Australian slang

A collection of Australian slang words and phrases. Some are in current widespread use, whilst others are not; some may be derived or taken from overseas slang, but most are unique to Australia.

Please note that some of the slang words or phrases herein may be regarded as offensive, whether thought of as swearing, sexist, or racist. If you do not wish to be offended, then please do not read any further. Any such words or phrases contained herein are listed here in an academic role, as a documentation of cultural expressions, with regards to establishing a historical record of slang usage.

AB = Alan Border, cricketer (Test captain of the Australian cricket team during 1984 to 1994).

Abo = Abbreviation of Aboriginal; not necessarily intended as a derogatory term, but in modern times it is now almost always regarded as derogatory, even if not intended as such.

Acker = Jason Ackermanis, footballer.

aerial ping-pong = Australian Rules Football; a reference to the high kicks and leaps (such as in marking the ball).

all alone like a country dunny = Someone on their own or lonely.

amber fluid = Beer; a reference to its colour.

ambos = Ambulance medics.

Am I ever gonna to see your face again? = A line from the chorus of the song “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” by The Angels; in public performances, it is common practice for the crowd to follow the line by jumping in with the response “No way, get fucked, fuck off!”, chanted in tune with the music. Not slang as such, but a well-known part of Australian pub culture.

and the big men fly = A reference to Australian Rules Football, where players leap into the air to catch the ball (“take a mark”).

Anglos = Those of British ethnic descent. Not necessarily intended as a derogatory term, but in modern times it is now often regarded as derogatory even if not intended as such.

ankle biters = Young children.

Anzac = Originally a reference to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), it also refers to the members thereof, and is sometimes applied to Australian men in a stereotypical sense (rugged, tough, etc.). Whilst the word began as an acronym, with “ANZAC” correctly spelt with capital letters, it has a modern usage as a noun, with a meaning wider than that of the ANZAC military organization, and is therefore now also correctly spelt with just its initial letter capitalised, as “Anzac”.

apples = “She’ll be apples”, “it’s apples”, or “everything’s apples”. Meaning everything will be alright. Taken from the rhyming slang “apples and spice” for “nice”.

arse = Get rid of, e.g. “He got the arse from work the other day” (i.e. got the sack), “his girlfriend didn’t like him any more, so she gave him the arse”; similar to giving someone the flick.

arsed = Cannot be bothered, e.g. “can’t be arsed to cook dinner tonight”.

arseholes = People who are considered to be not nice, e.g. “they’re a bunch of arseholes”.

arsey = Someone who is considered lucky, e.g. “he’s an arsey bastard”.

arvo = Abbreviation of afternoon.

Asian = Not a slang term as such, but in the Australian context this usually refers to someone of East Asian ethnicity (from China, Japan, Korea, etc.), instead of referring to all Asians in general; this differs to the UK usage of the term, where “Asian” usually refers to someone of Central Asian ethnicity (from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, etc.).

as ugly as a hatful of arseholes = A negative reference to someone’s looks.

as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike = Someone, or something, that is not useful.

Auntie = A reference to the ABC (originally the Australian Broadcasting Commission, later renamed the Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Aus = An abbreviation of the word “Australia”. Also rendered as “Oz”.

Aussie = [1] Australia, or something from Australia; e.g. “Aussie is the best country in the world”, “Holden is an Aussie car”.

Aussie = [2] An Australian; usually with patriotic or nationalist overtones, being a reference to “fair dinkum Australians”.

Aussie battlers = Australians who are not rich, battling against life’s odds.

Aussie Cossie = Speedos; swimwear (Speedos being regarded as good Australian-designed bathers; that is, swimming costumes); also rendered as “the Great Aussie Cossie”.

Aussie Rules = Australian Rules Football.

Aussie salute = Waving away flies from your face.

Australia for the Australians = A nationalist catch phrase, demanding sovereignty for the native Australians (the Australian-born)

Australia for the White man = A nationalist catch phrase; it was the banner motto of The Bulletin magazine from 1908 until 1960.

awkward as a Chow on a bike = Acting in an awkward manner; from a negative reference to a Chinese person on a bike.

B&S = Bachelor’s and Spinsters; being a reference to a “Bachelor’s and Spinster’s Ball”, a dance party arranged for single people, or humourously referring to a gathering that is said to look like one.

back blocks = Referring to a place that is far from town, e.g. “they’re living out in the back blocks”.

back of Bourke = Living a long way out from civilization (Bourke was once considered to be the remotest town in New South Wales).

bailed up = Originally a reference to the demand made by bushrangers (who would say to their victims “Bail up!”, similar to “Stand and deliver!”), but now refers to someone being stopped, usually in an inconvenient manner or for a disagreement (to corner someone); e.g. “he bailed her up to talk about her decision”.

ball tearer = Something that is really good, “that was a real ball tearer of a game”.

Balmain folk dancing = A fight; from the Sydney suburb of Balmain, once considered to be a tough area.

