Common Australian Slang, Sayings and Meanings

By  |  28 Comments

one of my absolute favorite things about being in australia was all of the different sayings and australian slang they use! i totally felt like nancy drew, the teenage sleuth, trying to figure out what everything meant. i figured i would share with you the most common australian slang, sayings and meanings so that you can be adequately prepared for when you visit “the land down under!”

Australian Slang Sayings and Meanings

thanks to everyone i met along the way of giving me the translations when i couldn’t figure it out and for our fabulous hosts mark and robyn for spending the last part of our journey in the car racking your brains to think of them!

i also discovered that australians love to shorten things or add “-o” or “-ie” to the end of things, which made all conversations super fun to listen to.

without further adieu…

  • ”  ‘stralia” = the correct pronunciation of australia
  • “aussie/ozzey” = spelled aussie but pronounced “ozzey”
  • “g’day mate” = common greeting of hello
  • “no dramas” = no worries/no big deal
  • “how ya going” = how are you? (very common way people say when greeting you)
  • “true blue aussie” = thorough australian person
  • “pearla” = something really good
  • “dunny” = bathroom
  • “give it a red hot go” = try something with your all
  • “ta” = thank you or “okay”
  • “slab” = a case of beer
  • “have a go ya mug” = try harder
  • “crikey!” = surprise
  • “pash” = a big long kiss
  • “snogging” = kissing
  • “maccas” = mcdonald’s
  • “chockers” = very full
  • “ute” = a utility vehicle
  • “arvo” = afternoon
  • “mate” = friend
  • “sheila” = woman
  • “bloke” = man
  • “bathers” = swimming suit
  • “thongs” = flip flops
  • “frock” = dress
  • “budgy smuggler” = a speedo!
  • “glad rags” = your good clothes
  • “queue” = a line
  • “chook” = chicken
  • “barbie” = barbecue
  • “bickie” = a cookie (they call them biscuits here and shorten it to bickie”
  • australian slang and sayings“cuppa” = cup of tea
  • “sanger” = sandwich
  • “brekkie” = breakfast
  • “tucker” = food
  • “paddock” = field
  • “rug up” = to put a jacket on
  • “ridgy-didge” = an original idea
  • “fair dinkum” = being honest, genuine
  • “cop shop” = a police station
  • “smoko” = to take a break (originated from cigarette break but now used even when not smoking)
  • “salvos” = salvation army
  • “postie” = postal worker
  • “bonza” = a great time
  • “chemist” = pharmacist
  • IMG_2189“park a curbside quiche” = vomit (this is my least favorite but i did laugh and now i can’t have quiche for a while)
  • “that car is flash” = that car is fancy
  • “crook as dog” or “feeling a bit crook” = feeling sick
  • “stone the crows” = astonishment
  • “like a possum up a gum tree” = moving fast
  • “have tickets on yourself” = conceited
  • “fair crack of the whip” = ease up
  • “stone the faming crows!” = “i can’t believe it!”
  • “no bloody way” = can’t believe it or won’t do it
  • “she fell off the perch” = a way of saying someone died
  • “thick as a brick” = stupid
  • “as useless as an ashtray on a motorbike” = useless
  • “few snags short of a barbie” = dumb
  • “thick as two short planks” = stupid
  • “chuck a wobbly” = go crazy
  • “she’ll be right” = she OR he will be okay
  • “she’ll be jake” = she OR he will be alright
  • “he’s camp” = “he’s gay”
  • “AC/DC sometimes pronounced ‘acca-dacca’ ” = reference to the band OR being bisexual
  • “crooked as a dog’s hind leg” = a thief
  • “dry as a dead dingo’s donger” = very hot and dry outside
  • “more money than a bull can shit” = a lot, usually used in terms of money
  • “wow they charged like a wounded bull!” = overcharging for something or expensive
  • “gray ghost” = the parking meter inspector, who is always dressed in gray
  • “gray nomad” = an older person who is retired and travels around
  • “going on walkabout” = from what aboriginals do, means going to find yourself typically through traveling the bush in australia
  • “don’t come the raw prawn with me” = don’t give me any BS!
  • “piss off mate” = go away ya jerk
  • australian slang and sayings gday mate“good on ya mate” = well done friend
  • “thunder box” = an outhouse
  • “ugly as a hat full of assholes” = not the prettiest
  • “face like a dropped pie” = ugly
  • “it’s your shout” = it’s your turn to buy a round of drinks
  • “root” = sex (americans love to say “we are rooted in our values or root for our team!” don’t use this here)
  • “furphy” = rumor
  • “stoked” = excited
  • “crack a sad” = get upset
  • “i’ll put my skates on” = get somewhere fast
  • “no wucking furries” = no worries
  • “a kangaroo loose in the top paddock” = someone who is a little crazy or not all there in head
  • IMG_3692

which one was your favorite? any to add to the list?


  1. Melinda

    June 8, 2015 at 6:55 am

    ‘Bonking’ in Aussie terms means having sex, so I always have a chuckle when reading American running articles/websites that refer to bonking on a run (meaning to hit the wall, completely run out of energy).
    Melinda recently posted…3 Public Speaking Myths and Bad Advice

    • chelsea

      June 8, 2015 at 7:10 pm

      ohhh i didn’t catch ‘bonking’ and that is hilarious, especially when used in examples of running! that would take some extra special coordination? haha

  2. Karen

    June 8, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Great list ! I like crickey, feeling crook and dinky Di Aussie! You could definately blend right as an Aussie learning all that in such a short space of time!

