Australians are generally a very easy-going bunch, and this is often reflected in how they speak. They have a reputation for shortening 90% of the words they use to create what is known as Australian Slang – I mean – where else in the world is McDonald’s (the world-renowned fast-food chain) called Maccas?!
For the most part, this shortening of words is pretty straightforward and easy to understand/translate. And if you want to join in, just remove the last few letters of a word and replace with a vowel sound (-a, -ie/y, -o). Avocado = Avo; Kangaroo = Roo; Mosquito = Mozzie etc.
But there is another string to the Aussie slang bow which features weird and wacky Australian slang words and phrases that are not so easy to translate/guess/understand. And this is where we come in. If you don’t know your Cark-it from your Cactus or your Goon from your Grundies, scroll down for a quick Australian Slang 101. We’ll help you understand the Aussie lingo, share their meanings and origins and have you speaking like local in no-time (although your accent will probably need a little work if you start with regular old British English or American English!)
Disclaimer: Almost all posts on this site contain affiliate links, and this one with 150+ Australian Slang Words & Phrases (learn to speak like an Aussie!) is no different. This means that if you click on any of the links in this post (and make a purchase) I may receive a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. Each post is carefully crafted to (hopefully!) answer all your questions and recommendations are made where we believe they will improve your trip and help with your planning. As such we thank you in advance should you decide to click & buy. Read my full disclosure here.
Table of Contents
Australian Slang Words for Eating & Drinking
A Cold One / Coldie – Beer
Avo – Avocado
Barbie – Barbecue (because we’ve all heard, ‘throw another shrimp on the barbie‘, right?!
Billy – Teapot (In the Outback on the fire) (or some Aussie’s use it to refer to a bong; but only the ones that wanted to be different, as bong is pretty standard worldwide.)
Booze Bus – Police vehicle used to catch drunk drivers
Bottle-O – Bottle Shop or Liquor Store – basically a place to buy alcohol that isn’t a hospitality venue.
Brekky – Breakfast
Bring a Plate – instructions to bring a plate of food to contribute to a BBQ or party/event.
BYO – bring your own (usually in the context of booze)
Cab Sav – Cabernet Sauvignon. Never has wine sounded so refined.
Choccy Biccy – Chocolate Biscuit
Docket – Bill, receipt; or list of items to be dealt with.
Esky – Also known as a Cool Box, Ice Box, Chest Cooler, Chilly Bin.
Fairy Floss – Candy Floss, Cotton Candy
Flake – Gummy shark flesh sold in fish and chip shops
Frothy – Beer
Grog – Liquor, Beer
Hungry Jacks – Burger King
Icy Pole – Ice Lollie, Popsicle
Lollies – Sweets
Maccas – McDonalds
Sanger – Sandwich
Skull / Skol – To down a beer
Slab – A carton or box of beers (usually 24)
Snag – A Sausage
Stubby – a bottle of beer
Stubby Holder – Used so your hands don’t get cold when holding your beer, or to stop your hands making your beer warm!
Sausage Sizzle – a practically weekly BBQ event held outside Bunnings.
Tinny – Can of beer or small boat
Tucker – Food. ‘Bush Tucker’ tends to be food found in the Outback such as witchety grubs.
Aussie Expletives, Exclamations, Insults & States of Being
Banana Bender – Somebody from Queensland
Beauty! – Great! Most often shouted emphatically as “You Beauty” when something good happens, particularly in sports.
Bloody – Very. Used to extenuate a point
Bloody oath – Yes (or, it’s true)
Bludger – Someone who’s lazy, generally also who relies on others (when it’s someone who relies on the state they’re often called a ‘dole bludger’)
Bogan – Someone who is not very sophisticated. The Aussie equivalent of US’s rednecks.
Bored shitless – Very Bored
Buggered – Exhausted
Chunder – Vomit.
Cobber – A very good friend.
Crack the shits – Getting angry at someone or something
Crikey – An expression of surprise
C*nt, the “C” word – Not going to lie, I don’t like it. But it is part of the Aussie vocabulary for a lot of folks. If someone calls you the C word (and you haven’t done anything to annoy or enrage them) it’s actually considered a term of affection and that you are considered a ‘mate’.
Dag – Someone who is a bit of a geek, goof or a nerd
Deadset – True or, that’s true.
Defo – Definitely
Devo – Devastated
Drongo – A Fool or an Idiot
Far out – ‘Really?!’ (exclamation) – can be used with a positive or negative sentiment.
Galah – A stupid person named after the Australian bird with a reputation for its silly antics and the noise it makes.
Gnarly – Awesome (often used by surfers)
Grouse – Great, terrific
Harold Holt – to leave or disappear quickly. (Named after the former Australian PM who disappeared while swimming of the coast of Victoria in 1967. That’s Aussie dark humour for you).
Kangaroos loose in the top paddock (a few) – Someone who is not that bright
Legless – Someone who is really drunk
Mongrel – Someone who’s a bit of a scoundrel or a dick
Ocker – an unsophisticated person
Piece of Piss – Easy (as pie)
Piss Off – Go away, Get lost, F’ Off
Piss Up – A party or get together
Piss – (To Piss) to urinate
Pissed – Intoxicated, Drunk
Pissed Off – Annoyed
Rack Off – Another, and less offensive way to tell someone to go away or ‘F Off’!
Ripper – ‘You little ripper’ = That’s fantastic mate!
Rapt – Very happy
Ropeable – Very angry
Spit the Dummy – To crack it / get upset
Stoked – Happy, Pleased
Strewth – An exclamation of surprise
Sweet As – Sweet, awesome, good.