Balmain basket weavers = Inner-city “trendies”, or left-wingers; from the Sydney suburb of Balmain, once a poor suburb, but later populated by “middle class trendies”.

Banana Benders = Queenslanders; as Queensland is the state where a lot of bananas are grown, being located in the tropical area of Australia.

Bananaland = Queensland.

Bananalanders = Queenslanders; i.e. people from Bananaland (a slang name for Queensland).

bandicoot = Used in reference to someone who is very poor or very unhappy, e.g. “as miserable as a bandicoot”, “as poor as a bandicoot”.

bangs like a dunny door = A female who is sexually promiscuous, e.g. “She bangs like a dunny door”. An alternative usage is “She bangs like a shithouse door”. The phrase has several longer variations, each ending with a reference to a strong wind, such as “She bangs like a dunny door in a cyclone / hurricane / gale / high wind / storm / wind”.

Bandywallop = A made-up place name for somewhere very far away, “up country”; examples of which include Bandywallop, Bullamakanka, and Woop Woop. Geebung and Speewah are also used in a similar manner, although these are names of actual places (both in Queensland); in this regard, their situation is similar to Timbuctoo, located in Africa (formerly part of the French Sudan colony; now in Mali, and spelt Timbuktu). These place names are typically used in tall tales, such as in the story “Crooked Mick of the Speewah”.

Barbie = [1] Abbreviation of barbeque.

Barbie = [2] Abbreviation of Barbara.

barney = To have a big disagreement, or a fight, e.g. “they had a real barney over that one”.

Barra = Abbreviation of barramundi (a type of fish).

barracker = Someone who barracks for a person or a group (i.e. supports them), usually used in regards to people barracking for a football team, e.g. “he barracks for Collingwood”.

bathers = Swimming costume; also known as a “cossie” (short for “costume:, i.e. swimming costume) or Speedos (from the brand-name “Speedos”, manufacturer of bathers).

beaut = Something that is great, e.g. “That’s beaut, mate!”, “You beaut!”, or “You bewdy!” may be called out when something good happens (derived from “beautiful”).

bee’s dick = Something very small, or used as an indication of a short distance or a close call, e.g. “he missed crashing into the truck by a bee’s dick”, “he was a bee’s dick away from being sacked” (derived from the imagined length of a bee’s genitalia).

berko = To go beserk; e.g. “he went berko when he was told he was sacked”.

bewdy = An exclamation regarding something that is great, e.g. “You bewdy!” may be called out when something good happens (derived from “beautiful”); “Bewdy Norm!” was a catch phrase in the 1970s.

beyond the Black Stump = Somewhere that is far away from civilisation.

bible basher = Someone who is outspokenly Christian (similar to a “bible thumper”).

big ask = Something that is difficult to achieve, or a big favour, e.g. “That’s a big ask”.

big bickies = A lot of money; can also be spelt as “big bikkies”.

bickies = Biscuits (“cookies” in American terminology); can also be spelt as “bikkies”.

big-note = When someone puffs up their own importance, e.g. “he was big-noting himself to impress that girl”.

big smoke = The city (can be used to refer to any big city).

bikkies = Biscuits (“cookies” in American terminology); can also be spelt as “bickies”.

billy lid = Rhyming slang for “kid” (child).

billy cart = A cart used by children; often such a cart is used for racing down hills (refers to a small cart that could be pulled along by a billy goat).

bingle = A minor collision or crash, usually a car crash, e.g. “they had a bit of a bingle on the main road”.

bite your bum = An emphatic way of telling someone “No!” or disagreeing with them, e.g. “Go bite your bum, chum”.

bitser = A dog of mongrel pedigree; from being bits of this pedigree and bits of that pedigree.

bitumen = A tarred road; from the bitumen used on roads.

blind Freddie = A phrase used in comparison to establish something that is obvious or easy, e.g. “it was so obvious that even Blind Freddie could have seen it”, “even Blind Freddie could have done it”.

blood’s worth bottling = A compliment, e.g. “She’s such a great woman, her blood’s worth bottling”; hence the term “bottler”.

blowie = An abbreviation for blowfly.

blow-in = A recent arrival, usually derogative; someone who is not really a part of the group; a reference to something that has just been blown in by the wind; e.g. “He’s just a blow-in”.

bludger = Someone who bludges; i.e. someone who does not work very hard, or does not work at all.

blue = [1] A disagreement or fight, e.g. “he got into a blue with that bloke”.

blue = [2] Feeling down or depressed, e.g. “he’s feeling pretty blue at the moment”.

bluey = Blue Heeler cattle dog.

