Australian Slang Vocabulary
In the mid-1990s I spent a couple years in the Melbourne, Australia area. Shortly after I returned, I compiled this list of over 550 Australian slang vocabulary terms while I learned how to build websites as a hobby. I recently found my old files and decided to repost the list.
If you know a term I have missed and would like it added, either comment with Facebook at the bottom of this page or send an email. I appreciate your help in growing this list again.
A.B.C.—Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Abo—derogatory term for an Australian Aborigine
Aborigine—Native inhabitant of Australia
aggro—aggressive, aggravated; "Don't get so aggro, mate!"
Alice—Alice Springs, Northern Territory; "The Alice"
America's Cup—prestigious international yaght race
antipodes—places on exactly opposite sides of the earth
ANZAC—Australian and New Zealand Army Corp; war veteran
Anzac Day—April 25; a national holiday celebrating the anniversary of ANZAC's landing at Gallipoli in 1915
Apple Isle—Tasmania, Australia's island state
arse—one's backside, buttocks; also means luck: "He's got more arse than class."
arvo—afternoon; "We'll go this arvo." (pronounced 'avo')
Aussie—Australian; "He's fair dinkum Aussie."
Aussie Rules—Australian National Football, footy
Australian Salute—to brush away flies with a hand movement
award rate—minimum pay rate
back of beyond—an extremely remote place
back o'Bourke—far outback; see above
baked dinner—traditional roast and vegetable meal, usually baked leg of lamb
banana land—the state of Queensland
banger—sausage, (pronounced 'banga')
barrack—to cheer on (football teams, etc)
bash—to attempt; "I'll have a bash; strike or hit; "I was bashed over the head with a bottle."
bathers—swimsuit; see cossies, swimmers
battler—one who struggles to make a living; underdog; "an Aussie battler", (pronounced 'battla')
beanie—snug fit woolen cap which is turned up at the edges
beaut—excellent, marvellous, "you beaut"
beauty—expression of approval or agreement, (pronounced 'bewdy')
beetroot—pickeled beets, popular on just about everything!
beg yours—I beg your pardon
belt up—shut up!
bible basher—a devout person; clergyman
bickie—cookie or biscuit
bickies—money; "I'm making big bickies!"
big-note—to inflate your status, position, achievements; "He's just big-noting himself."
big smoke—the big city, usually refers to Sydney
big wig—an important person or dignitary
bigwiggin it—mixing with important people
billabong—a natural water hole in a dried up river system
billy—a metal container with fitted lid and handle used as a kettle.
billy-tea—tea made in a billy over an open fire in the bush
bite—to borrow or mooch, especially money or food; "Don't put the bite on me."
bitumen—tarred road or blacktop (pronounced 'bich-U-men')
black stump—far outback, toward Woop Woop
Blind Freddy—a mythical character: "Even Blind Freddy could see that!"
block—head: "knock your block off"
bloody—the great Australian adjective; used as an intensive
bloody oath—damn right; I agree!
blow-in—arrive unexpectedly; a newcomer
bludge(r)—to shirk responsibility or work; someone who lives or mooches off someone else
blue—an argument or fight, "pick a blue"; a mistake; "a tactical blue"
bluey—pack, equipment, traffic ticket
bob—old currency equivalent to ten cents
bodgie—inferior quality: "a bodgie repair job"
boil the billy—make a cup of coffee, tea, or other hot drink
bomb—an old junkie car
bonnet—hood of a car
bonzer—extremely good, "that's a bonzer idea" (pronounced bonza)
boomer—large male kangaroo
booze bus—police van used for random breath testing for alcohol.
bo-peep—take a look, "have a bo-peep"
bottle shop—liquor store (sometimes drive through liquor stores)
Bottom of the Harbor—refers to tax evasion schemes
bower bird—native Australian bird; also, person who collects and hoards odds and ends
bowling club—club for lawn bowls, a popular sport down under
bowser—petrol (gasoline) pumps
Boxing Day—26th of December, a public holiday
box seat, in the—most favoured position
brass razoo, not a—nothing; no money at all; "I wouldn't give him a brass razoo."
bring a plate—to take a plate of food as a contribution to a meal; pot luck
Brissie—Brisbane, capital city of Queensland (pronounced Brizzie)
brumby—a wild horse
bull-bar—protective grid mounted on the front of a motor vehicle
bull dust—very fine powdered dust found on dirt roads in the outback, also means nonsence or something that is not right.