Australian Slang Phrases and Words for Day To Day Life
Accadacca – How Aussies refer to Australian band ACDC
Ambo – Ambulance
Ankle Biter – Child
Arvo – Afternoon (S’Arvo means this afternoon!)
Aussie Salute – Wave to scare the flies
Bail – To cancel plans.
Bathers / Budgie Smugglers – Swimsuit / Speedos
Barrack – To cheer on, support
Billabong – A pond in a dry riverbed
Brolly – Umbrella
Bruce – An Aussie Bloke
Buckleys Chance – Not a Chance; As good as impossible.
Bush – “Out in the bush” or “he’s gone bush”. In the countryside away from civilisation
Bushman’s Alarm clock – a laughing Kookaburra
Cactus – Dead, Broken (an object, i.e washing machine)
Cark-It – To die
CBD – Central Business District (used to refer to a city centre: Melbourne CBD, Sydney CBD etc)
Choc A Bloc / Cockers – Full
Chook – Chicken
Chrissie – Christmas
Ciggy / Durry – A Cigarette
Clucky – Feeling maternal
Cockie – Cockatoo (bird)
Coppers – Policemen
Crook – Being ill; or a criminal
Daks – Trousers. ‘Tracky daks’ are sweatpants/tracksuit pants
Dogs Breakfast – a poor piece of work; a mess (and sometimes used to describe how someone looks!)
Down Under – Australia & New Zealand
Dunny – Toilet
Exy – Expensive
Facey – Facebook
Fair Dinkum – ‘Honestly? Yeah honestly!
Fair Go / Fair Crack of the Whip / Fair Suck of the Sav – To give someone a chance
Flannie / Flanno – Flannelette shirt
Flat out – Crazy busy
Footy – Australian Rules / Aussie Rules Football (not UK football/soccer)
Furphy – Tall tales, rumours or stories that are improbable or absurd (also the name of a brand of beer!)
G’day – Hello
Going off – The reaction of an angry person “he’s going off”
Good On Ya – Good work
Goon – The best (or worst) version of wine – depending on your preference. Goon is a cheap, boxed wine that generally plays a key role in the Aussie backpacking experience. For me it’s ‘worst’ – but I understand it serves a purpose! (and was actually invented in Australia!)
Grommet – Young surfer
Grundies – underpants / underwear
Hard yakka – Hard work
Heaps – loads, lots, many
Hoon – Hooligan / Someone driving badly.
Hooroo – Goodbye
Iffy – Bit risky or unreasonable
John Dory – The Goss / The Gossip
Knickers – Female underwear
Lappy – Laptop
Larrikin – Someone who’s always up for a laugh, bit of a harmless prankster
Lucky Country – Australia (where else?!)
Manchester – Sheets / Linen etc. (If you’re from the UK, this one is particularly confusing!)
Mate – Friend, Acquaintance
Moolah – Money
Mozzie – Mosquito
No Drama – No problem / it’s ok
No Worries – No problem / it’s ok
Nuddy / In the Nud – Naked
Outback – The middle/interior of Australia.
Pash – To kiss
Pokies – Gambling Machines
Rage / Rage on – Party / Party on.
Reckon – For sure. ‘You Reckon?’… ‘I reckon!’
Rellie / Rello – Relatives
Rock Up – To arrive
Roo – Kangaroo
Root – sexual intercourse
Root Rat – someone who enjoys sex (maybe a little too much)
Rooted – Tired or Broken
Roster – Rota, work schedule
Runners – Trainers, Sneakers
Servo – Service Station / Garage / Gas Station
Sheila – A woman
She’ll be apples – Everything will be alright
Shoot Through – To leave
Sick – awesome / good; ‘that’s really sick mate’
Sickie – a sick day off work, or ‘to pull a sickie’ would be to take a day off when you aren’t actually sick
Smoko – Cigarette break
Sook – to sulk / or if you are being a sook – you’re whinging (i.e. stop being a sook)
Stickybeak – to be nosey / a nosey person
Stiffy – Erection
Straya – Australia
Stuffed – Tired
Sunnies – Sunglasses
Swag – Single bed you can roll up, a bit like a sleeping bag.
Thongs – Flip Flops (UK/USA), Jandles (New Zealand)
Togs – Swimwear
Tradie – a tradesperson
True Blue (Aussie) – Genuinely Australian, Patriotic
Two Up – A gambling game played on Anzac day.
U-IE/ Yewy – a U-Turn when driving
Up Yourself – Stuck up
Ute – Utility vehicle, pick-up truck
Walkabout (Gone Walkabout) – a journey (originally on foot) undertaken by an Australian Aboriginal in order to live in the traditional manner (although please be aware it is considered a contentious word by indigenous Australians)
Woop Woop – the middle of nowhere (pretty much most of Western Australia north of Perth and south west of Margaret River! And practically ALL of the Northern Territory.)
Ya – You
Yous – (youse) plural of you!
And that’s a wrap. Whether you live in Australia (and a non-native!) or are planning to visit in the near future – or just wanted to improve your English vocabulary (or American English vocabulary) with some fair dinkum Aussie words before the next Australia Day; we hope that some (or all!) of these Australian words in our Aussie slang dictionary have helped you understand Australian Slang a little better – and if not, they just brought a smile to your face.
And if you don’t mind sharing the love for this Australian Slang Dictionary List, a tweet, flip, pin, or Facebook share would be much appreciated! (Full-sized pins available by clicking the share bar on the left – and all the images above are pins too!)
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