If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time down unda, it’s that Aussies are as relaxed with their language as they are about life. Abbreviations and shortcuts are everything. Australian speak is far beyond just a sexy accent, and can easily leave both English speakers and foreigners perplexed. “Strine“ is characterized by making words as short as possible. There are mixed stories of the origins, ranging from the drunken slur of convicts to the need to speak through clenched teeth to avoid blow flies entering the mouth. But cut any word in half and add an O, A, E or Y and you’re speaking Aussie English.
Adapting the expressions of Straya will lower your stress levels and help you gain the characteristically chilled out Aussie perspective. Let’s give ‘er a go!
1. No worries
Explains the laid back, carefree Aussie lifestyle in a nutshell. Used as an expression of forgiveness or reassurance in response to Thank you or I’m sorry. No Worries can mean Don’t Worry About It, That’s All Right or Sure Thing. Aussies find the phrase You’re Welcome is far too formal.
“Dave just cut his thumb off using the oxy” – “No worries – is he still coming up the pub later?”
See also: No dramas, You’re alright, She’ll be apples, She’ll be right
Describes something that’s a little bit naughty or mischievous, kind of sly, but in a good-natured way.
“A cheeky Sunday arvo bevy” = “Do you want to slip away for a few beers and a quick chat, even if there might be other things we should/could be doing.”
Used far more frequently than friend, typically between men. It is common to call taxi drivers, colleagues (workmates), and people which you have no relationship with whatsoever, mate.
This term of endearment represents a feeling of friendliness, good humour and equality in Australian culture. Regardless of social and economic hierarchies, the basic principle of Australian society is that no one is better than anyone else. If you accidentally bump into someone, the other person will likely say “sorry mate” even though it may have been your fault.
Also: Maaaate has many variations in use… to express excitement, disbelief, disagreement, etc.
4. Sweet as
Something is really good, sweet, awesome. Can be used with any adjective – (Hungry as, tired as, grumpy as, lovely as…) The point being, you mentally fill in how great something was.
“The bloody surf was sweet as today!”
5. My shout
My turn to buy a round of drinks to for the group. This practice is very common over buying only for yourself. There is no every man for himself here, Aussies are all about mateship!
6. Chuck a sickie
To skip work without actually being sick. 10 annual sick days gives you the ability to take advantage almost once a month. Killer hangover? Do this.
7. Can’t be bothered
I could do that, but no, I don’t think I will, just because I don’t feel like it. Use if you’re feeling tired, lazy, or not in the mood. Kills sex every time!
Interested, excited, willing, all about someone or something.
“Are you keen on that rig of a woman you’re dating?”
Thank you, You’re Welcome, Goodbye, Cheers (a toast to social drinks), signing off your email. Yep, it’s that interchangeable.
Also very versatile. Pissing down = raining hard, On the piss/piss up = a get together with friends to drink alcohol, Pissing about = doing nothing, To Piss = to urinate, Pissed off = angry, Take a piss at = To make fun of, Piece of piss = an easy task.
Oz/Straya = Australia, Uni = College, Arvo = Afternoon, Maccas = McDonald’s, Footy = Football, Brekkie = Breakfast, Barbie = Barbeque, Tradie = Tradesman, Chewie = Gum, Cuppa = Cup of tea, Vego = Vegetarian, Chrissy Prezzie = Christmas present, Swimming costume = Cozzie, Brolly = Umbrella, Exy = Expensive
The list goes on and on and on…
“I’m going home for the holidays this year” – “Oh, when?” To Aussies, every time you take off work is a holiday, not just Christmas time.
Thank you. Can we make it any easier?
Similar to a redneck, a person lacking in class or taste, comes from an unsophisticated background, or whose speech, clothing, or behaviours exemplify a lack of manners and education.
Also: Used in jest with friends for someone whose actions you don’t appreciate or is uncultured. Australians are fond of making fun of themselves and others in a jestful way; thus many times you need to pay attention to the context and tone of voice used. It’s not uncommon to be called worse things by your friends than by your enemies. This dry sense of humour can be tricky to navigate as an expat, but I am slowly picking up on the sarcasm.
