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13 Phrases Only Aussies Could Come Up With

Australia Student Work Languages
by Lauren White Nov 1, 2014
1. Fair dinkum. | An affirmation or response to good news.

This one of the most commonly used Australian expressions and one of the most difficult to define. The origins are said to have come from the gold-mining days when a Chinese miner was asked if he was finding a fair amount of gold. “Din-gum” meant “good gold.” Throughout time, this saying evolved into a positive response to good news. “Fair dinkum” can be used in a few different ways and it’s not always easy to know when to throw it into conversation.

It can be used to say that someone is genuine. “You can trust Jill, she’s fair dinkum.”

But it can also be used to ask if you’re telling the truth. “I just got a job in Africa!” “Fair dinkum?”

2. Cross as a frog in a sock | This person is angry.

If you were to capture a frog in a sock, it wouldn’t be too happy. Another way to put it? They’re mad as a cut snake.

3. Handy as an ashtray on a motorbike | This person is useless.

If someone is as handy as a back pocket on a singlet or as tits on a bull, you could probably do without them.

4. He couldn’t organize a booze-up in a brewery. | He is disorganized.

How difficult is it to get alcohol at a brewery? Not very. If you can’t organize a bucket of sand at the beach, you’re not much better.

5. Flat chat. | I’ve been busy.

This is just one of the ways an Aussie may tell you that he has been very busy. He might also claim that he was flat out like a lizard drinking, or busy as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest.

6. Whim wham for a goose’s bridle! | None of your business!

It’s not a good idea to press this further. Or ask what a whim wham is or why a goose needs a bridle. This phrase has a number of variations. Whim wham originally meant a “fanciful object” but over the years the phrase has changed to sometimes include “wigwam” and “wing wong.”

7. A bullock short of a deck. | Not very bright.

A very bush-Australian way of saying someone isn’t all there — they aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Australians love to come up with their own phrases. They may also refer to someone as a six-pack short of a slab or that they have a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock.

8. Dry as a dead dingos donger. | I’m thirsty.

Don’t ignore this information. It’s time to crack a beer.

9. All sizzle and no steak. | Not living up to expectations.
10. I could eat the arse out of a low-flying duck. | I am very hungry.

This Australian is so starving, they’re prepared to eat whatever comes by. If they’re not quite hungry enough to eat the backside of bypassing fowl then they may just be hungry enough to eat a horse then chase the jockey!

11. She could put a horn on a jellyfish! | She’s hot!

Sounds like it could be an insult but it’s actually the opposite.

12. Gone walkabout. | Disappeared.

This saying originated from the Australian Aboriginals. As a rite of passage, the adolescent male Aborigines would go on a spiritual journey through the wilderness. They would spend up to six months on their own, following paths their ancestors travelled and embracing the traditional Aboriginal life. The phrase is now used by many Australians in reference to something disappearing. “My keys have gone walkabout!” Or to someone leaving without letting you know where they have gone. “He’s gone walkabout.”

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