Australian phrases

Australians may use English as their main language but don’t count on living in the country without hearing some odd sounding words. As the years have gone by the ‘Aussies’ have adapted the English language to suit their own distinctive needs. Here is a dictionary of the most common and amusing Australian phrases.


Aerial pingpong: Australian Rules football.
Amber fluid: beer.
Ambo: ambulance, ambulance driver.
Ankle biter: small child.
Apples, she’ll be: it’ll be all right.
Arvo: afternoon.
Aussie (pron. Ozzie): Australian.
Aussie salute: brushing away flies with the hand.


Back of Bourke: a very long way away.
Bail out: depart, usually angrily.
Banana bender: a person from Queensland.
Barbie: barbecue (noun).
Barrack: to cheer on.
Bathers: swimming costume.
Beaut, beauty: great, fantastic.
Billy: teapot.
Bingle: motor vehicle accident.
Bities: biting insects.
Bizzo: business.
Bloke: man, guy.
Bloody oath: that’s certainly true.
Blow in the bag: have a breathalyser test.
Blowie: blow fly.
Bludger: lazy person, layabout.
Bonzer: great, ripper.
Booze bus: police vehicle used for catching drunk drivers.
Budgie smugglers: men’s bathing costume.
Bush: the hinterland, the Outback, anywhere that isn’t in town.
Bush telly: campfire.


Cactus: dead, or not functioning.
Cane toad: a person from Queensland.
Captain Cook: look (noun).
Cark it: to die, cease functioning.
Chewier: chewing gum.
Chook: a chicken.
Chuck a sick: take the day off sick from work when you’re perfectly healthy.
Chunder: vomit.
Cockie: cockroach.
Cockroach: a person from New South Wales.
Coldie : a beer.
Come a gutser : make a bad mistake, have an accident.
Compo : Workers’ Compensation pay.
Crack onto (someone) : to hit on someone, pursue someone romantically.
Crow eater: a person from South Australia.
Cubby house: Small, usually timber, house in the garden used as a children’s plaything.
Cut lunch: sandwiches.
Cut lunch commando: army reservist.
Cut snake, mad as a: very angry.


Dag: a funny person, nerd, goof.
Daks: trousers.
Dead dingo’s donger, as dry as a: dry.
Dead horse: Tomato sauce.
Deadset: true, the truth.
Dero: tramp, hobo, homeless person.
Digger: a soldier.
Dill: an idiot.
Dinkum, fair dinkum : true, real, genuine.
Dinky-di : the real thing, genuine.
Dipstick : a loser, idiot.
Divvy van : Police vehicle used for transporting criminals.
Docket: a bill, receipt.
Doco: documentary.
Dog: unattractive woman.
Dole bludger: somebody on social assistance when unjustified.
Doovalacky: used whenever you can’t remember what something is called. Thingummyjig, whatsit.
Down Under: Australia and New Zealand.
Drink with the flies: to drink alone.
Drongo: a dope, stupid person.
Dunny: outside lavatory.


Earbashing: nagging, non-stop chatter.
Exy: expensive.


Face, off one’s: drunk.
Fair dinkum: true, genuine.
Fair go: a chance.
Fair suck of the sav! : exclamation of wonder, awe, disbelief.
Fairy floss: candy floss, cotton candy.
Feral (n.): a hippie.
Fisho: fishmonger.
Flake: shark’s flesh.
Flat out like a lizard drinking: flat out, busy.
Flick: to give something or somebody the flick is to get rid of it or him/her.
Flick it on: to sell something, usually for a quick profit, soon after buying it.
Fly wire: gauze flyscreen covering a window or doorway.
Footy: Australian Rules football.
Frog in a sock, as cross as a: sounding angry – a person or your hard drive.
Fruit loop: fool.
Full: drunken.


G’Day: hello!
Galah: fool, silly person. Named after the bird of the same name because of its antics and the noise it makes.
Give it a burl: try it, have a go.
Going off: used of a night spot or party that is a lot of fun.
Good oil: useful information, a good idea, the truth.
Good on ya: good for you, well done.
Greeni : environmentalist.
Grinning like a shot fox: very happy, smugly satisfied.
Grog: liquor, beer.
Grouse (adj.): great, terrific, very good.
Grundies: undies, underwear (from Reg Grundy, a television person).


Handle: beer glass with a handle.
Heaps: a lot, e.g. “thanks heaps”, “(s) he earned heaps of money” etc.
Holy dooley: an exclamation.
Hoon: hooligan.
Hooroo: goodbye.
Hotel: often just a pub.
Hottie: hot water bottle.


Icy pole, ice block: lollipop.


Joey: baby kangaroo.
Jug: electric kettle.
Jumbuck: sheep.


Kelpie: Australian sheepdog originally bred from Scottish collie.
Kero : kerosene.
Kindie : kindergarten.
Knock : to criticise.
Knock back : refusal.
Knocker: somebody who criticises.


Lair it up: to behave in a brash and vulgar manner.
Larrikin: a bloke who is always enjoying himself, harmless prankster.
Lippy: lipstick.
Liquid laugh: vomit.
Lizard drinking, flat out like a: flat out, busy.
Lob, lob in: drop in to see someone.
Long paddock: the side of the road where livestock is grazed during droughts.
Longneck: 750ml bottle of beer in South Australia.
Lucky Country, The: Australia.
Lurk: illegal or underhanded racket.


