A Guide to Understanding Australian Slang

English is one of the most widely used and understood languages in the world. However, each country that has English as main tongue tends to have its own lingo that many people can find confusing. Whilst Australia has no official language, English has become the de facto national language since European settlers touched the Land Down Under many years ago.

Many expats and travellers have noted that there are some peculiar phrases and words that are spoken by Aussies. If you’re planning on visiting Australia why not take a look at some of the most common slang phrases and words below to help yourself get accustomed to the jargon before your land.

A cold one

If your neighbour invites you over for a cold one you can expect to relax with a refreshing beer in hand.

Ankle biter

In the UK this phrase is often used to describe smaller breeds of dog. Down Under ankle biters are children.


An Australian favourite, a barbie is short for a barbeque – something you better become accustomed to as they are a great way to socialise.


An exclamation used to describe something positive. For example, if you’re living in Australia and achieve something good at work you may hear colleagues refer to you as ‘you beauty!’


A popular slur typically used to describe ‘rednecks’ but it has been adopted as a generic term for somebody who has acted distastefully or peculiarly.


You can’t start the day without it, breakfast.


Any man Down Under can simply be referred to as Bruce. It means an Aussie bloke.


If you’re out in the countryside you are ‘out in the bush’. You may hear people say ‘he’s gone bush’ which simply means you’re out in nature away from civilisation.


As the festive period approached prepare to refer to Christmas as Chrissie, as is the Aussie way.


You’re right to think of chickens! Clucky refers to a woman feeling maternal, think Mother Hen.


A common expression of surprise in Australia and a phrase most tourists and expats already know.


You can have smart daks, tracky daks or even dirty daks! Daks means trousers.


Similar to bogan, drongo is a mild slur that means ‘a fool’.


If you’re visiting the dunny you are heading to the toilet.


Again, a familiar expression to may – simply means hello.


If you like an alcoholic beverage you may be introduced to Goon in Australia. It’s a cheap, boxed wine that is dubbed as one of the best inventions to grace the country.

Hard yakka

Australians like to relax but they also like to work hard. If you’re involved in some hard yakka that means you’ve been working hard.


Short for hooligan, this phrase is used to describe people who are driving badly.


Every friendship group needs a larrikin. This term is used to describe a happy go lucky soul who is always up for a laugh.


If you’re nipping to the shop for some lollies you’re heading there to grab some sweets.


If you’re from the UK this one could really confuse you. Manchester is the term used to describe bed linen.

No wucka’s

An Australian way of saying no worries. People may also used no dramas.


If you’re looking for love Down Under you may have a pash or two – it means kiss.


If you’re asked to pop over to the rellies this means you will be meeting somebody’s relatives.


You little ripper! This means good, fantastic, great.

Shark biscuit

If you take your children to the beach don’t be surprised if they’re jokingly called shark biscuits by the locals.


Like Bruce, Sheila is used to refer to a woman.

She’ll be apples

Don’t panic, she’ll be apples. This phrase is used to state that everything will be okay.


A popular shortened version of Australia.


Not the underwear but actually flip flops! If you hear someone suggesting you wear thongs to the beach they are trying to protect your feet from the hot sand, not trying to catch you in as little clothing as possible.

True blue

If you hear somebody referred to as a true blue they were born and raised Down Under.


Whilst many people think about bush tucker and wichety grubs, tucker refers to all food in Australia.

Woop woop

If somebody lives in the woop woop it means they reside in the middle of nowhere, typically somewhere rural.

Related News