Bodgies and Widgies = Bodgies (males) and Widgies (females) were part of a youth subculture that existed in Australia and New Zealand in the 1950s, similar to the Teddy Boy culture in the UK or the Greaser culture in the USA; Bodgies were regarded as uncouth louts.

bodgy = Something of dubious worth, e.g. “he build the shed, but it’s a bit of a bodgy job”; similar to the term “dodgy”, and possibly related to the term “botched” (to carry out a task badly, or carelessly; to “botch up” a job).

bogan = Someone who is perceived as being uncouth or uncultured.

bog in = To tuck into food, or to eat food with gusto, e.g. “Here’s the pie, go on, bog in”; also used as part of a humorous pre-dinner prayer, being “Two, four, six, eight, bog in, don’t wait”.

bolshie = Someone who is perceived as being very left-wing; an abbreviation from the Russian Bolsheviks (communists), e.g. “He sounds like a bit of a bolshie”, “Just listen to him, he’s a bolshie”.

bolt it in = To win easily, or to win by a great distance, e.g. “In the last race, he just bolted it in”.

bomb = A no-good car, of bad appearance, or poor mechanical worth, e.g. “It’s a bit of an old bomb”.

bonza = [See the entry: “bonzer”.]

bonzer = Excellent, e.g. “That meal was bonzer”; can also be spelt as “bonza”.

boofhead = Someone who is stupid or a bit slow, e.g. “he’s a bit of a boofhead”.

bookie = A bookmaker (professional betting men who accept bets at racetracks).

boomer = A large kangaroo (such as in the Rolf Harris song about “Six white boomers”).

boongs = Derogatory name for Aborigines; also used for Papua New Guineans (PNG used to be a territory of Australia).

booze artist = Someone who drinks a lot.

booze bus = Police van, used as a mobile breath-testing station (for police to determine if a driver’s blood alcohol level is over the legal limit).

bo peep = Look, e.g. “Have a bo peep at that over there”.

bottled = To smash someone (usually over the head) with a bottle, such as in a pub fight, e.g. “She bottled her boyfriend in a spat”, “He looks angry, like he’s going to bottle someone”.

bottler = Someone who is really good, from the complimentary phrase “your blood’s worth bottling”.

Brissie = An abbreviation for Brisbane, the capital of Queensland; can also be spelt as “Brizzie”.

Buckley’s chance = Low chance of something happening, e.g. “You’ve got Buckley’s chance of winning Tattslotto”; from the convict William Buckley who escaped from his jailers and fled into the bush, he was never caught and was considered to have very little chance of surviving (ironically, he survived by living with the Aborigines, but gave himself up about thirty years later). [See the entry: “you’ve got two chances”.]

buck’s party = A groom’s party held prior to his wedding, a males-only occasion; also referred to as a “buck’s night”; from the idea of a young deer (a buck) reaching adulthood.

built like a brick dunny = Someone of a solid and heavy build, e.g. “that boxer was built like a brick dunny”, “she was massive, built like a brick shithouse”.

Bullamakanka = Somewhere very far away. [See the entry: “Bandywallop”.]

bullshit artist = Someone who says a lot of “bullshit”, i.e. telling lies, fanciful stories (tall stories), or saying what is considered to be incorrect information.

bush bashing = Driving around in the bush, especially where there are no roads or only tracks (especially used regarding four wheel drive vehicles).

bushed = Tired, e.g. “Geez, I’m bushed”.

bushie = A country person (i.e. from “the bush”); can include a perception of a raw or unrefined country person.

bushranger = A criminal of the 1800s who lived in the bush and robbed people, especially travelers.

bush tucker = Food found out in the bush, growing wild; exemplified in the TV series “Bush Tucker Man” (which aired in the 1980s and 1990s, starring Les Hiddins).

bush week = Uncultured behaviour, referring to the possibility of people living in the bush (without refined manners) coming down to the city en masse and acting up, e.g. “Don’t lick your fingers. What do you think this is? Bush week?”

bust up = A disagreement or fight, e.g. “They had a bust up”.

buy back the farm = To have Australian resources under Australian ownership; “the farm” referring to Australia.

BYO = An acronym for “Bring Your Own”, originally regarding alcoholic drinks but now also used for other items.

Captain Cook = Rhyming slang for look, e.g. “Have a Captain Cook at this”.

carbie = Carburetor.

carn = Strine for “Come on”, especially for barracking for a team, e.g. “Carn the Blues!”

carry on like a pork chop = Someone carrying on in an unduly agitated manner, e.g. “he was carrying on like a pork chop” (from the insensitive or politically incorrect saying “carrying on like a Jew with a pork chop in a synagogue”).

carry on like a two-bob watch = Someone carrying on in an unduly agitated manner, e.g. “he was carrying on like a two-bob watch” (from having a cheap watch that goes too fast).