Buckley's chance—little or no hope or chance; "You've got two chances, yours and Buckley's."
bugger—damn, "I don't give a bugger."; undesireable or unpleasant, "It's a bugger of a job."
bugger-all—nothing, "there's bugger-all we can do"
Bullamanka—imaginary place even beyond back of Bourke, way beyond the black stump.
bung it on—deliberately exaggerating; putting on airs
bush—the woods or forest; the country as opposed to the city
bush tucker—native foods, usually in the outback.
BYO—Bring Your Own alcoholic beverages to restaurant with no liquor license
caaarn!—traditional rallying cry at football games (contraction of "Come on!").
camp oven—large, cast-iron pot with a lid, for cooking on an open fire.
can—of beer, tinnie
caravan—motor home, travel trailer
carton—a case of beer
chap or chappie—male person
cheque—check dealing with money
chiko roll—Australian junk food.
chin-wag—talk, "have a chin wag with your mates"
chips—potato chips (crisps), french fries
chockablock—jammed together; crammed full of something
choko—an edible squash like vegetable
Chrissie—Christmas, December 25th
Christian name—first name
chuck—throw or stage, "The child will chuck a fit!"
chunder—vomit, throw up
cluey—informed; knowledgeable; "He's a very cluey bloke indeed!"
cobber—friend, companion, mate
come a gutser—make a bad mistake, have an accident
come good—turn out all right.
come raw the prawn—attempt to deceive someone by pretending innocent "Don't come raw the prawn with me, mate!"
compo—compensation, usually for work related injuries
conk—to hit someone.
cooee, cooey—a call used to attract attention, within cooey means nearby
corroboree—a spiritual gathering of Aborigines
cossies—swimming costume; swimsuit, bathers, swimmers
counter meal—meal taken at a hotel or pub at it's counter
cow—an unpleasant or annoying thing, person or situation. (You cow!)
crook—ill, "I feel crook."
crust—livelihood or living, "I earn a crust by writing."
cuppa—cup of tea, coffee, etc. "Boil the billy for a hot cuppa."
curry—to give someone curry is to express anger at or verbally abuse
dag—funny person, nerd, goof, loser
damper—Australian bushman's unleavened bread, made of flour, water, and baked in hot ashes
dead set—indisputable, absolute; really!
dear—expensive: "that restaraunt is dear"
defacto—living together outside of marriage
dice—reject; throw out
didgeridoo—long hollow tree branch used as a musical instrument by Aboriginals
digger—a term addressing a man, like mate, cobber
dillybag—small bag to carry things.
dingo—native wild dog of Australia
dinky-di—the true thing; "a dinky-di Aussie"
divvy van—police divisional van.
dobber—a person who dobs someone in (see next entry)
dob-in—inform or betray; "I was dobbed in by someone."
dole—unemloyment benefit; "on the dole"
dole bludger—person preferring to collect a dole cheque rather than work for a living
donkeys years—a long time
doona—feather comforter, blanket
Down Under—Australia and New Zealand; "the land Down Under"
drink with the flies—to drink alone
drongo—a foolish or useless person; person who is stupid; "bloody drongo"
drop bundle—give up (he dropped the bundle)
drove—to move or herd sheep or cattle
drum—information, tip off: "I'll give you the drum"
dry season—the season when it doesn't rain; "the dry"
dumper—wave that breaks suddenly hurling swimmers ashore with great force (pronounced 'dumpa')
dunny—outhouse; loo; "I was all alone like a country dunny."
earbash—talk incessently to someone; "She's a real ear-basher."
emu—an ostrich like fast running bird native to Australia
esky—portable cooler for food and drinks
everything's apples—everything is alright, in good order, under control
fair crack of the whip!—fair go!
fair-dinkum—unquestionable; true-blue; real; "A fair-dinkum Aussie"
fair-go—equal treatment or opportunity; an even chance; "Most people just want a fair-go."
fall pregnant—get pregnant
fancy dress—masquerade costume; a fancy dress party is a costume party
fix someone up—pay him what's due; attend to his needs
flake—shark meat, used in fish and chips.
flaming—bloody, damned; "a flamin' drongo"
flat out—at top speed; all out; "flat out like a lizard drinking"
flicks—movie or show
flutter—a modest gamble or speculation; "lets have a flutter on the pokies"
flying doctor service—medical unit visiting and transporting patients by air in the outback regions of Australia
fob off—put someone off until a later date or time
footy—Australian Rules Football
fortnight—two week period; 14 days
fossick—rummage or search for something
Fosters—a brand of Aussie beer worth trying! (so I've been told)
Fourex—a Queensland brewed beer; "make it a Fourex, mate!"; XXXX
front up—to appear before; show up; "When's he gonna front up with my money?"