Maccas: McDonald’s.
Manchester: Household linen.
Mate: buddy, friend.
Mate’s rate, mate’s discount: cheaper than usual for a friend.
Mexican: a person from south of the Queensland or New South Wales border.
Mickey Mouse: excellent, very good. Beware though – in some parts of Australia it means inconsequential, frivolous or not very good!
Middy: 285 ml beer glass in New South Wales.
Milk bar: corner shop that sells takeaway food.
Milko: milkman.
Mob: group of people, not necessarily troublesome.
Mongrel: despicable person.
Moolah: money.
Mozzie: mosquito.
Muster: round up sheep or cattle.
Mystery bag: a sausage.


Nasho: National Service.
Naughty, have a: have sex.
Never Never: the Outback, centre of Australia.
Nipper: young surf lifesaver.
No worries! : Expression of forgiveness or reassurance.
Not the full quid: not bright intellectually.
Nuddy, in the: naked.


O.S.: overseas.
Ocker: an unsophisticated person.
Offsider: an assistant, helper.
Oldies: parents.
Op shop: opportunity shop, thrift store, place where second hand goods are sold.
Outback: interior of Australia.
Oz: Australia!


Pash: a long passionate kiss.
Perve (noun and verb): looking lustfully at the opposite sex.
Piker: Someone who doesn’t want to fit in with others socially, leaves parties early.
Pink slip, get the: get the sack.
Pint: large glass of beer.
Plonk: cheap wine.
Pokies: poker machines, fruit machines, gambling slot machines.
Polly: politician.
Pom, pommy, pommie: an Englishman.
Pommy shower: using deodorant instead of taking a shower.
Porky: lie, untruth.


Rack off: push off! Get lost!
Rage: party.
Rage on: to continue partying.
Rapt: pleased, delighted.
Ratbag : mild insult.
Reckon! : You bet! Absolutely!
Reffo: refugee.
Rego: vehicle registration.
Rellie or relo: family relative.
Ridgy-didge: original, genuine.
Ripper: great, fantastic.
Ripper, you little: Exclamation of delight or as a reaction to good news.
Road train: big truck with many trailers.
Roadie: a beer you buy to take away with you.
Rock up: to turn up, to arrive.
Roo: kangaroo.
Roo bar: stout bar fixed to the front of a vehicle to protect it against hitting kangaroos (also bull bar).
Ropeable: very angry.
Rotten: drunk.


Salute, Aussie: brushing flies away.
Salvos, the: Salvation Army.
Sandgroper : a person from Western Australia.
Sanger: a sandwich.
Schooner : large beer glass in Queensland; medium beer glass in South Australia.
Scratchy: instant lottery ticket.
Screamer: party lover; somebody who gets drunk on very little alcohol.
Seppo: an American.
Servo: petrol station.
Shag on a rock, stands out like a : very obvious.
Shark biscuit : somebody new to surfing.
Sheila: a woman.
Shit house (noun): toilet, lavatory.
Shoot through: to leave.
Shout: turn to buy – a round of drinks usually.
Show pony: someone who tries hard, by his dress or behaviour, to impress those around him.
Snag: a sausage.
Spewin’: very angry.
Spiffy, pretty spiffy: great, excellent.
Spit the dummy: get very upset at something.
Sprung: caught doing something wrong.
Station : a big farm/grazing property.
Stickybeak : nosy person.
Stoked: very pleased.
Stonkered: beaten, defeated, cornered, perplexed.
Strewth: exclamation, mild oath.
Strides: trousers.
Stubby: a 375ml. beer bottle.
Stubby holder: polystyrene insulated holder for a stubby.
Stuffed, I’ll be: expression of surprise.
Sunbake: sunbathe.
Sunnies: sunglasses.
Swag: rolled up bedding etc. carried by a swagman.
Swagman: tramp.


Tall poppies: successful people.
Tallie: 750ml bottle of beer.
Taswegian: derogatory term for a person from Tasmania.
Technicolor yawn: vomit.
Tee-up: to set up (an appointment).
Thingo: Wadjamacallit, thingummy, whatsit.
Thongs: cheap rubber backless sandals.
Throw-down: small bottle of beer which you can throw down quickly.
Tinny: can of beer.
Tinny, tin-arsed: lucky.
Togs: swim suit.
Too right: Definitely!
Top End: far north of Australia.
Trackie daks/dacks: tracksuit pants.
Trough lolly: the solid piece of perfumed disinfectant in a men’s urinal.
Truckie: truck driver.
True blue: patriotic.
Tucker: food.
Tucker-bag: food bag.


Unit: flat, apartment.
Up oneself: have a high opinion of oneself.
Up somebody, get: to rebuke somebody.
Ute: utility vehicle, pickup truck.


Vedgies: vegetables.
Vee dub: Volkswagen.
Veg out: relax in front of the TV.
Vejjo: vegetarian.


Waggin’ school: playing truant.
Walkabout: a walk in the Outback by Aborigines that lasts for an indefinite amount of time.
Whacker, whacka: an idiot.
White pointers: topless female sunbathers.
Wobbly: excitable behaviour.
Wombat: somebody who eats, roots and leaves.
Woop Woop: invented name for any small unimportant town.
Wowser: straight-laced person, prude, puritan, spoilsport.
Wuss: coward; nervous person or animal.


XXXX: pronounced Four X, brand of beer made in Queensland.


Yabber: talk a lot.
Yakka: work.
Yewy: u-turn in traffic.
Yobbo: an uncouth person.