Australia, being so far away from the rest of the English-speaking world, has, over the years, transformed the language into its own fun, crude, and unique version that only Aussies can decipher. Australian slang is unlike anything else you’ll hear around the world, and even the most crass of British, Irish, and Scottish slang words cannot beat the vulgarity and hilarity of the idioms, sayings, and insults you hear Down Under.
This guide to Australian slang, sayings, and one-of-a-kind vocabulary will assist you in understanding what the locals are saying — and maybe even help you blend in without having to drink Foster’s and pretend to like Vegemite.
- Australian slang words and phrases and how to use them
- Funny Australian sayings and their meaning
- Australian-up your vocabulary
Australian slang words and phrases and how to use them
I’ve been flat chat
Translation: I’ve been very busy
Alternatives: “I’ve been flat out like a lizard drinking” or “I’ve been busy as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest.”
Explanation: Skimpy male beachwear. The bulge in the lycra briefs’ forward-facing extremity resembles that of a parakeet, or “budgie” to Aussies.
Explanation: This quintessential Aussie slang word is useful if you want to disagree with someone in a very polite way.
Alternative: Yeahyeahyeahyeahnahhh / Yeahyeahnah
Explanation: Australian slang word describing something that is impressive or impactful.
Example of usage: “Mate, that was a screama of a match last night.”
Real rip snorta
Translation: Fantastic / Really, really good / Intensely excellent
Spit the dummy
Translation: Throw a fit
Explanation: Expressing extreme dislike for a particular situation in the form of an immature tantrum like that of an infant spitting out their pacifier and bursting into a crying fit.
Example of usage: “I appreciate that you’re upset that your brother recently made love to your girlfriend; however, there is no need to spit the dummy.”
Explanation: An affirmation or response to good news. Fair dinkum can be used in a variety of contexts, such as to say that someone is genuine or to ask if one is telling the truth. It is one of the most commonly used Australian slang phrases.
Example of usage: “You can trust Jill, she’s fair dinkum” / “I just got a job in South Africa!” “Fair dinkum?”
Alternatives: Loo / Crappa / Outhouse / Thunderbox / Long drop
Translation: Getting drunk
Alternatives: Getting paro / Pissed / Maggoted / Being Loose
Explanation: Australian rough and ready individual with an affinity for the mullet hairstyle, touring car races, Victoria Bitter beer, and generally uncouth behavior.
Example of usage: “Stay away from Rundle Street during the Clipsal 500 car race; you may well end up in a fistfight with a pissed bogan.”
Having a whinge
Translation: Moaning, whining, or complaining
Example of usage: “Jim is having a whinge about his girlfriend, boss, or something or other. I stopped listening after he opened his mouth.”
Translation: Great guy
Explanation: Bloke is simply a male
Example of usage: “Jonno is such a top bloke; he gave me free tickets to the footy, bought a case of beer, and set me up with his smoking-hot cousin.”
Pull your head in
Explanation: Reprimand for behaving in an idiotic fashion
Example of usage: “Stop being a dickhead and pull your head in.”
Having a chinwag
Chuck a sickie
Explanation: Strategically fabricating an illness in order to avoid work for personal matters or self-indulgence.
Example of usage: “With such beautiful weather on Friday, I decided to chuck a sickie and enjoy a three-day weekend.”
Translation: My round!
Explanation: When one person pays for everyone’s drink at the bar. In a group, each person generally takes turn to pay for a round / a shout.
Translation: You bet / Of course / That’s true
Example of usage: “Bloody oat I’m coming to your party!”
He’s gone walkabout
Translation: He’s disappeared / He’s left without saying where he was going
Example of usage: “My keys have gone walkabout!”
Funny and rude Australian sayings and their meaning
I didn’t come here to f*ck spiders
Translation: I don’t want to waste my time
I’m dry as a dead dingos donger
Translation: I’m thirsty (for a beer, most likely)
I could eat the arse out of a low-flying duck
Translation: I’m very hungry
Alternative: I’m hungry enough to eat a horse then chase the jockey!
She could put a horn on a jellyfish
Translation: She’s hot
He’s all sizzle and no steak
Translation: He’s all talk
Explanation: He does not live up to expectations
He’s built like a brick shithouse
Translation: He is a strong, muscular man
She is cross as a frog in a sock
Translation: She’s angry
Alternative: She’s mad a cut snake
Handy as an ashtray on a motorbike
Alternatives: Handy as a back pocket on a singlet / Handy as tits on a bull
He couldn’t organize a booze-up in a brewery
Translation: He’s disorganized
Alternative: He can’t organize a bucket of sand at the beach
Whim wham for a goose’s bridle!
Translation: None of your business!
He’s a bullock short of a deck
Translation: He’s not very bright
Australian-up your vocabulary
How ‘r’ ya going?
Translation: How are you? / How is it going?
Explanation: A casually inquisitive greeting on the state of one’s affairs. More of a pleasantry than a genuine question regarding how you’re actually feeling.
Translation: Hello / Hi
Explanation: The classic Aussie greeting where “good” and “day” compress to form the hybrid word of “G’day”.
Translation: That’s okay
Alternative: No worries / No dramas
Explanation: It’s like saying “take a chill pill,” “you’re welcome,” and “it’s going to be alright” all at the same time. “No wukkas” is a shortening of “No wuckin furries,” which needs no explanation.
That’s heaps good
Translation: That’s really good
Translation: Bathing suit / Swimming costume / Swimwear
Alternatives: Cossies / Swimmers
Translation: Ambulance workers / Paramedics
Explanation: Australians are very fond of shortening words, including profession titles. There is “tradie” for tradesperson, “brickie” for bricklayer, “firie” for fireman, “polly” for politician, “journo” for journalist, “greenie” for environmentalist, “gyno” for gynecologist, etc.
Explanation: You may even get a “pash rash” afterwards
Alternative: Frothies / Grog / Longnecks / Cold ones
Translation: Gas station / Service station
She’ll be right
Translation: She’ll be okay
Translation: Cans of beer
To chuck a U-ey
Translation: To do a U-turn
Alternative: To do a U-bolt
Translation: Girlfriend / Partner / Wife
This article is the combined work of five writers: Will Bowie, Jess Buchan, Lauren White, Stephanie Be, Elke Wakefield, and Kate Beveridge.