Chappelli = Ian Chappell, cricketer (Test captain of the Australian cricket team 1971 to 1975); the nickname came from the way his name was displayed on cricket score boards, as “Chappell, I”, which distinguished him from his brother, Greg Chappell (“Chappell, G”), who played on the same team.

chardonnay socialists = Leftists from well-off backgrounds.

chewy on your boot = Derogatory phrase called out at AFL matches (the imputation being that one hopes a footballer has chewing gum stuck on his boot so that he can’t kick the ball properly).

chigger = Tasmanian name for a bogan (from the Tasmanian suburb of Chigwell, which is regarded as a low-class area).

chink = A Chinese person; usually considered derogatory.

chockablock = Full, e.g. “the movie theatre was chockablock, there were no empty seats left”, “the train was chockers, no more passengers could get in”.

chockers = [See the entry: “chockablock”.]

chockos =An abbreviation for “chocolate soldiers”, a derogatory name given to the militia troops in World War Two, taken from a popular film called “Chocolate Soldiers”, with the imputation that if you put them in a fight that they would melt away when things got too hot.

chong = A Chinese person; usually considered derogatory.

choof off = To depart, usually (but not always) said in a friendly manner, e.g. “Go on mate, choof off, get going”.

chop chop = Illegal tobacco.

Chrissy = Abbreviation for Christmas.

chuck = [1] Throw; e.g. “Chuck us the stick over here”, “Hey, chuck us a can of beer, would ya?”

chuck = [2] To vomit, to “chuck up”, to “throw up”, e.g. “he drank ten beers, then he chucked up in the toilet”.

chuck a mental = Have a tantrum, get angry (the imputation is that one is acting like a mentally disabled person having a fit); also “chuck a wobbly”, chuck a mickey”, “chuck a fit”, e.g. “his mate nicked his girlfriend and he chucked a mental”.

chuck a sickie = To have a day off work, claiming to be sick whilst not being ill at all (falsely claiming sick leave).

chunder = To vomit.

City of Churches = Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.

Clayton’s = A non-alcoholic drink advertised (in a huge advertising campaign) as “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”, a phrase that then came to be commonly used to describe many other things that largely occur, or exist, in name only, e.g. “A Clayton’s campaign” (the campaign you have when you’re not having a campaign).

cleanskin = Someone without any criminal convictions, or in other circumstances someone with a “clean sheet”.

clippie = A tram conductor (who would clip tram tickets, using a hole punch).

clocked = To have hit someone, e.g. “he got angry and he clocked him”; presumably from hitting someone across the “dial” (“dial” being slang for face, as the face of a clock is called a dial).

clucky = Refers to a woman who is showing interest in babies, or in having a baby, from the “clucking” of a mother hen over her chicks.

Coathanger, the = A humourous name for the Sydney Harbour Bridge (a reference to the bridge being perceived as being in the shape of a coathanger).

cobber = Mate, friend.

cockies = [1] cockatoos, a type of bird.

cockies = [2] Often a derogatory term for poor bush farmers, possibly from having land so poor that they were jokingly said to only be able to farm cockies (cockatoos, a type of bird); however, it is now often used to refer to farmers in general.

Collins Street farmer = A businessman or investor who buys or invests in a farm or agricultural business (Collins Street is a street in Melbourne associated with businessmen, particularly with medical professionals); the New South Wales version is a “Pitt Street farmer” (after a street in Sydney associated with businessmen).

come the raw prawn = To try to impose on someone, or to seek an advantage.

coo-ee = A call used in the bush, especially if lost, or to attract attention; also used to indicate a long distance, e.g. “Tom wasn’t within coo-ee of the town”; can also be spelt as “cooee”.

coon = Derogatory name for Aborigines (from the American usage regarding Negros).

cop it sweet = When someone takes on a negative outcome without complaining.

cossie = An abbreviation of swimming costume, i.e. bathers.

cot case = Someone who should be put in a hospital bed (a hospital cot), usually regarding someone who is badly inebriated, but also used for someone who is mentally deranged.

couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery = Referring to someone who is incompetent.

couldn’t organise a root in a brothel = Referring to someone who is incompetent.

crack a fat = To get an erection.

cracked = [1] To achieve something in particular, or to succeed in life, e.g. “He cracked the exams” (possibly from someone successfully opening or “cracking” a safe).

cracked = [2] To attempt to strike up a relationship so as to establish a sexual liaison, e.g. “He cracked onto her”.

crawler = Someone who sucks up to authority figures, e.g. “He brought the teacher an apple, he’s a real crawler”.

crook = [1] Sick, unwell, e.g. “Davo can’t go into work today, because he’s real crook”.

crook = [2] To attack or abuse, to go crook at someone, e.g. “she went crook at him when she found out he ate all the chocolates”.

Crow-eater = Someone from South Australia.

crust = Used in reference to someone’s job, e.g. “What do you do for a crust?”

currency lads, currency lasses = Native-born Australians; from colonial times when British coinage was scarce and Australian traders produced their own promissory notes or “currency” (i.e. not British sterling).