fringe—bangs; the short hair at the front of ones head
game - brave.
galah - foolish person; also a species of native cockatoo
gander - have a look.
gaol - Australian and British spelling of "jail".
garage - local petrol (gas) station or mechanic shop
garbo - garbage collector
garbologist - modern name for garbo
G'day - hello (good day)
give it a go - make an attempt; try; "Give it a go, ol' mate!"
goanna - very large Australian lizard
gob - mouth
good oil - reliable information
good on ya! - good for you, well done
good sort - attractive female
good sport - good sense of humor, willing to try anything
grabber - greedy person; (pronounced grabba)
Grand Final - final game of Aussie Rules footy, decides on premiereship
grazier - sheep or cattle rancher
green-grocer - fruit and vegetable shop
greenie - conservationalist; enviromentalist
grizzle - to complain.
grog - booze; grogged up means drunk
grouse - very good, unreal.
grub - food
Gulf Country - Gulf of Carpentaria in far north Queensland
gum - eucalypt tree
gutzer - some plans don't work out or to have an accident.
happy as Larry—completely happy and content
hard case - a dry humourist
have a bash - to have a try at something; to give it a go
heaps - a lot of something; "heaps of money"
hen's teeth, scarce as - very rare
high falutin -(pronounced flootin')..pompous or pretentious
hire - to rent, as "to hire a car".
his nibs - the boss.
hob knob - someone in high authority
hob knobbin it - mixing with people in high authority
holiday - vacation
hooley - wild party.
hooly-dooly - an expression of surprise.
hoon - hooligan
hoo roo - good bye
hotel - often just a pub
how are ya? - standard greeting.
Hughie - slang expression for a fictitious "God"; "send down the rain Hughie"
humpy - small shanty-like residence in disrepair
Hungry Jacks - trading name for Burger King
icy pole - popcicle; lollypop
identity - celebrity.
in full feather - in fine health.
in yer boot! - an expression of disagreement.
it's a goer - something that will definitely occur.
jabiru - species of stork
jackeroo - young man working on sheep or cattle station
jack-in-the-box - person who can't sit still.
jaffle - toasted sandwich made in waffle-like machine
jillaroo - female jackaroo
jingoes! - exclamation of wonder.
joey - young kangaroo
journo - journalist
jumbuck - sheep
jumper - not cables for your car! It is a sweater or pullover; also, a type of ant: jumping ant; (pronounced 'jumpa')
kangaroo - a native marsupial of Australia; "roo"
kafuffle - argument.
kero - kerosene
kick - to share or join in.
kiddies - children
kilo - kilograms;(2.2 pounds)
kip - sleep or nap.
King's Cross - Sydney's red-light district; "The Cross"
kiwi - A New Zealander; also, a type of fruit
knackered - tired, tuckered out
knickers - underwear
knocker - one who criticizes
knockback - refuse or reject
knock off - to finish work: "Let's knock off early."; also steal: "I'm gonna knock off a surfboard!"
knock out - to earn: "He knocks out a decent living."
knocker - critical person (pronounced 'knocka')
kombi - Volkswagon Van
koala - native Australian marsupial mammal
kookaburra - bird known for its laughter-like cry, also known as "bushman's alarm clock", "laughing jackass".
lairise - to behave in a vulgar, flamboyant manner.
lamb-brained - stupid.
lamington - square of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and coconut
larrikin - mischevious person
laughing gear - mouth
lay-by - purchase on lay-away with small deposit
lift - elevator
lippies - lipstick
litre - metric volume of approx. 1 3/4 pints
lob in - arrive: "The rellies lobbed in for a visit."
lolly - lollipop or sweet candy
lolly water - soft drink, soda pop
loo - dunny, outhouse, toilet
lorrie - truck
lot - everything, all of it: "hamburger with the lot"
lotto - lottery, "Go lotto! Gotta be in it to win it!"
Lucky Country, The - Australia, where else?
Macca's - McDonalds (fast food)
manchester - household linen.
mate - buddy, friend, cobber
matey with - familiar or friendly with.
matilda - the belongings of a swagman, wrapped in a blanket or bedroll.
