    • profile image

      tonipet.hubpages.com 6 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.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

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

    • Gloshei profile image

      Gloria 6 years ago from France

      Nice hub and very interesting. Good luck.

    • stricktlydating profile image

      StricktlyDating 6 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 :)

    • Talia J profile image
      Author

      Talia J 6 years ago from Australia

      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!!!

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

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

    • Mary Soliel profile image

      Mary Soliel 6 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!

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 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

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 6 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!!!

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia

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

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 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

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 6 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!

    • chrisand profile image

      chrisand 6 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)

    • shyonegb profile image

      shyonegb 6 years ago from Australia

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

    • profile image

      logic,commonsense 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Drew 6 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 ;)

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 6 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 :-)

    • Raymond Tremain profile image

      Raymond Tremain 6 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

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 6 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?

    • profile image

      Golfgal 6 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.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 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!

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 6 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!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 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!

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 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...

    • easydney profile image

      easydney 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great hub mate! Keep it up ;)

    • Talia J profile image
      Author

      Talia J 6 years ago from Australia

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

    • LABrashear profile image

      LABrashear 6 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
      Author

      Talia J 6 years ago from Australia

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

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting :)

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 6 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
      Author

      Talia J 6 years ago from Australia

      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 :)))

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 6 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!!!