Opposite: Wanker: Insult, said in dislike of someone, usually of someone of middle to upper class acting in a way you don’t like
15. Flat out
Also: Stuffed, Snowed Under, Flat out like a lizard drinking
16. Yeah, na
Yes. When you kind of understand what the other person is saying but don’t quite or don’t really care.
16.5. Na, yeah
No, I don’t know what you’re saying, but yeah you could be right. I agree with your negative statement, so I will exclaim in a negative way, and then I will give a positive reaction that I agree. Confused yet?
Chat that is playful, intelligent and original. Banter is something you either posses or lack, there is no middle ground.
18. Gap year
Taking a year off in between university and entering the workforce (or a break from your current job). Not really a thing in America…Work/life balance in Oz is almost as good as Europe.
Also: Long service leave: Your workplace is required to grant you 9-13 weeks leave after 10 years with them.
Career break: A period of time during which one chooses not to work, typically in order to bring up one’s children, travel or pursue other interests. Companies are required to provide you with a similar role at an equivalent salary upon your return.
19. True blue
Genuine, loyal and honest, the “real thing” The color blue represents loyalty and truth. A True Blue Aussie displays the Aussie ideals of a fair go for all, mateship, having a go, and solving problems.
Lots, very (not in a physical sense like heaps of laundry)
“That party was heaps wild last night.”
A long, passionate makeout session.
Lazy person, slacker. Typically seen mucking (fooling) around at work.
24. Up yourself
A snob or narcissist; someone who really loves themselves.
All he does is post selfies, he’s so up himself.
Very full (of food, crowded with people, etc)
24. How ya going?
This simply means, How are you? The adjective “going” refers to the act of being alive or existing, not public transport. So, the person is actually asking how you are feeling or how your day is/was.
Also: Buggered, Knackered, Rooted
28. Full on
A person or experience very serious, passionate, intense, involved, complicated, or extreme.
The party got a bit full on when those rando turned up with all those drugs.
He told me he loved me…I’ve only known him three weeks so it was all a bit full on.
29. Fair go
A fighting chance, give someone a break, let them have a try. Aussie value a “fair go” with the rights to welfare and housing to make the country fair and equal
Mate, you didn’t even give me a fair go. How f*cked is that?
30. Switched on
Intelligent, in the know.
31. Good onya
Well done, good job. A way to show approval or congratulations. It can also be used sarcastically, ie. when you want to be a little mean, but don’t want to actually utter a mean word.
Positive: Good on ya, mate. You really aced that exam! Sarcastic: You broke a surf board again. Good on ya, mate.
Great, fantastic. Pronounced “rippa”.
Also: Bonzer, beaut, tippy-tops, grouse
Think, You bet! Absolutely!
Your shout or mine? What’ ya reckon?
34. You’re fucked
You’re hilarious, you’re drunk, you’re a moron, you’re a legend, you’re in trouble, you’re twisted, you’re brilliant.
35. Bloody hell
An expression of anger, frustration or surprise.
Bloody hell! My team lost again!
Also: Placed before a verb to add emphasis to a sentence. What the bloody hell are you doing here? or Bloody Oath! means That’s certainly true!
Aussie words we should avoid
Thongs: They will cringe if you say flip-flops. But to us, thongs belong on your butt, not your feet.
Rubber: An eraser, not a condom. See also: franger.
Root: Sex. An HJ is a wristie. A BJ is a gobbie… ew.
Toilet: Rather than ask for the bathroom or restroom, they simply ask for the physical toilet. Seems a tad dirty to me. Also: Loo, dunny.
The C-word: Okay, take a deep breath, Although to us, this derogatory term for a woman is considered to be the most offensive word in the English language, it is common to hear this exchanged in friendly banter. Most times it is meant as a compliment (sick c*nt, mad c*nt)
Did you know the word Selfie originated in Australia? You are welcome world.