Melbourne Cup - horse race held the 1st Tuesday of every November in Melbourne, Victoria. All of Australia stops to watch this horse race begin (Victoria state holiday)
mental - crazy
metre - metric unit of measurement approx. 3ft 3in
middie - glass of beer, 10oz
midge - gnat-like insect, sand-fly
milk bar - convenience store
milko - milkman
mince - ground meat
mob - group; large number of: "mob of kangaroos"
moke - small jeep-like vehicle
Moreton Bay bug - shovelnosed lobster-like shellfish
moreish - something is so good that you want more
mozzie - mosquito
mozzie coil - burning coil of insect repellant
muck up - make a mess of; bungle
muddie - mud crab (delicious to eat)
muesli - granola
mug - fool or gullible person
mug's game - senseless or unprofitable activity
mulga - remote wilderness, scrub, bush
muso - musician
muster - round up or gather, especially livestock
my (bloody) oath - yes! of course!
my shout - my turn to buy (a round of drinks, etc)
my word. - no lies
naff - ridiculous, useless.
nan - grandma
nana - banana.
nappy - diaper "Change the bub's nappy."
nark - spoilsport.
narked - annoyed.
natter - chat or gossip: "Have a bit of a natter."
neddies - horses.
never-never - very remote bushland, near woop woop, beyond the black stump, far outback
newsagent - newspaper dealer or shop
nick - to steal.
nick, in the - in jail; naked or nude; in good nick is in the good order
nick out - go somewhere for short period of time.
nipper - a junior lifesaver; also, small child
nit - fool or idiot.
no dramas - no problems
no-hoper - useless person
North Island - mainland Australia, according to someone in Tasmania.
northern summer - summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
no shortage of oscar - to be flush with money.
not the full quid - not bright intellectually
no worries - nevermind, it's no trouble
not wrong, you're - you're right: "You're not wrong about that one, ol' mate!"
nous - intelligence, common sense
nuddy - nude: (pronounced nude-E) "They were swimming in the nuddy."
nulla-nulla - wooden club used by Aborigines.
num-nums - tasty food.
ocker - an uncultured, rough Australian
offsider - partner or mate
O.S. - overseas "he's gone O.S."
outback - very remote area of Australia, it's the place that's never been reached, it's always elsewhere
outstation - remote sheep or cattle station
owyergoin - how are you going? Often used with "G'day" and "Mate"
OYO - On your own (flat or apartment).
oy! - an ocker's call.
Oz - Australia, "the you beaut country"
packed out - filled to capacity.
packet - large some of money, an envelope.
paddock - field or meadow.
pally - on friendly terms with.
panel beater - auto body repair shop
paper yabber - letter.
parcel - package.
pavers - paving stones
pavlova - meringue cake topped with whipped cream and fruit, a traditional Australian dessert
paw-paw - papaya
pay packet - pay check
peach - desirable or good looking
pearl - excellent.
peckish - hungry
perv - a pervert; erotic gaze at somebody
petrol - gasoline
piffle - nonsense.
pinch - to arrest, or steal
pineapple, rough end of - stick, sharp end of.
piss - alcoholic drink
pissed - drunk
platypus - native aquatic mammal
plonk - cheap or low quality wine
polly - politician
poofter - homosexual (generally male)
pokie - slot machine: "Play the pokies at the club."
Pom, Pommie - British person
post - mail: "post a letter"
postcode - zip code
postie - mailman
pot - a 10oz glass of beer
potch - worthless unformed opal
possie - position
prang - crash, collision: "got my car in a bit of a prang"
prawn - shrimp; also, see come raw the prawn
pressie - present or gift
Proprietary (Pty.) - Company (Co.).
pub - licensed hotel; the local bar
punt - gamble or risk
putt-putt - any small vehicle.
Q—thank you (mumbled).
quack—doctor, especially if not very good.
queue—line, form a queue or queue up
quick smart—in a hurry.
quid—English pound note in old Aussie currency
race, not in the—doesn't have a chance, out of luck
randy—slang for lustful or horny
ratbag—person with no common sense or respect for others
rave—talk: "I'm going to have a rave with Jo at the pub."
razoo—fictitious coin, as "I haven't a brass razoo".
reckon—you bet! absolutely!
red centre—the centre of Australia, the soil is litterally red!
rich—excessive: "That was a bit rich of her."
right—okay: "She'll be right mate!"
righto—to agree or all right then
ripper—excellent person, thing, or idea (pronounced 'rippa')
rissole—ball of meat mixed with bread crumbs
road train—multi-trailered semi truck.
roo bar—see bull-bar
root—vulgar slang for sexual intercourse
ropeable—extremely angry, enraged
rotten—drunk: "I went out last night and got rotten."
row—quarrel, dispute: "They had a domestic row."
