A Beginner's Guide to Australian Slang

A Beginner's Guide to Australian Slang

Uploaded on
Jan 6, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 9, 2023
Uploaded on
Jan 6, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 9, 2023
A Beginner's Guide to Australian Slang
Bloody Oath this is Crikey!

You are well aware that Australian slang is one of the quirkiest, weirdly intelligent slang you will ever encounter. We've got fun British and Irish slang, but nothing can beat the cute slangs that Australians come up with. So whether you are planning to move to Australia, going for a vacation or just are interested in knowing the Australian slang and phrases, keep on reading!

Australian Slang Words

1. Blokes and sheilas

The slang sheilas is derived from the Irish ladies name Síle. Because it is viewed as offensive, it is now rarely used. A bloke is equivalent to "chap" or "fella".

2. Crikey

It's similar to shouting "blimey!" to express surprise or shock. Steve Irwin popularised it.

3. Brekkie

These are some of the cutest slang ever! Although it sounds like breakfast for children, brekkie is the Australian breakfast everyone has in the morning. Similarly, lippies for lipstick, sunnies for sunglasses, bikkie for biscuits, and cabbie for taxi drivers.

4. Cake Hole

Cake Hole means mouth! Did you see it coming? We see this becoming universal slang very soon!

5. Ankle-biter

This is slang for a small or young child; nevertheless, it can also apply to a small, aggressive dog such as a chihuahua. We've all met that one kid who is highly aggressive and refuses to quit being a bother! This is one of the most fitting Australian slang words.

6. Arvo

What are you doing this arvo? which means “this afternoon”. A good conversation starter, you might say!

7. Roo

You can't miss Australia's most well-known animal! Kangaroos had to have their own unique slang phrase, too! Wanna know another slang for Kangaroos? Joey! We'll leave you at that.

8. Smoko

Wanna go for a smoke? Sound a little lame! Smoko it is! This Australian slang specifically means "cigarette break".

9. Yakka

Work Hard, Play Hard is so 2013! Yakka, meaning hard work, should be your new hustle motto!

10. Bruce

As if "Bloke" wasn't enough! Bruce is slang for an Aussie bloke. It works for an Australian guy named Bruce! 

11. Barbie

It is one of the most famous Australian slang that stands for, wait for it... Barbecue! Who thought of this? Crikey brilliant!
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12. Ta

Guess it takes a lot of energy to say "thank you," so when you're feeling lazy, use "ta" instead! You can also say "thanks heaps" when you truly appreciate what someone has done for you.

13. Bottle-o

It is slang for "bottle shop" or "liquor shop", a liquor store that isn't a club, bar or pub.
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14. Dag

This Australian slang term can also be used to describe a witty and pleasant person who is a bit of a geek, goof, or nerd. confusing, right? So, to break it down, if you ever come across someone charming yet lacking in self-awareness? That person is a dag!

15. Maccas

McD's, Maccies, Mickey D, and McDo are some of the slang for McDonald's, and Maccas made the list of the top used slang for this famous fast-food chain.

16. Straya

Well, the country’s got a nickname too! Straya is slang for Australia and Strayan for Australian.

Wanna become one of the Straya? Here’s our guide to top courses for PR in Australia.

17. Bludger

Someone who is dependent on others and is lazy! So a bludger would probably say "ta" instead of thanks heaps! (no, we’re not over that slang)

18. Footy

Footy is Australian slang for football! Another debate for soccer supporters!

19. Woop Woop

Woop Woop basically means the middle of nowhere! This also derives from the fact that pretty much most of Australia is inhabitable.

20. Dinkum

Dinkum is slang for unquestionably good or authentic, just as this slang is Dinkum!
Check out our dinkum blog on Christmas traditions in Australia

21. Cobber

A great friend, partner, and companion! We hope you make a cobber while you are in Australia.