Cup, The = The Melbourne Cup; the famous horse race conducted every first Tuesday in November.

curry = To attack or abuse, to give someone curry, e.g. “she gave him curry when he got back late from the pub”.

cut = Feeling hurt, e.g. “he was really cut when he got the sack”, “his girlfriend left him and he was really cut up about it”.

dag = Someone who is not fashionable, e.g. “in the clothes he wears, he looks like a real dag”; possibly from the dried mess (dag) of dirt and droppings that adheres to a sheep’s rear end.

dakks = Pants.

dead horse = Rhyming slang for “sauce”, usually regarding tomato sauce.

dead marine = An empty beer bottle (possibly of US origin or reference thereto).

dead set = Truly, e.g. “She’s a dead set stunner”, “I’m dead set against that”.

decko = To look, e.g. “Have a decko at that!”

deli = Delicatessen, a shop mainly selling cold cuts of meat, or a section in a supermarket where cold cuts of meat are obtained (however, in Perth the term for “milk bar” is “deli”).

did you get your license from out of a Cornflakes packet? = A phrase used against incompetent car drivers (the imputation being that their driving is so bad that they couldn’t have got their license by being a good driver and passing a driving test; a reference to when small toys were sometimes included in packets of cereal as promotional extras).

dillybag = A small bag, from the Aboriginal term for a bag or basket.

ding = A dent, especially in a car.

dingbat = An odd or eccentric person.

dingo = A treacherous and cowardly person; from the characteristics attributed to the Australian dog, the dingo.

dink = To carry someone as a passenger on a bike, e.g. “Go on, give us a dink on your bike”; also referred to as “double-dinking”.

dinkum = Genuine, authentic, on the level, e.g. “Fair dinkum, that’s what happened”.

dinky di = Truly Australian; similar to “true blue”, e.g. “He’s a dinky-di Australian”; from “dinkum”.

dirty on = To be unhappy with someone, e.g. “he’s dirty on her for flirting with his brother”, “she’s dirty on him for spending the night at the pub”; also to have the wrong thing done to someone, e.g. “he did the dirty on her”; similar to “filthy on”.

Ditch, the = The Tasman Sea, as the “ditch” between Australia and New Zealand; sometimes pronounced as “the dutch”, as a reference to the New Zealand style of pronouncing vowels.

divvy = Divide, e.g. “The stage manager divvied up the takings”; can also be spelt as “divvie”.

divvy van = Divisional van; a police vehicle, based upon a utility vehicle design, with a lockable rear section, used to transport prisoners (sometimes referred to as a “paddy wagon”); can also be spelt as “divvie van”.

do = To bash or fight someone, e.g. “I’ll do you!”; also as “do over”, e.g. “he did him over”.

dob = To inform on, e.g. “He dobbed him in to the cops”, “Watch out for that bloke, he’s a dobber”, “She dobbed in her classmate to the teacher”.

doesn’t know if he’s Arthur or Martha = Someone who is confused; similar to “doesn’t know if he is coming or going”.

dog = An informer, especially an informer for the police or prison guards, e.g. “Don’t trust that bloke, he’s a dog”, “He dogged on his mates”.

dole budger = Someone who receives unemployment benefits, but is perceived to not really be looking for work.

done like a dog’s dinner = To come a cropper; also rendered as “done like a dinner”.

dong = To hit or punch, e.g. “He donged him on the head”.

don’t go out in a wind = To infer that someone is “big-noting” themselves (a reference to someone “having tickets on themselves”, i.e. if they go out in a windy gale, the wind will blow all their tickets off).

Dorothy Dixer = A question asked in parliament by a member of the same party as a planned question in order to enable the responder to give a prepared speech; from a letters section in a newspaper where readers would write to Dorothy Dix, of which some were supposed to have been written by the newspaper staff themselves.

down = To be unhappy with someone, e.g. “He’s got a real down on him for smashing his car”; also rendered as a “downer”.

Down Under = Australia, e.g. as used in the song “I come from a land down under”.

drongo = Someone who is an idiot, stupid, clumsy or worthless, e.g. “He’s a real bloody drongo”.

droob = A worthless person, “He’s a complete droob”.

dropkick = Someone who is dumb or an idiot.

druggie = A drug addict.

drum = Reliable information, e.g. “Give us the drum”, “He’s got the real drum on what’s going on”.

duck-shoving = To move things around, to jockey for position, or to evade responsibility.

dud = Defraud, e.g. “He dudded me on the deal”.

duffer = Hapless person, e.g. “You’re a bit of a silly duffer, aren’t you?”; possibly from an unproductive or worthless mine, termed a “duffer”.

dunny = Toilet; derived from dunnekin (also: dunegan, dunikin, dunnakin, dunniken, dunnyken), from a joining of “danna” (slang for dung, excrement) with “ken” (slang for house).

dust up = A fight.

dry as a nun’s nasty = Very dry, or thirsty, e.g. “I’m as dry as a nun’s nasty”; based upon a disrespectful reference to a nun’s private parts from lack of sexual activity.

durry = A cigarette, e.g. “he smoked his durry outside”, “hurry for your durry”.

earbashing = To talk non-stop, to talk incessantly, or to tell someone off, e.g. “she gave him a real earbashing”.

