Koala in Australia. Photo by David Clode, Unsplash

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I am an Australian, born and bred. I have lived all my life in Melbourne (that’s “MELburn” and not “MELborn”).

In Australia, we speak English. With our own accent. And also with some of our own words and expressions. Oh, and we love shortening words.

If you’re heading Down Under (we don’t say that much in Australia by the way!), here’s an alphabetical list of a few words and phrases to help you understand “Strayan.”

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Ankle biter – a small child

Arvo – afternoon

Aussie (pronounced “Ozzie”) – an Australian


Back of Bourke – a very long way away

Bail – to leave

Barbie or BBQ – Barbecue

Bathers/Togs/Cozzie – swimmers/swimming costume

Bikkie – biscuit

Bloke – a man (Note – “Bloke” can be the sign on public toilets/restrooms so learn this one!)

Bludger – a lazy person

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Bogan – an uncultured person

Bonnet – Hood (of a car)

Bonzer – great

Boot – Trunk (of a car)

Brekkie – breakfast

Bring a plate – bring food to an event (not literally bring a plate!)

Bush telly – campfire

BYO (Bring Your Own) – usually wine to a restaurant or food to an event


Cactus – dead, not functioning

Cappa – a cappuccino

Capsicum – peppers

Carked it – Died

Chips – Fries/French Fries

Chips – also means potato crisps!

Chockers – full or crowded

Chook – chicken

Chrissie – Christmas

Chuck a sickie – fake illness so as to have a day off work

Cot – a crib

Cranky – in a bad mood

Crook – sick

Cuppa – a cup of tea or coffee

Cut lunch – sandwiches


Dag – a funny person

Daks – trousers

Dinkum, fair dinkum – true, real, genuine, honest

Dipstick – a loser, an idiot

Dummy – a pacifier


Earbashing – nagging

Esky – a portable, insulated cooler for keeping drinks and food cold


Fair go – a chance

Fairy floss – cotton candy

Footy – (Australian Rules) football


G’Day – Hello

Galah – fool, silly person (also the correct name for a type of bird!)

Good onya – good for you, well done


Hooroo! – Bye!


Knock – to criticise

Knock back – refuse or refusal


Larrikin – a harmless prankster

Lollies – sweets, candy


Mate – friend

Maccas – McDonalds

Mozzie – Mosquito


Nappy – diaper

No drama – same as “no worries”

No worries – an expression of forgiveness or reassurance. In other words, “You’re welcome.”


Outback – interior of Australia

Oz – Australia


Petrol – gas

Postie – postman, mailman

Prawns – shrimp

Prezzy – present, gift


Quid (to make a quid) – to earn money/to earn a living


Rack off! – Get lost!

Rapt – pleased, delighted

Reckon! – You bet! Absolutely!

Rello – relative

Ripper – great, fantastic

Rip snorter – great, fantastic Eg “It was a rip snorter of a party”

Rock up – to turn up

Roo – kangaroo

Rubbish bin – Trash can


Sanger/Sanga– sandwich

Servo – petrol/gas station

Sheila – a woman (Note – “Sheila” can be the sign on public toilets/restrooms so learn this one!)

She’ll be right – it’ll turn out OK

Shoot through – to leave

Shout – a turn to buy for others (usually refers to a round of drinks)

Smoko – smoke or coffee break

Snag – a sausage

Spewing – angry

Spit the dummy – get very upset at something

Sprung – caught doing something wrong

Stoked – happy/pleased

Sunnies – sunglasses

Surfies – people who surf


Ta – thanks

Tall poppies – successful people

Tea – a cup of tea (usually with milk unless it is a herbal tea)

Tea – also means dinner!

Thongs – flip flops

Tinny – a can of beer

Tinny – also means a small aluminium boat!

Toilets – bathrooms/restrooms

Tomato sauce (pronounced tom-ah-to) – ketchup

Too right! – definitely!

Tradie – tradesperson

True blue – patriotic

Tucker – food


University/uni – College

Ute – pickup truck


Veggies – vegetables

Vego – vegetarian

Veg out – relax (perhaps in front of the TV)


Whinge – to complain

Whipper snipper – weed wacker

Whoop whoop (pronounced “woop woop”) – middle of nowhere


Yakka – work (noun)

So, there are a few words to get you started!

Time to start memorising (there’s another Australianism – we use “ise” instead of “ize”)!

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Author Bio: Leonie Jarrett lives in Melbourne, Australia with her Husband of more than 3 decades, her 4 adult children and her 2 Golden Retrievers. Leonie has variously been a lawyer and a business owner. Now that she is semi-retired, Leonie is loving writing about her life and her travels.

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