The 20 Aussie slang words you need to know
Australians are overwhelmingly casual in their approach to language. Many of the oldest pieces of Aussie slang are simple truncations of common phrases, and any word more than two syllables is fair game to be shortened – even on the fly. Below, we've laid out some of the most common phrases to look out for and even incorporate in your own speech...
Arvo(Noun) Abbreviation of ‘afternoon’. See also: devo (devastated), servo (service station), avo (avocado), ambo (ambulance personnel) etc.
“I bumped into Johnno at the servo this arvo.”
Barbie(Noun) Abbreviation of ‘barbecue’; seldom used in the same sentence as ‘shrimp’ (which isn't a word Australians use at all, by the way!).
“Let’s defo have a barbie this arvo.”
Bathers(Noun) A swimsuit; also ‘togs’ in Queensland and ‘swimmers’ or ‘cossie’ (abbr. of ‘swimming costume’) in New South Wales.
“Oh no, I've spilled grog on my* bathers.”
*Bonus points if the 'my' is pronounced as 'me'
Picturing yourself relaxing by this pool? It's Byron Bay YHA
Bloody(Adverb/adjective) An expression of emphasis, particularly in anger. See also: heaps (as in 'very' – a more positive alternative).
“Oh no, I’ve gone and bloody lost the keys to the ute”
Bludger(Noun) A lazy person.
“I’m running around like a headless chook organising this bloody barbie, and Johnno’s just sitting there like a bludger!”
Bogan(Noun) An uncouth or uncultured person, usually. See also: feral, ratbag, reptile, bevan etc.
“I can’t understand that bogan’s broad Australian accent.”
Bottle-o(Noun) Abbreviation of ‘bottle shop’, a store that sells alcohol.
“Geez, there’s a lot of bogans at the bottle-o.”
Bugger(Noun/verb/adjective) A mild profanity that’s also one of the most versatile words in Australian English.
Exclamation; “Bugger! I dropped some more avo on myself.”
A term of sympathy; “Look at that poor bugger with avo all over his bathers.”
Tired, broken or ruined; “These bathers are buggered now.”
An annoying thing; “These avo-stained bathers a bit of a bugger.”
An impolite instruction; “Bugger off and change into some clean bathers.”
Choccy bikky(Noun) Abbreviation of ‘chocolate biscuit’. See also: sunnies (sunglasses), undies (underwear), Crissie pressie (Christmas present) etc.
“I’m going to put my feet up this arvo with a cuppa and a choccy bikky.”
Fair dinkum(Adjective) An expression used to emphasise truth or veracity.
“That choccy bikky tasted fair dinkum unbelievable.”
Footy(Noun) Abbreviation of football; Australia’s favourite pastime*.
“Should we invite Johnno around to watch the footy this arvo?”
*Note: whether this refers to Aussie rules, rugby or less commonly, association football, is still up for debate.
Galah(Noun) A stupid or idiotic person; often accompanied by the adjective ‘flaming’. Inspired by our very own native bird, known for flying into windows.
“Nah mate, Johnno’s a flamin’ galah.”
Goon(Noun) Cheap wine sold in large cartons.
“Two types of people drink goon: bogans and backpackers.”
Maccas(Noun) McDonalds, a popular purveyor of fast food. See also: ‘Dirty Bird’ (KFC).
“Let’s pop into Maccas after the footy.”
Mate(Noun) Friend; used in a variety of different contexts.
Addressing an actual friend: “G’day, mate.”
Addressing an enemy: “Listen here, mate…”
Expression of congratulations: “Maaate!”
Expression of indignation: “Aw, mate…”
Expression of surprise: “Mate!”
Expression of scepticism: “Maaate…”
Check out the local beaches near Coolangatta YHA with your best mate.
Shout(Noun) A round of drinks at a bar; nothing to do with raising one’s voice.
“It’s Johnno’s shout, the bludger.”
Snag(Noun) Sausage – a cylinder of processed meat that represents Australia’s richest culinary tradition.
“I asked Johnno to pick up some snags for the barbie this arvo, but the flamin' galah forgot.”
Thongs(Noun) Sandals or ‘flip-flops’, wedged between one’s toes... rather than one’s posterior.
“Bogans always wear thongs, even to a funeral.”
U-ey(Noun) (Pronounced: yoo-ee) A U-turn; changing the direction of a vehicle 180 degrees.
“Chuck a u-ey” (i.e. “Perform a U-turn”).
Woop Woop(Noun) The remote outback, or 'middle of nowhere'
“If this galah doesn’t chuck a u-ey soon we’re going to end up in Woop Woop.”
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