Australian Slang
Speaking Like An Aussie

(We don't want to offend anyone with a sensitive nature so please be aware that the Australian slang page contains some swear words.)

AdsPayPro - Instant Realtime Revenue Sharing!
Cartoon Aussie Crocodile Holding A Sign That Says 'G'Day Mate Welcome To Australian Slang

Australian slang has a unique flavour to it ..... Strewth mate, fair dinkum you might say!

English is the main language of Australia but for the first time visitor or uninitiated you could be forgiven for thinking you'd come across an entirely new language.

Then, of course, you have the Australian accent to contend with; most of us don't even think we've got an accent but enough people from overseas have told us we do so obviously we must have one (I suppose everyone feels like they don't have an accent).

Cartoon Australian Kangarooa

Of course some Australian slang comes from other parts of the world, in particular England and Ireland from the convicts transported to Australia in the time of European settlement, but sometimes it can now mean something completely different here than it does over there; so it might have started out meaning a certain thing in good ol' blighty but it's grown into something totally different here.

Most of us, even in large cosmopolitan cities speak a lot of Australian slang which can be very confusing for some visitors.

Understanding the different types of Australian slang and how to learn them will help you to start speaking like an "Aussie".

There are so many examples of slang found in everyday speech that we hardly know where to begin, so we'll give you just a few of the most common.

Australian Cartoon Platypus Waving
  • G'day, this means hello
  • 'ow ya goin? means how are you?

  • Mate, is a good friend, or a lot of Aussies just use all the time..... I'm one of them!
  • No worries, this is an expression to reassure or forgive, no drama's, you're welcome .... it's not a problem.... it's OK.
  • Fair dinkum, means really, anything that is genuine or real; it can also indicate amazement, like "fair dinkum mate she threw you out!"
  • Cheers, means goodbye, thanks, appreciate it.... I actually use this a lot too, at the end of e-mails and so on...

To put them all together; G'day mate 'ow ya going, look I spoke to the blokes and it's no worries about doing that job for ya tomorrow and don't worry we'll be fair dinkum about everything! Cheers mate see ya tomorrow.

Australian slang also consists of shortened words or altered word endings too because Aussie's love to do that.

    Cartoon Australian Animals At An Aussie Barbie
  • Barbie' for example means barbecue; "Everyone's going around to Jack's this weekend for a barbie, it's byo (Bring your own)".
  • 'Arvo' for afternoon: "We're all popping down the beach this arvo for a swim"
  • Blowie means blowfly; "Would ya get a gecko (look) at that bloody big blowie lurking around!"
  • 'Ambo' for ambulance or the paramedic in the ambulance; "Bloody hell me mate's fallen over and banged his bloody big boofhead and needs an ambo real quick"
  • 'Derro' is a derelict person: "Just stay away from that bastard he's nothing but a bloody derro"
  • 'Journo' is a journalist; "Let's get the hell outta here before all the nosey journo's show up and stick their bloody camera's in our face"
  • While Maccas which is pronounced "mackers" is for McDonald's (the hamburger place) and so on.

There's a few sayings that come under the heading "You know you're Australian if".... This is one of them below

Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Macca'a.

Translation Darren and Sharon played (on the stereo or ipod) AC/DC (the rock group) in the car on the way to McDonalds.

Cartoon Australian Echidna Pointing

Australian slang has quite a few opposites in it too; we use these to describe people sometimes.

  • Like Bluey is a red-headed person.
  • Slim can be used to refer to a bigger person.
  • Stretch for a short person.
  • Shorty for a tall person.
  • Rowdy for a quiet person.
  • Curly for a bald person.

Then there's rhyming Australian slang. This is where words are substituted in a way so that they rhyme with the correct word, even though to a non speaking Australian the words themselves bear no relation to what is being said.

Cartoon Australian Frog On A Road With A Suitcase

Some examples of rhyming Australian slang.

  • Septic tank is a yank or American.
  • Frog and toad is the road.
  • Pat Malone means to be alone.
  • Billy lids or tin lids is for kids.
  • Captain Cook is to have a look.
  • Porky pie is a lie.

And there are lots of phrases or idioms which have a totally different meaning to what's actually being said or what you think something should mean.

A few of the more common ones you might hear include.