RSL—Returned Services League, RSL clubs offer patrons meals, drinks, entertainment, pokies, etc. and are usually located in prominent town positions.
rubbish—verbally put down someone or something; garbage
rubbish bin—garbage can
rug up—dress for warmth.
runners—tennis shoes, sneakers, running shoes
sack—to dismiss from a job.
salvo—member of the Salvation Army
sand fly—see midge
sandshoes—tennis shoes, runners
sausage roll—sausage meat baked in pastry
schooner—large measure of beer
scrub—thick bush "The city slicker got lost in the scrub"
sealed road—surfaced road.
see you in the soup—see you around.
seppo (septic)—slang term for an American
session—lengthy period of heavy drinking.
shark biscuit—somebody new to surfing
she’ll be right—it’ll be O.K.
sheila—term referring to a female
shoot through—leave in a hurry
shop—the corner store
shout—to buy or treat: "My shout, mate!"
sickie—sick day from work
silk shirt on a pig—something wasted.
singlet—sleeveless underwear top, tank top
sink the boot—drive fast.
skite—boast or brag
slab—case, carton of 24 bottles or cans of beer
slob—an obnoxious, uncouth or slovenly person
sloppy joe—loose sweatshirt, jumper
smash repairs—auto body shop, panel beater
snob—one who over values his rank
spin a yarn—tell a tale
spit the dummy—to lose one's temper
spot on—right on, a classic
sport—more general way to refer to someone rather than a mate.
spunky—good-looking, attractive as in "what a spunk".
square off—to apologise.
squatter—large landowner who originally occupied land as a tenant of the government.
squattocracy—Australian "old money" folk, who made their fortunes by being first on the scene and grabbing the land.
sticky—look: "have a sticky at"
sticky beak—inquisitive nosy person
stinks—something offensive (that stinks)
stone—14 lbs; 6.35 kg
strewth!—it's the truth! An exclamation, often of surprise.
strife—trouble (of any kind)
stubbies—brand name of men’s shorts
stubby—bottle of beer
sweet—all right: "it’s sweet"
T.A.B.—Totalisator Agency Board, administers of off-track betting
ta da—good bye
take away—take-out food.
tall poppies—achievers, often a disparaging term.
Taswegian—a person from Tasmania
tea—a meal; dinner "evening tea"
thingo—thing, whatchamacallit, hooza meebob, doo hicki, thingamajig.
tick—time measurement "be back in a tick"
tinned dog—canned meat (i.e. Spam)
tinnie, tinny—can of beer
tip—the dump: "Take the load of rubbish to the tip."
tomato sauce—ketchup, (catsup)
too right—yes, indeed!
tongue-in-cheek—meant or expressed ironically
tongue waggin'—a severe talking to someone
troppo—crazy in the head: "He went troppo in Darwin."
tucker—food (pronounced ‘tucka’)
tucker bag—food bag
twistie—bottle of beer with twist-off top
two-up—gambling game of tossing two coins, usually played on Anzac Day with penniies
tyre—Australian and British spelling of "tire".
up a gumtree—in a quandary, or difficult spot
Uluru—National Park in central Australia also known as Ayers rock
ute—utility or pick-up truck
Vegemite—black oozy yeast extract used as a spread on crackers or bread. It is an acquired taste, but definitely worth trying. Kraft Foods product
velvet—highly profitable or advantageous.
wag—to skip school or work.
wag—talks a lot
wank(er)—to play with one’s self
walkabout—periodic nomadic wanderings.
wallaby track, on the—to wander from place to place in search of work
welsh(er)—one who doesn’t pay their debts
wet, the—rainy season in northern Australia.
white coffee—coffee with milk or cream
willy-nilly—small dust twister.
wipe—to dismiss from consideration, abandon, reject: "I’ve wiped him as a mate."
wobbly—excitable behavior, (someone upset "chucks a wobbly")
wog—illness; also, refers to a foreign person especially from the Middle East: "He’s a wog."
Woop Woop—a mythical place that’s very remote: "out Woop Woop way."
wowser—a spoilsport, killjoy, teetotaller
XXXX—Fourex, a beer from Queensland
yabber—talk (a lot) "he’s quite the yabber"
yahoo—noisy and unruly person.
yakka—work: "digging trenches is hard yakka"
yank tank—large American automobile
yarn—story or tale: "spin a yarn" means to tell a story
yewy—u-turn in traffic
yobbo—lout, hooligan, jerk, also someone who talks consistently
you blighter—an annoying person
youse—plural of you.
zebra crossing—broad-striped pedestrian roadway crossing.
zeds—pertaining to sleep (zzz).