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Australian English

In contrast with many other Edinburgh students my exchange is in English speaking country, Australia. Therefore, I did not expect to come across too many differences in language when compared to the UK. In the majority of cases my expectation was correct. As non-native English speaker I can tell that Australians are easy to understand and at least in South Australia their accent sounds relatively close to British. Nevertheless, sometimes they can surprise you with a unique local expression. Some of them I have never heard before and quite a few times I had to ask for explanation. With help of some of my Australian friends I collected and put together some Australian expressions that are commonly used and can be very different from what you have been used to. Try yourself and count how many you knew or did not know before. Would you understand all of them? You can write your score in comments if you like!

Dictionary: English to English

  • Ace! = Excellent! Very good!
  • Arvo = Afternoon
  • Barbie = Barbeque
  • Barrack = To cheer on (sport team etc.)
  • Bathers= Swimming clothes
  • Beaut = Great, fantastic
  • Bestiest = Best friends
  • Bizzo = Business
  • Bloke = Man
  • Bloody oath = That is certainly true
  • Bogan = A person with a working class background, or whose speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour exemplify a proud working class mentality
  • Bottle O = Liquor shop
  • Brekkie = Breakfast
  • BYO = Bring Your Own, Unlicensed restaurant where you can bring your own alcohol
  • Cactus = Dead, not functioning
  • Chook = Chicken
  • Chrissy = Christmas
  • Click = Kilometre
  • Digger = Soldier
  • Docket = Receipt
  • Drongo = Stupid person
  • Dunny = Toilet
  • Esky = Insulated container (usually to keep beer cold)
  • Fair dinkum = True, genuine
  • Fair go = A chance
  • Footy = Football
  • Fruitloop = Fool
  • Folks = Parents
  • G’day = Hello
  • Gobsmacked = Surprised, astounded
  • Grog = Liquor
  • Heaps = A lot of something
  • Knockback = Refuse
  • Lollies = Sweets, candies
  • Maccas = McDonalds
  • Mates rates = Cheaper than usual between friends
  • Mob = Group of people
  • Moolah = Money
  • Mozzie = Mosquito
  • Nut out = Work out
  • Pash = Kiss
  • Postie = Mailman
  • Quid = Money
  • Reckon? = You think?
  • Ripper = Fantastic, great
  • Roo = Kangaroo
  • Servo = Petrol station
  • Sheila = Woman
  • Shonky = Not good
  • Slab = Carton of 24 beers
  • Snag = Sausage
  • Spewin’ = Very angry
  • Spit the dummy = get upset
  • Stickybeak = Noisy person
  • Sunnies = Sunglasses
  • Tall poppy = Successful person

1 Comment so far

  1. catrionamallows

    I loved reading this! Whilst on my year abroad in Canada, I’ve come across a lot of Canadian words but I have also met a lot of people from Australia and have been amazed at some of the words they use. I particularly like their use of “cactus” and “ripper”.

    It’s funny – I have also become aware of the slang that I used, which I had previously taken-for-granted and hadn’t noticed I was doing. For example, I always say “half 7”, or “half 3” to signify half past 7 or half past 3. I had no idea that some Canadians have no idea what I am referring to, and I have to be so careful incase I arrange to meet them at half 7, and they think I mean 6.30!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

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