Emma Chisit = A reference to the Australian pronounciation of “How much is it?”; based upon an allegedly true incident in which an author, at a book signing, was handed a book and asked “How much is it?” and the author signed the book “To Emma Chisit”.

ethnic = A non-Anglo person; in common usage, “ethnics” usually refers to non-Anglo Europeans.

fair dinkum = Genuine, authentic, on the level, e.g. “Fair dinkum, that’s what happened”.

fair go = To have fair treatment, e.g. “We believe in a fair go around here”; also used as a form of protest, e.g. “Fair go, mate!” as a demand for fair treatment.

fair suck of the sauce bottle = To call for fair treatment, e.g. “Geez, fair suck of the sauce bottle, give me a go”.

fang it = To move quickly, especially to drive fast, e.g. “We fanged it out of there”.

FAQ = Acronym for “Fair Average Quality”; not normally used now, especially as it would be confused with the modern acronym of FAQ, meaning “Frequently Asked Questions”.

few sandwiches short of a picnic = Someone who is perceived to be lacking in intelligence, e.g. “He’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic”.

FIFO = [1] Acronym for “Fit In or Fuck Off”.

FIFO = [2] Acronym for “Fly In, Fly Out”, referring to workers (particularly regarding mine workers in remote areas of Western Australia) who fly in to a remote locations, work for two to three weeks, then fly back to their homes for a week or so, and then fly back to work again.

filthy on = To be unhappy with someone, e.g. “He’s filthy on her for flirting with his brother”, “She’s filthy on him for spending the night at the pub”; similar to “dirty on”.

first cab off the rank = To be the first to take advantage of an opportunity; similar to “first in, best dressed”; from getting the first taxi cab from a queue of taxis (a taxi rank).

First Fleeter = Someone who arrived in Australia on the First Fleet, or one of their descendants.

fix you up = To pay someone, e.g. “Thanks for the loan, I’ll fix you up next week”.

fizzer = Something that fails to live up to expectations, e.g. “That show was a real fizzer”; presumably from a firework which fizzles rather than goes off properly.

flat chat = Very fast or very hard, e.g. “We’re working flat chat to get it done on time”, “He drove flat chat to get to the game on time”.

flat out like a lizard drinking = Working very hard, e.g. “he was flat out like a lizard drinking to get the project completed on time”; similar to “flat chat”.

flick = Get rid of, e.g. “He got the flick from work the other day” (i.e. got the sack), “his girlfriend didn’t like him any more, so she gave him the flick”; similar to give someone the arse.

fluff = Flatulence, to break wind.

footy = Australian Rules Football.

franger = A condom.

Fremantle Doctor = The cool breeze that blows in to Fremantle and Perth in the evenings.

fuck off, we’re full = A nationalistic slogan against immigration, often depicted upon a map of Australia.

fugly = Someone who is regarded as “fucking ugly”.

fush an’ chups = Fish and chips; a reference to the New Zealand style of pronouncing vowels.

Gabba = Wooloongabba, Queensland; “The Gabba” is a reference to the cricket ground in Wooloongabba.

Geebung = Somewhere very far away. [See the entry: “Bandywallop”.]

get your end in = To have sexual intercourse.

gi-normous = Very big; a combination of “gigantic” and “enormous”, e.g. “that cake was massive, it was gi-normous”; can also be spelt as “ginormous”.

give it a bash = To have a go at doing something, to attempt to do something, e.g. “I’ll give it a bash”.

give it a burl = To have a go at doing something, to attempt to do something, e.g. “Go on, give it a burl”.

glassed = To smash someone (usually in the face) with a glass, commonly in a pub fight, e.g. “He glassed that bloke at the bar”, “Watch out, he’s nasty, he might glass you”.

go bag your head = Telling someone to rack off, usually while in a dispute or disagreement.

go soak your head = Telling someone to rack off, usually while in a dispute or disagreement.

go walkabout = To disappear, go off somewhere, especially unexpectedly; from the practice of Aborigines to go off “walkabout” by themselves.

great Australian dream, the = The desire to own one’s own home and block of land.

great grey migration, the = When, in the winter season, thousands of retired Australians (“grey hairs”) from the southern states travel to Queensland for a holiday.

haven’t got a brass razoo = Being poor; a reference to a (non-existent) worthless coin, e.g. “I haven’t got a brass razoo” (although they never existed as such, some “brass razoos” were manufactured at one stage as a novelty item, based upon the saying).

happy as a bastard on Father’s Day = A reference to someone who is unhappy.

have a blue = To have a fight.

hawk the fork = Soliciting for purposes of prostitution; from hawk (to sell) and fork (vagina).

hu-mungous = Very big; an extrapolation of “huge”, e.g. “I saw Ayers Rock up close, it was hu-mungous”.

If your brains were dynamite they wouldn’t part your hair = Derogatory phrase, inferring that someone is not very smart.

in like Flynn = To seize an opportunity, often used in referring to a sexual opportunity; from the alleged activities of the Australian actor Errol Flynn.

it’s a boomerang = Used in reference to loaning an item (making it clear that it is not a present to keep, but a loan that is to be returned; like a boomerang, it is meant to come back), e.g. “You can borrow my hammer, but remember it’s a boomerang”.

it’s all over Red Rover = Indicating the finish of something, e.g. “Once the cops catch up with him, then it’ll be all over red rover”.

jacks = Police.

