Teach me how to Aussie

The Australian Slang Guide

March 29, 2017

If you have been travelling around the world for any length of time now, you have probably met at least a couple of Aussies on your journey. After all, we are an excitable, social bunch with a pretty big case of the travel bug! If this rings true for you, you may have had a bit of a hard time understanding us at times!

While our national language is English, we have developed our own set of slang and colloquialisms over time and thus, an Australian, Aussie or sometimes referred to as “Strayan” language was formed. In a land of kangaroos, beaches and Vegemite our own uniqueness may be a point of confusion for some.

You may be too young to remember, but I am sure you are familiar with a phrase that is very often associated with the Australian language. In 1984, Paul Hogan AKA Crocodile Dundee enticed the North American viewers in a tourism advertisement with “I’ll slip another shrimp on the barbie” if they visited Australia. Over time this has changed to “Throw another shrimp on the barbie”. This phrase has stuck, for better or worse when people think of Australia!

Whilst the above may be an example of something we don’t actually say, here are some examples of Australian slang you will probably hear on your travels around the world and more importantly if you ever decide to visit the Land Down Under!

Mate: Lets start off with something easy. Mate is thrown around a lot in the Aussie vernacular. Most commonly used to address friends but can also be used when annoyed or angry at someone who is not exactly your “mate.”

G’day: Good day fellow mate.

Howya’ Going: How are you doing? Depending on who you are talking to and where they are from in Australia, this may also sound like Howyagarn! We like to speak quickly and forget about the ever important spaces between words.

Yeah, nah: Good point but, no.

Aussie quote #1

''Never complain, never explain!''

- Personal motto of Kerry Packer, billionaire

Bloody Oath or Blood Oath: Totally agree with you there friend, good point!

Grouse: Not to be confused with Grouse Mountain, BC. Grouse can be said when something or someone is really impressive.

Your shout: It is probably your turn to buy the next round of drinks at the bar.

Goon Bag: A cheap bag of usually low quality wine in a cardboard box.

Grog: Alcohol, which you will find located at the Bottle-o. Confused? See below!

Bottle-o: Bottle shop or liquor store.

Mozzie: Mosquito.

Sickie: To pull a sickie is to not go to work because you are pretending to be sick, or are actually sick.

Ta: Thank you!

Bugger: When something happens that you aren’t happy with. Can also be used as “I can’t be buggered” which means; I can’t be bothered.

Togs, Cozzie: Swim suit, depending where you are from in Australia. Budgie Smugglers: Also in reference to a swim suit, worn by men, of the speedo variety.

She’ll be right mate: To reassure a friend that the situation will turn out alright in the end.

Heaps: Means a lot. We say this heaps.

Flat out: You are, or have been really busy working.

Doona: Duvet.

Pull ya head in: Now hopefully you won’t hear this one too often because it probably means that you are having an argument with someone and you may be being unreasonable.

Thongs and/or pluggers: Flip Flops! I know, its confusing but it has nothing to do with ladies underwear or plumbing!

Cab Sav: Cabernet Sauvignon - because we like to abbreviate…everything!

Aussie quote #2

 ''It's dead easy to die; it's the keeping on living that's hard''

- Douglas Mawson, scientist and polar survivor

Sanga: Sandwich.

Tinny: Can of beer.

Snag: Sausage.

Prawn: Shrimp. Contrary to what Crocodile Dundee would have you believe, we don’t say shrimp, we say prawn.

Barbie: Barbecue. You are more likely to hear an Australian say “throw another snag on the barbie” rather than “throw another shrimp on the barbie.” In addition to this list of Aussie slang it should be noted that we have a tendencies to shorten a lot of our words with the suffix “o”.

Here are a few examples,

Arvo: Afternoon.

Servo: Service station or gas station.

Smoko: Morning or lunch break. Example: “In the arvo I’m gonna go to the servo and pick up a sanga for smoko.”

So while you may be left scratching your head after having a conversation with an Aussie for the first couple of times, hopefully this non-exhaustive list of some of the slang we use gives you a better understanding on how to speak “strayan”!

Aussie quote #3 

''May as well be here we are as where we are''

- Australian Aboriginal saying

You may also like to read

10 ways to travel more sustainably

Environmentally friendly travel is possible.

October 19, 2018

How a summer friendship unexpectedly led to my relocation to South America

I didn’t know it at the time, but meeting Mirella changed my life forever.

October 19, 2018

11 essential things to pack for a Canadian adventure

Backpacking in Canada, eh?

October 09, 2018