The Ultimate Guide to Aussie Slang
Anyone who’s spent a considerable time in Australia knows that Australian English is more than just an accent; with so many unique Aussie slang terms and expressions, it’s practically become its own language.
Aussie slang and pronunciation essentially involves making words as short as possible - because who has time to pronounce the entire word? Well, this way of speaking actually originated from the idea that Aussies were speaking through clenched teeth in order to avoid blowies (blow flies) from getting into their mouth. Can you think of anything more Australian?
If you’re planning on visiting Australia or have just arrived, these slang words will help you avoid any confusion upon arrival and get through day to day life. You’ll soon be accustomed to the Aussie-English vocab and be ready to jump right into the ‘Straya lifestyle! (See what I did there?)
You have likely heard this one. As with British English, it means ‘I think’ or having an opinion about something specific (i.e. ‘What do you reckon we head to the beach after class?’).
No, this doesn’t mean a Barbie doll. Meaning ‘barbeque’, this goes with the classic Aussie saying of: “What do ya reckon we throw some shrimp on the Barbie mate?”
How you going?
While Aussies are simply trying to ask how you are, this one makes little sense to me. It’s like they’re trying to combine ‘How are you doing?’ and ‘Where you are going?’— surely it’s one or the other! Nah, the Aussies go by their own rules.
G’day mate! The Aussie version of greeting someone is one of the most well-known sayings associated with the country.
This one will be useful for all those beach barbies, where someone will likely tell you to ‘grab the esky’. Because of the popular Australian Esky brand that sells portable cooler containers, this world means a cooler for drinks and snacks.
In Australia, you will definitely have no shortage of dealing with these pesky insects. Grab the mozzie spray and be on the watch for mosquitos.
While hanging at any popular surf spot, you’ll likely hear the saying “That wave was a ripper!” passed amoung surfers, which means it was epic.
This is probably my favorite Aussie slang word, and I catch myself throwing it around on the daily. Meaning ‘sweet’ or ‘awesome’, the ‘as’ is thrown up at the end of an adjective to give it emphasis. Toss up a shaka with this saying and you’ll definitely be praised by the locals.
Another classic case of Australians shortening everything. Meaning ‘thank you’, ta is usually used for the times when you are in a rush or want to send a quick text to show your appreciation for something.
They call French fries ‘chips’, but they also call potato chips the same thing? Where does the madness end?
Heaps good aye! This means ‘a lot’ or ‘many’.
Hey! What you doing this arvo? Before you get confused, someone is probably just asking you what you are up to this ‘afternoon’. Spending a beautiful Sunday arvo on the beach with a bevvy (beverage) is an Australian staple.
Don’t be caught whinging while you’re in a country as beautiful as Australia! Instead of ‘whining’, make the most of your time in the land of Oz.
Grab your bathers before you head to the beach! Equivalents include: bathing suit, bikini, swimsuit, etc.
Don’t be a blunger! Those associated with this word are generally lazy people who constantly rely on others.
If you're headed to the bush, make sure you are equipped with plenty of mozzie spray and sun cream. That is, whenever you visit the outback or generally any secluded, forested area.
I’m sure you'll be knocking back a few coldies during your time in Australia. Short form for ‘cold one’, this Aussie slang word simply means having a few cold beers with mates.
Feeling absolutely devo’d by your exam score? No need to feel ‘devastated’, throw back some coldies with a few mates!
Ah, goon in Australia—the two truly go hand in hand. This cheap (seriously, A$15 for 4L), boxed wine will surely become a staple of your nights out.
This means any type of candy or sweets. But wait, what do they call lollypops then?
Meaning ‘no worries’—this is basically the Aussie’s motto for life!
After returning to Canada following a year abroad in Australia, I continued to say this on the daily. ‘Sunglasses’ is simply too hard of a word to say.
And our final Aussie slang word is definitely one that could lead to an awkward situation if you weren’t familiar with it - don’t be alarmed if your Aussie friend asks you wear thongs to the beach. Grab your ‘flip flops’ in order to avoid the hot sand on your feet.
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This article was originally published in June 2018 . It was last updated in September 2021