Jezza = Alex Jesaulenko, footballer.

K = Kilometer (abbreviation), e.g. “It’s 12 Ks to the nearest petrol station”.

King Gee = A successful clothing brand in Australia; the phrase King Gee was a slang expression referring to the reigning monarch of the time, King George V, hence “King G” (King Gee) was slang for “the tops” or “the greatest”.

knock your block off = To hit someone in the head, e.g. “Don’t do that again, or I’ll knock your block off”.

like a bandicoot on a burnt ridge = Someone who is very alone.

like a house on fire = People who get on well together, e.g. “they became great friends, they got on like a house on fire”.

Little Johnnie = John Howard (Prime Minister of Australia, 1996 to 2007).

lolly water = Soft drink.

may your chooks turn to emus and kick your dunny down = A phrase expressing ill-will, e.g. “I hope your chooks turn to emus and kick your dunny down” (referring to an outdoor dunny, or toilet).

more front than Myers = Someone with a lot of affrontery (also spelt as “effrontery”) or audacity; a reference to the long store frontage of the Myer department store.

muddies = Mud crabs.

not bad = Something which is good, e.g. “She’s not bad looking”.

not much chop = Not very good, e.g. “the car is not much chop, but it gets you from A to B”.

not the full quid = Someone who is perceived to be lacking in intelligence; refers to lacking enough coin to make up a full quid (dollar or pound); similar to “He’s only fifty cents to the dollar”.

not too flash = Not very good.

not worth a cracker = Something that is worthless, or close to worthless; may come from the worth of a cracker (biscuit), but possibly from the term “cracker” that denoted a clapped-out or near-worthless cow or sheep.

office bike = A woman who is sexually active with many men, i.e. gets “ridden” a lot (like a bike); also used in other settings, like “town bike”, e.g. “she’s the town bike”.

off like a bride’s nightie = To depart very quickly, e.g. “He took off like a bride’s nightie”

opinions are like arseholes, everyone’s got one = A phrase used to denigrate someone’s opinion.

OS = Abbreviation for “overseas”.

pav = Pavolva, a dessert food.

pick the eyes out = To acquire the best parts of something, e.g. “We were all offered some free apples, but he got there first, and picked the eyes out”; in early usage from the squattocracy’s practice of picking out the best bits of land, leaving only less worthy land for the rest; possibly from animals picking out the eyes of a dead animal as the best and juiciest part.

Pitt Street farmer = A businessman or investor who buys or invests in a farm or agricultural business (Pitt Street is a street in Sydney associated with businessmen); the Victorian version is a “Collins Street farmer” (after a street in Melbourne associated with businessmen, particularly with medical professionals).

point the bone = To wish ill upon someone; from the practice of Aboriginal “witch doctors” who would point a bone at someone in order to place a curse upon them.

pollie = [1] A parrot.

pollie = [2] A politician.

put the bite on = To ask someone for money, e.g. “He put the bite on her for a loan”.

Queensland: beautiful one day, perfect the next = An advertising catch phrase for the Queensland tourist industry. Often turned around for other purposes, e.g. “John Smith: dumb one day, stupid the next”. Similar to “a rooster one day, a feather duster the next”.

refo = Abbreviation for “refugee”; can also be spelt as “reffo”, e.g. “Another boat of refos landed on the north coast yesterday”.

relo = Abbreviation for “relative” (i.e. someone in the family), e.g. “I’m going to see the relos at Christmas”.

ron = A contraction of “later on”, e.g. “I’ll save this drink for Ron”; includes a play upon words, as if keeping aside something for someone named “Ron”.

rough as guts = Someone who appears to be uncouth, e.g. “she’s as rough as guts”.

sammidge = A sandwich.

sanger = A sandwich.

sangwidge = A sandwich.

sarnie = A sandwich.

schoolies = The school leavers’ end of year celebrations, as in “schoolies week”.

shithouse = [1] Toilet; originally a reference to an outdoor toilet (an “outhouse”).

shithouse = [2] No good, e.g. “that car is useless, it’s shithouse”; from a reference to an outdoor toilet.

shoot through like a Bondi tram = To depart very quickly, e.g. “when she became pregnant, her boyfriend shot through like a Bondi tram”.

Skips = A derogatory term for Australians of British ethnicity; a term that originated with those of Southern European ethnicity to refer to “Anglo” Australians; from the name of the Australian television series “Skippy”, about a kangaroo.

skite = Boast, e.g. “He was skiting about how good he was at footy”

Speewah = Somewhere very far away. [See the entry: “Bandywallop”.]

spit the dummy = Have a tantrum, get angry, be of bad temper, e.g. “They told him he wasn’t welcome at the party, and he spat the dummy”.

stick your bib in = To interfere, e.g. “Who asked you to stick your bib in?”

stone the crows = A phrase used when surprised, e.g. “Stone the crows! I didn’t know that was going to happen”.

stonkered = Exhausted.

stoush = Fight, e.g. “They had a real stoush at the back of the pub”.