22. Brolly

A cute Australian slang that stands for an umbrella! Imagine if there was a song that goes like “you can stand under my brolly”

23. Iffy

This Australian slang means something that is a little risky or unreasonable.

24. Manchester

This is a very smart Australian slang word; Manchester means items made of cotton, linen, etc., such as sheets, pillowcases, or tablecloths.

25. Mozzie

Honestly, strayans make every word sound so much fun, just like this slang that stands for mosquito.

26. Sanger

A sandwich is referred to as a "sanger." In the 1940s, the word sango was first used to refer to a sandwich; however, by the 1960s, sanger had replaced sango to refer to this staple of Australian cuisine.
Looking for places to grab a sanger? Check out the best cafes in Sydney and Brisbane.

27. Rooted

Rooted is slang for tired or broken! We would suggest not using it too often as there are very different meanings to this word, if you know what we mean!

28. Stoked

You might have heard this Australian Slang before; stoked stands for happy or excited about something.

29. Swag

No, no, it's not what you think it is. Swag in Australia is a sleeping bag or a single bed that you may roll up. So carry your swag for your next camping trip.
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30. Thongs

A funny word; that means something else in the US but flips flops in Australian slang.

Australian Slang Phrases

1. Put a sock in it

Next time you wanna tell someone to shut up, use this phrase instead!

2. Throw a shrimp on the barbie

A way to invite people for social gatherings under the sun. The Australian slang phrase was used in an advertisement for Australian travel starring actor Paul Hogan.

3. Have a go, you mug

You might hear it at football games or cricket matches from angry fans! Generally describes somebody who isn't giving it their all or taking any chances.

4. Hit the frog and toad

It is kind of like “hitting the road” but means “get out of here”.

5. Gone walkabout

This expression denotes that someone has left and won't be reachable again till they get back. Australian alternative of M.I.A.

6. What's the John Dory?

This phrase is used when you want to know the tea. John Dory is a fish found in Sydney Harbour, and Dory rhymes with a story,  so what's the John Dory?

7. Six of one, half a dozen of other

This Australian phrase denotes that the odds are 50/50. Any choice you make will probably have no impact on how things turn out.

8. Mad as a cut snake

The phrase is used to express extreme rage and fury. You can also say “mad as a snake”.

9. Dog’s breakfast

This phrase is used when there’s complete chaos or a mess; this has nothing to do with breakfast unless it's Dingo’s breakfast, which is said when there’s no breakfast.

10. She’ll be apples

This Australian phrase, which is still widely used today, means that everything will be alright.

11. Have a captain cook

This is another rhyming Australian phrase which means “have a look”.

12. Kangaroos loose in the top paddock

Australian version of things not quite right in one's head.

13. Spit the dummy

To lose one's temper, to indulge in a sudden outburst of rage or fury. This phrase is inspired from a similar reaction of a baby who spits out their "dummy" or pacifier and cries hysterically.

14. Good on ya

Australian slang for good to go, way to go, a phrase to praise someone.

15. Having a whinge

This is Australian slang for whining or complaining without any valid reason.

16. Tall poppy syndrome

when someone openly envies another person because of their success or accomplishments. a fun Australian phrase to you when someone is jealous of you.

17. Pull one’s head in

Another Australian slang to use when you want to tell someone to shut up and/or mind your own business. Frequently used when you are frustrated or want to confront someone.

18. My Shout

Australians are terrific at not splitting checks when paying for things like a round of drinks or the tab; instead, they take turns paying. So if your turn to pay, just say “my shout”.

19. Sus it out

Use this phrase if you want to uncover something that might or might not seem suspicious. 

20. Bloody oath!

Australian version of “I swear to God”, telling someone that you are saying nothing but the truth.

We hope that some of the Australian slang words in this blog have given you a better understanding of the language so you won't be lost the next time you're eavesdropping on a conversation in a Sydney restaurant. Just a tip, do not use this slang in official settings, and you yourself become one of the good Aussies.