If you are on your way to Australia, you probably know the basics of Aussie slang – basically, what g’day means! The Australian’s talk in a language all of there own, there is some slang that is recognisable to the UK but others just seem to come out of nowhere.
It isn’t all drongos and galahs, even if Neighbours and Home and Away say it is. You can still call a toilet a toilet and not a dunny, no-one ever says ‘put another shrimp on the barbie’ unless they are foreign but you will hear ‘no worries’ a lot!
So, to give you a fair go when you get to Australia and so you can speak as the locals do, we’ll give you a rundown of some of the biggest words to watch for when you arrive Down Under!
You’ll get to know this about 20 minutes after you check into your first hostel in Australia. Goon is what you’ll be drinking for the next 12 months – goon is wine in a box. You’ll get used to the sight of the silver space bags no matter where you are in Australia – the wine is cheap, sometimes it tastes ok, and it certainly does the job!
Beware the goon hangover though and take this as your official warning….
Another one you’ll figure out pretty quickly – if you turn up at a bar and order a pint, you may get a funny look. Pints aren’t readily available Down Under, some bars have them and some don’t but the schooner is the next best thing. It is a little smaller than a pint but a nice measure nonetheless.
This is where it gets a little more confusing! If you are in Victoria you may be asked if you want a pot – a smaller glass that has no reason to be used with beer. Same as a middy in New South Wales, they are an almost pointless drink so I’d steer clear.
In Victoria, they also offer a glass, which is smaller than a pot and equally as pointless unless you just want a taste of beer rather than an actual drink of it. In Adelaide, they call a middy a schooner and a schooner a pint which makes very little sense but go with it if you are in South Australia and if all else fails just ask for the biggest glass they’ve got!
Anything with an “-o” on the end
Whether you are enjoying an avo (avocado) in the arvo (afternoon) because your a vego (vegetarian) or you need to pop to the bottle-o (bottle shop/where they sell booze) because the relos (relatives) are on their way round – if you stick an ‘o’ on the end of a word, you’re as Australian as they come!
Simply put, thongs are flip-flops or sandals. If someone comments on your lovely thongs, they aren’t coming on to you or being inappropriate – they are just commenting on your shoes.
Fair dinkum is a strange one but an awesome little Australian-ism! It basically means fair enough or can be used as a statement of shock. It is kind of a statement of truth, like saying “honestly,” or a way of saying “no way!” It’s tough to explain so I’ll give you some examples:
You: Did you know more than 85% of Australians live within 50kms of the coast?
Bruce The Aussie: Fair Dinkum!?!
You: Bruce, are you lying to me?
Burce the Aussie: Fair Dinkum, I swear!
Just throw a couple into conversations with Aussies and see if they pick you up on it.
Not a native of the frozen tundra but an ice-box or a cooler – whatever you call them in your home nation. It keeps your beers cool during a hot Australian summer and is one of the signs of a true ‘Strayan!
This is Australian for hard work and if you are looking to do your farm work – get used to some good, hard yakka!
These will come up when you are looking into your regional work too. Basically, an Australian cowboy or cowgirl, a jack or jillaroo is a worker on an Australian cattle ranch. It is a pretty cool job that you’ll never get to do elsewhere unless you plan on making a career of cattle-mustering!
A bogan is a bit of a bumpkin, a chav, a redneck – whatever the common phrase is in your home country. Not from the city, probably has a mullet and loves the phrase ‘un-Australian’ bogans aren’t the best and you probably won’t meet that many. Just be aware of it incase an Aussie calls you a bogan and you have to think of a suitable response.
Another more confusing one, footy has a fair few connotations depending on what state you are in and who you’re speaking to. In New South Wales, it means rugby league. The NRL is a big deal in New South Wales, 10 of the 16 teams are a drivable distance from Sydney with another team a little further afield in Newcastle so it is pretty much rugby league or bust in NSW!
In Victoria, footy is AFL or Australian Rules. AFL is a crazy sport that resembles nothing else in the world, played on a cricket pitch with a rugby-shaped ball and some rugby-like rules, 18 players run incredible distances during a game of 20 minute quarters with roll-on, roll-off substitutions. You kick points through two sets of goals (6 points down the middle, one either side) and have to bounce or kick the ball every 10 metres.
In some circles footy may also refer to rugby union but not all that often. Oh, if you are talking to a Brit, it means soccer. Got all that?!
Another sport-related term, this means who do you support. Wherever you are going to settle in Australia, you have to pick a team! Whether you stay in Sydney and barrack for an NRL team or you’re in Victoria and it is all about the AFL for you, pick someone and go to a game!
Australian’s love a good heaps, which just means lots of or loads. By the time you leave, you’ll be using heaps, well, heaps!
This is an alternative to the all too cliche ‘flamin’ right,’ and is a bit of an UltimateOz motto. If you ever head into our Sydney office see if one of our travel gurus will give you a demonstration….
What is your favourite Aussie slang? Anything we have missed that you’ve picked up during your travels in Australia? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below!
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