Strine = A name for Australian slang or the way in which Australians speak; from the way in which some Australians pronounce the word “Australian” (which becomes “Ostralian” or “Strine”).

technicolour yawn = To vomit.

Thorpie / Thorpedo = Ian Thorpe, the famous swimmer.

toey = Restless, e.g. “He was pretty toey about having to stay inside all day”.

tough as fencing wire = Someone or something that is very tough.

true blue = Someone or something that is genuinely Australian or very Australian; the Australian usage differs to the UK usage of the term, where “true blue” refers to something related to the conservative side of politics.

tucker = Food.

ugly tree = A negative reference to someone’s looks, e.g. “She fell out of the ugly tree” (can also can be given in a longer form, such as “He fell out of the ugly tree, and hit a few branches on the way down”).

up the duff = Pregnant, e.g. “She’s up the duff”.

use your loaf = Use your head, think clearly, e.g. “Go on, have a think about it, use your loaf”.

Want a lift? Drink Bonox! = An advertising slogan for Bonox drink; subsequently also used in a jocular teasing fashion to give hitchhikers false hope of getting a lift, e.g. “Hey mate, want a lift? Yeah? Well, drink Bonox!”

Warnie = Shane Warne, the famous cricketer.

wet enough to bog a duck = Very wet, e.g. “It had rained that much, the ground was wet enough to bog a duck”.

Where did you get your licence? Out of a Cornflakes packet? = A phrase used against incompetent car drivers (the imputation being that their driving is so bad that they couldn’t have got their license by being a good driver and passing a driving test; a reference to when small toys were sometimes included in packets of cereal as promotional extras).

What else did you get for Christmas? = A common phrase used against a car driver sounding his horn (the imputation being that the driver was like a child with a new toy received at Christmas, who would play with it a lot, due to the excitement of having just received it).

Widgies = Females involved in an uncouth and loutish 1950s youth sub-culture. [See the entry: “Bodgies and Widgies”.]

wog = [1] Generally a person of Southern European or Mediterranean ethnicity, although could be applied to other European foreigners; usually derogatory, but sometimes used in a friendly manner; the Australian usage differs to the UK usage of the term, where “wog” refers to people of Central Asian ethnicity (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, etc.).

wog = [2] Being ill with a bug (germ), e.g. “He caught the wog” (stomach bug); also used as a play upon words, e.g. “She’s in bed with a wog” (referring to someone being ill, but with a double entendre of being in bed with a person of Southern European extraction).

Woop Woop = Somewhere very far away. [See the entry: “Bandywallop”.]

wuss = Someone who is cowardly, usually referring to males.

you’ve got two chances = Low chance or no chance of something happening, i.e. “You’ve got two chances, Buckley’s and none”; used as a play upon words regarding the (now closed) department store “Buckley and Nunn”, giving someone two chances: Buckley’s chance and none (that is, no chance either way). [See the entry: “Buckley’s chance”.]


  1. Jennifer says:

    Can I correct/add to your phrase ‘She bangs like a dunny door’? The full phrase is ‘She bangs like a dunny door in a cyclone’. Makes a bit more sense than just she bangs like a dunny door!

  2. M stehbens says:

    No budgie smugglers ? Or fair suck of the sav. ( give us a go)

  3. M stehbens says:

    Also Bun in the oven ( pregnant)

  4. Pissed to the eyeballs = drunk

    I mentioned this in passing amongst some American friends. After explaining it they still don’t believe it is a legit phrase.

  5. Keith weaven says:

    what about furphy?

  6. Spewin’ (adj) – objecting to a situation, place or thing causing the person to become vocally angry, agitated or upset.
    “Ah spewin’ mate, can’t believe she took the last roll.”

  7. Raymond says:

    Hello. I haven’t yet proceeded very far down the list here, but I have a comment about “arsey”.
    Here is what you give as its meaning:
    arsey = Someone who is considered lucky, e.g. “he’s an arsey bastard”.

    I am ignorant of that usage for arsey.
    My belief of that usage is that it means something like PUSHY, perhaps RUDE, perhaps ill-mannered.
    So I looked at G.A. Wilkes’ “A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms”, and found support for my contention in this part of his entry:
    ARSE: 1 Effrontery, ‘cheek’, as in the phrase ‘more arse than Jessie’ …

    However, when I look at his second meaning, this seems to cover your given usage:
    ARSE: 2 Equivalent to ‘tail’ (U.S.): sexual access to women; THE GOOD FORTUNE this implies. … (my emphases).

  8. Ha!
    You missed one!

    “The Budgie Smuggler!”
    (Aussie Cossie)

    There was also some slang relating to the Bondi Tram that I am unable to recall.
    This was a Tram service that came out of Bondi Junction and went downhill along Bondi Road all the way to Bondi Beach.

    Ahhh, the days of Dragon playing at the Bondi Hotel, opposite the beach.
    Days of thunder and glory:)


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