“Stop faffing around”. Australian slang is full of hilarious expressions that we should all use.
Australian English is more than just an accent, it’s full of hilarious Australian slang that induce hilarious mental images. Aussie’s are down-to-earth people and our colourful expressions reflect our personalities.
Even though Australian English has its roots in British English, living in London means I have to tone down my Australian slang and expressions in order to be understood. But, sometimes I just throw them out there to see what reaction I’ll get. I thoroughly enjoy explaining the meanings of such phrases like “budgie smugglers” and “woop woop”. Both of which you’ll learn later.
The term for Australia slang and pronunciation is called Strine. One of its signature features is making words as short as possible. It’s also interesting to learn how the Australian accent evolved.
Many of the Australian expressions found in this article are in frequent rotation, so it’s best to brush up on your Aussie slang before heading down under.
1. Budgie smugglers
Meaning: Small or tight male beachwear featuring the Speedo logo.
The bulge in the Lycra briefs resembles that of an incarcerated avian creature.
Example: “The Prime Minister was relaxing on the beach in his budgie smugglers”.
2. How ya goin’? / Howzit goin’?
Meaning: How are you going? How is it going?
A casual greeting. This expression is more of a pleasantry than a genuine question.
Example: “G’day, howzit goin’?”.
3. Fair Dinkum
Meaning: True or genuine
An old fashioned saying used to emphasise or query whether something is genuine or true.
Example: Australian politician at Press Conference “Yes, I am fair dinkum when I tell you, I did not use Union funds to support my prostitution addiction”.
4. Spit the dummy
Meaning: To indulge in a sudden display of anger or frustration; to lose one’s temper.
A similar display of when an infant spits out their pacifier “dummy” and bursts into a hysterical crying fit.
Example: “He spat the dummy when he didn’t get the promotion”.
5. Having a whinge
Meaning: To complain without a good reason.
This a variant of to whine, to moan or to complain.
Example: “Steven is having a whinge about his girlfriend. I stopped listening after he opened his mouth.”
6. Tall poppy syndrome
Meaning: A distaste for any kind of success of others.
When someone is outwardly envious of someone because of their achievements or success.
Example: Sharon has a bad case of tall poppy syndrome. She is constantly berating her best friend ever since she got a pay rise and a diamond engagement ring.
7. Pull one’s head in
Meaning: Usually used in an annoyed or confrontational manner, meaning both shut up and or mind your own business.
Example: “I’ve heard just about enough out of you mate, you’d best pull your head in.”
8. She’ll be right / She’ll be apples
Translation: Everything will be all right or ok
Example: “Nah, don’t worry mate” said Bruce, “She’ll be right.”
9. Sweet as!
Meaning: Sweet, awesome, terrific.
Aussies will often put ‘as’ after adjectives to give it more emphasis. Other examples include lazy as, fast as, and hot as.
Example: “Dave’s new car is sweet as!”
10. Can’t be bothered
Meaning: When you’re not in the mood to do something.
Example: “I can’t be bothered going to the gym today.”
11. My Shout
Meaning: To pay for something, like a round of drinks or the tab
Aussies are great at not splitting checks, instead they take turns paying for things.
Meaning: “Let’s go down to the pub, my shout!”
12. Sus it out
Meaning: Manage to find out something which may or may not seem suspicious.
Example: “I don’t know if he’s single, but I’ll sus him out.”
13. No Dramas / No Worries
Meaning: It’s like saying “don’t worry about it”, “no problem” and “you’re welcome” all at the same time.
Example: “Thanks for lending me your ute (utility truck)” – “No worries, mate”.
14. What a beaut!
Meaning: Something or someone beautiful
Example: “Oi mate, that sheila’s (woman) a beaut! Is she single?”
15. Bloody oath!
Meaning: Yes, that’s the truth
Used to emphasise the intensity of one’s opinion and honesty.
Example: “Mate, did your mate drink that whole carton of beer I had in the fridge?” – “Bloody oath he did”
16. Faffing around / mucking around
Meaning: To waste time, or do nothing
Example: “Stop faffing around and do the dishes!”
17. On the piss
Meaning: To drink alcohol
Example: “Dave’s been on the piss since 4pm“.
18. Cark it / Cactus!
Meaning: To die or stop working
Example: “Rob’s auntie carked it yesterday”, “My battery’s carked it”, “My phone’s cactus”.
19. Go troppo
Meaning: To lose the plot, or go crazy.
Troppo derives from the word tropical, referring to someone who lives in the tropical regions of Australia in or in hot weather. The heat is said to go to their head and makes them go crazy.
Example: “What’s his problem?” – “He’s gone troppo, mate”
20. A few Kangaroos loose in the top paddock
Meaning: Someone who is a bit daft, strange or loopy.
Example: “Sharon’s not the smartest tool in the shed, she’s got a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock”.
21. To be stoked
Meaning: Extremely enthusiastic, exhilarated, or excited about something
Example: “Mate, I’m stoked about our surfing trip this weekend”.
22. Two-pot screamer
Translation: Someone who can’t hold their drink and gets drunk easily.
In Australia, a pot is a half-pint glass.
Example: “Mate, keep an eye on how much your girlfriend drinks tonight, she’s a two-pot screamer”.
23. Woop woop
Meaning: An isolated place or any destination outside of your local area deeming it far away.
Example: “Where does he live?” – “Out in woop woop”
24. (Not) within cooee
Meaning: (Not) within a manageable distance. Figuratively suggesting a long way away.
Cooee! is a shout used in Australia, usually in the Bush, to attract attention or indicate one’s own location. When done correctly – loudly and shrilly – a call of “cooee” can carry over a considerable distance. The word “cooee” originates from the Dharuk language of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the Sydney area.
Example: “He doesn’t live within cooee”.
25. Drink with the flies
Meaning: To drink alone
Example: “We should invite that bloke (man) over to join us, he’s drinking with the flies”.
26. Dingo’s breakfast
Meaning: Not to have breakfast
A dingo is an Australian wild dog which is often persecuted and leads a tough life.
Example: “I’m starving, I was in such a rush this morning I had a dingo’s breakfast, then came to work.”
27. Go walkabout
Meaning: To be or lost or can’t be found
The term walkabout refers to a rite of passage during which Indigenous male Australians undergo a journey during adolescence, typically between 10 to 16 years of age. They live in the wilderness for a period as long as six months to make the spiritual and traditional transition into manhood.
Example: “Have you seen Simon?” – “Nah, he’s gone walkabout”
28. Mate’s rates
Meaning: A large discount
This term refers to the selling a product or service to someone, usually a friend or relative, at the same or close value to what the product or service will cost you. Thus, the recipient receives a large discount.
Example: “Johnno fixed my car, he charged my mates rates.”
29. Hit the turps
Meaning: To drink alcohol
Turps is short for turpentine, a strong solvent.
Example: “I had such a rough day at work yesterday, that I hit the turps hard last night”.
30. Going off
Meaning: Depending on the context it can either mean something that something is going extremely well or when someone is really angry to the point of yelling.
Example: I’m glad I woke up early for a surf because the surf was really going off this morning”., “Did you see Stevo fight with his girlfriend? He was going off!”.
31. (Good) Onya!
Meaning: Said both with and without good, this expression is short for “good on you” meaning “great job” or “well done”.
Example: “Onya, mate! Now you can understand us Aussies.”
Interested in learning a language? Head over to The Intrepid Guide’s language learning resource page.
Over to you!
What do you think about Australian slang? Which of these Aussies expressions is your favourite? Do you know any others?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.
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