    • chelsea

      June 8, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      dinki di aussie! what does that one mean?! love it. i already want to go back, what a fun place you hail from karen 🙂

      • Paul Browning

        June 8, 2015 at 10:56 pm

        It’s actually crikey. As in bikie. Usually followed by an exclamation mark! Dinki di means anything true blue or fair dinkum 🙂

        • chelsea

          June 10, 2015 at 8:12 am

          changing the spelling now – thanks paul 🙂 dinki di will be added to the list thank you 🙂

  3. Martin

    June 8, 2015 at 7:55 am

    “Durrie” = cigarette
    “Bundy” = (Bundaberg) Rum
    “Boondie” = rock that you throw (at bogans)
    “Bogan” = Lower working class bloke
    “Dag” = likable bloke who is socially eccentric
    “Have a slash” = to pee
    “Doona” = duvet or quilt
    “Tinnie” = can of beer or a small runabout dinghy
    “Barry Crocker” = shocker
    “Dead Horse” = (tomato) sauce

    • chelsea

      June 8, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      woohooo! more to add to the list! thanks martin! i didn’t catch these ones but they are good

  4. Beki

    June 8, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Fair dinkum. What the heck haha most of them I can logically see where they came from…but not that one. So it’s my fave. Gotta figure out how to start using it daily…

    • chelsea

      June 8, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      i have NO idea where that one comes from but i will now only refer to you as my friend the beki, the chemist (and runner)

  5. Pech

    June 8, 2015 at 9:03 am

    What a fun compilation and love the description of you feeling like Nancy Drew! Australia is on my dream list of vacations and I’ll have to bookmark this handy list for that future trip. I love the no dramas line, or crack a sad, but how did a phrase like the curbside quiche I wonder get popularized…
    Pech recently posted…PDX Beer Week 2015 and other Drink Festivals of June

    • chelsea

      June 8, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      you will absolutely LOVE australia when you go, pech! we had such a fantastic time, more posts about our adventures soon. i have no idea how the curbside quiche caught on but it’s graphic and gross!

  6. Elyse

    June 8, 2015 at 9:58 am

    I’ve heard of some of these, but some were new to me. I love “pash” and “chockers”. I’m going to definitely start using them!
    Elyse recently posted…Liebster Award!

    • chelsea

      June 8, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      haha aren’t those ones great, elyse! i love chockers too and i’m going to start calling the bathroom the ‘dunny’ 🙂

  7. Faith

    June 8, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Oh my gosh .. lol. These were hilarious! I feel like I’ve been to ” ‘stralia ” now. ha!
    Faith recently posted…Meet Kenja

    • chelsea

      June 8, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      haha good use of ‘stralia’ faith! aren’t some of these just too good!? i loved listening to people talk while we were there 🙂

  8. Vivien

    June 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks chelsea! Quite interesting to see such a detailed list, and how some of those sayings feel more familiar than others!

    I can’t stop laughing at the “no wucking furries”; I would be fearful of trying to use that one. Knowing me, I would likely (and very unfortunately) get tongue tied and mix ’em up!
    Vivien recently posted…Reaching Deep, Being Brave

    • chelsea

      June 8, 2015 at 7:16 pm

      i was absolutely fascinated by it all! i kept a running list on my phone in the ‘notes’ section and would add to it when i heard things along the way. i am sort of nervous to use ‘no wucking furries’ either but it’s so fun to say 🙂

  9. Melissa C

    June 8, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    omg I’m dying. It’s official… I NEED TO GO THERE! My cousin lives just north of Queensland (I believe… unless he’s moved again and didn’t tell me) and this is alll soooo accurate! LOL. I had never heard the root one though. lol.
    Melissa C recently posted…When Communities Give Back

    • chelsea

      June 8, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      ohhhh it sounds like your cousin needs you to go visit him SOON melissa! you would have such bonza of a time 🙂 the root one was cracking me up! i’m glad i learned that before i gave my speech because i definitely had in there “my definition of success was originally rooted in social worke” #awkward.

  10. Kim

    June 8, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    I wonder how Heather would answer. We are going through the translation of baby things right now.

    Cot = Crib
    Pram = Stroller
    Nappies = Diapers

    Those are just the ones I remember, but there are bunches of differences.
    Kim recently posted…Presentation Coaching for the Left-Brained

    • chelsea

      June 10, 2015 at 8:11 am

      ohhh a pram! i haven’t heard of that one! i bet it’s a whole new world adding that grandbaby 🙂
      chelsea recently posted…Married Life Chats Volume IV

  11. Courtney {Alkeks Abroad}

    June 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I learned about root the hard way- when I posted a fb status tagging an Aussie friend saying we were at the bar rooting for our favorite team.
    Courtney {Alkeks Abroad} recently posted…10 Things You Don’t Know About the Sydney Opera House

  12. Diana

    June 10, 2015 at 6:34 am

    I find it so fascinating how even though we speak technically the same language, the colloquial dialog can be so different. With all that slang, you probably were scratching your head constantly!
    Diana recently posted…Accepting My Curly Hair

  13. Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties

    June 10, 2015 at 11:38 am

    this is great!! I’m going to start calling them “ridgey-didges” when I come up with ideas 🙂 and hahaha ew to the quiche one! and bahah I like your explanation for “ugly as a hat full of assholes”
    Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties recently posted…Why do we make budgeting harder than it needs to be?

    • chelsea

      June 11, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      haha YES, that’s a ridgy didge idea you had just now and i’m going to do it too!

  14. Amanda

    June 30, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    “budgy smuggler” HAHAHA.

    • chelsea

      July 3, 2015 at 7:50 am

      haha i’m so glad you like that one! it was killing us when we were heard it. apparently a budgy is a type of bird there and they used to smuggle them out of the country in underwear so that’s what wearing a speedo looks like!? hilarious.