    Cartoon Australian Kangaroo Giving The Thumbs Up Sign
  • 'She'll be right', that's for 'everything will be ok'.
  • 'Have a lend of' is to take advantage of somebody's gullibility.
  • 'Fair suck of the sav!' That's an exclamation of wonder, awe or disbelief.
  • 'Dry as a dead dingo's donger' meaning very dry! (A donger is a penis)
  • 'Not the full quid' is for not bright intellectually.
  • 'Oona Woop Woop or just Woop Woop means a long way away, very far, a remote place.

To put them together; "Fair suck of the sav mate you're obviously trying to have a lend of me or ya think I'm not the full quid this is a pub so ya gotta serve beers here and I've come from Oona Woop Woop so I'm as dry as a dead dingo's donger and I want a nice cold one now!"

Then, of course, there's the intonation used with Australian slang. Depending on how a word is said can carry its whole meaning.

There are so many ways that one word can be used in different ways with different tones and sometimes it can be very subtle so not easy for a lot of visitors to distinguish what is meant by it.

    Cartoon Mates Kangaroo, Koala And Wombat Sharing A Billy Tea And Damper Around A Fire
  • Someone can be called (mate) 'you old bastard', and that's mostly a good thing; "G'day mate you old bastard, long time no see."
  • Then there's (dirty) 'old bastard', and that's mostly a bad thing; 'There's that dirty old bastard we saw the other day."
  • You bloody (cheating) 'old bastard' could be bad or good depending on who's saying it and in what manner! If it's a mate it's probably ok but if it's a copper (police officer) it's probably gonna turn out to be bad for you!
  • Or then there's (sneaky) 'bastard' which is mostly bad but could be good; Bad...."Get outta my bloody yard you sneaky bastard"..... Good..... "Bloody hell I can't believe you pulled it off you sneaky bastard!"

Now some of the other words and sayings in Australian slang that may confuse you include.

    Cartoon Australian Snake
  • Mad as a cut snake: angry, furious, has a reputation of being a bit crazy; "Don't go near that bastard he's mad as a cut snake"
  • Give it a burl: try it, have a go. "Go on give it a burl ya bloody sissy!
  • As full as a boot; drunk, pissed, blind or wasted on alcohol; "Look at that wasted bastard over there, he's as full as a boot"
  • Piece of piss: it's an easy task; "Oh ya want me to pick ya up after work? Piece of piss mate"
  • Come a gutser: make a bad mistake, have an accident; "Yeah mate I was ridin' my bike, f*cked up and come a gutser, broke my arm but no worries she'll be right"
  • Deadset: true, the truth; "deadset you won money on the pokies (poker machines) ya lucky bastard"
  • Pig's arse!: a lie, or I don't agree with you; "Pig's arse mate, politicians aren't honest!"
  • Cartoon Australian Lizard Flatout On A Pool Chair Drinking

  • Flat out like a lizard drinking: flat out, very busy; "No way I can get there today mate, I'm flat out like a lizard drinking all day"
  • Fit as a mallee bull: very fit and strong; "Check out how strong that bloke is, he must be fit as a mallee bull"
  • A stunned mullet: dazed and confused; "look at that bloke he's wandering around like a stunned mullet"
  • Dead as a maggot: lifeless, still, not moving; "bloody hell Bill must of had a bit to drink he's dead as a maggot"
  • That'd be right!: Accepting that bad news is inevitable; "I got told I didn't get that job and I thought that'd be right"
Australian Cartoon Koala Holding An Aussie Flag

It can be quite difficult to learn Australian slang. The best way, of course, is to spend some time in Australia and pick it up as you go.

But you might want to give yourself a bit of a jump start before you wade into Aussie lingo cold mate and buy an Australian slang book; there are a number of books you can buy that will help you get your head around Aussie slang before you have to tackle it yourself.

buying books online is usually a lot cheaper and easier than going out into the shops and trying to hunt down what you're looking for, plus they're usually delivered within a few days right to your door.

And why not make a special note of any words and phrases that will be most useful to you.

When you get here you could try writing the words or expressions down that you don't get and just make a note about the context in which you heard it, that'll give you a clue about the meaning.

You can always ask an Aussie, just to see if you have the expression written correctly and whether it is a polite expression to use, which could save you some embarrassment later.

Anyway give it a burl, hang on in there and before you know it, you'll be using Australian slang like a fair dinkum Aussie, I'll give you the drum.

Follow Us

YouTube IconTwitter IconFacebook Icon