Need to decipher what Australians are actually trying to say?
Australia is a funny old place. Most of the animals can seriously injure you, the ripe tides can take you out to sea, it can be stinking hot in one part and then snowing in another and half the time visitors can’t work out what we are trying to say and I’m not even going to mention the drop bears.
You would be mistaken for thinking that Australians speak English and we do but there is A LOT of words that we say that just make no sense to the rest of the world. Its Australian English and in most cases it can be self-explanatory but in others, you will just have no bloody clue. You may have picked up the odd word from Crocodile Dundee or Neighbours but I’m pretty sure there will be a few that will have you going- seriously you say that!?
We have a weird (some might say lazy) way of communicating in that we shorten our words and you will find most Australian slang has an ’o’ or ‘y’ at the end. It just rolls off the tongue a little sweeter. Generally speaking the fewer syllables the better but there is also the odd occasion when we make the word longer.
It’s also not always about what we say but how we say it. The inflection on letters can also change how words are pronounced and it is usually words with the vowel such as water (drawn out a), quarter (same as water), yoghurt (yo-ghurt rather than yog-hurt).paracetamol (para-seat-a-mol). We also go up at the end of our sentences so you’re never really sure if someone is asking you a question or not. It says a lot that our country’s name has 3 ‘a’s in it and all are pronounced differently.
If you are planning to visit Australia or just bump into some Aussies abroad in a bar (that’s where we can be found) then here are 31 words/phrases that should help you communicate. And yes they are all real!!
- G’day- Good Morning, hello, hi. People do say this it’s not just in the movies. My favourite thing is when I ring home and dad says straight away ‘G’day Sweetheart’
- Straya – Australia. Because saying your full country is just too much. Those two extra syllables really take it out of you
- Arvo- Afternoon. I literally say this 10 times a day and it has now become a common phrase in my workplace.
- Hooroo – Goodbye. Makes saying goodbye a sound so much nicer
- Brekkie- Breakfast. Standard.
- Sanga – Sandwich. Most commonly used if your getting a sausage sanga likely at Bunnings on a Sunday.
- Maccas– Mcdonalds. I honestly grew up thinking everyone called it Macca’s alas it was only really in Aus.
- Bottle O– Bottle shop and yes they are usually drive in. Yep that’s right you drive in and someone comes to you with your booze. AMAZING
- Thongs- Flip Flops. No idea why they are called thongs but I quickly changed to saying flip-flops as I got a few odd looks when I first moved here
- Swimmers/cossie/togs– Bathing suit. Swimmers cause you swim in them. Cossie and Togs- no idea where those came from
- Bloody oath– Similar to Oh my god but not OMG.
- Bogan– uncouth or unsophisticated person. It’s always hard to say what makes someone a bogan but when you know you know.
- Chuck a sickie– calling in sick when you aren’t really sick. Cause we never do that
- Dunny- Toilet
- Servo- service station. No need for two words you can sum it up in one.
- Esky –cooler. Esky is the make of most coolers in Australia. It’s like vacuums in Britain are called Hoover even if they aren’t a proper hoover.
- Crisps/hot chips- chips are potato chips, hot chips are potato fries. Make sure if you’re having hot chips that you ask for chicken salt. You can thank me later
- Stubbie- both a bottle size and a style of shorts
- Schooner- glass size. Smaller than a pint but bigger than a half
- Heaps- lots. Aussie use heaps, heaps!
- Chuck a U-ie- do a U-turn. Chucking a u-ie sounds so much more fun than doing a U-turn doesn’t it
- Para/smashed- drunk eg paralytic
- Spit the dummy- throw a tantrum.
- Muffler- Exhaust
- Whipper snipper- Strimmer. One of my favourites mainly for when I asked my other half if he was going to whipper snipper the garden he looked at me like I was MENTAL.
- Smoko- morning or afternoon break at work. You don’t need to smoke for it to be smoko actually Australia is really anti-smoking
- Tradie- Tradesman and apparently tradies get the ladies
- Barbie– BBQ and no we don’t throw shrimps on it.
- Woop woop- a long way away. It is usually said bloody oast they live way out woop woop. Australia is big and to be fair anywhere more than 4 hours away is considered woop woop
- Zucchini/Capsicum/Eggplant- Courgette, Pepper and Aubergine. Fun veggie (vegetable) names to confuse you
- Nicknames- just add an a, o, y/ie to any names (even if it makes the name longer)and that’s your Aussie name egg Sharon- Shazza, Steve- Stevo, Shawn- shawny
Have you come across any that we’ve not included? Do leave them below in the comments as I am sure there is heaps we’ve missed.
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17 thoughts on “How to speak Australian- Bloody Oath Shazza don’t you know what we are saying?”
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Love this. Every day is a school day and if I get to Oz next year (as planned) I’ll be trying these out. Jill
That was quite a fun read. My favorite was Spit the dummy. I’ll have to remember that the next time I’m having one….lol
An important one is that ‘bastard’ is more often than not a term of endearment here, not derogatory at all, and somthing you would say lovingly to your granddad.
And one I love – tucker, for food, any food. Sadly that’s not used much now but I live in hope that it’ll be revived one day. It’s so Australian don’t you think.
I was baffled why lollies didn’t need a freezer. But that’s nothing to how worried I was when someone suggested we go to the pokies.
Whipper snipper might be my new favourite saying!!
Haha I loved this post! I lived in ‘Straya for 5 years and a lot of these words made its way into my vocab, even after returning to my home country. I still can’t shake off the Aussie slang, and people at home have no idea what I’m saying sometimes!
Some similar words to Geordies here. We go up at the end of sentences and people aren’t sure if we’re asking a question or not.
Some similar words to Geordies here. We go up at the end of sentences and people aren’t sure if we’re asking a question or not. I’ve never been to Australia so my limited knowledge has indeed been the likes of Crocodile Dundee and Neighbours!!
Next time I call my Aussie cousins I shall try a few of these out!
Love this Mel! I’m absolutely gonna go Aussie on my workmates this week, they won’t know what’s hit ’em! I love this observation though… “our country’s name has 3 ‘a’s in it and all are pronounced differently” 🙂
This is so cool! I enjoyed reading this!
My friend from Queensland told me sbout drive through bottle shops. I was amazed! This is a great list🎀
LOL, whipper snipper was funny because in the States we also don’t say Strimmer. I needed a double interpretation. In the states we say “weed whacker”
What a fun post! I had no idea these words existed. Dunny, and way out woop woop. So awesome.