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Australian Words and Phrases

Understanding Common Aussie Words and Phrases


Friends resting in park after rollerblading
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To better understand the Australian languge, here's a list of some common Australian words and phrases.

While some of these words and phrases may be colloquial in usage, they are commonly used in spoken or written Australian.

They are neither Aussie slang, nor the more esoteric rhyming slang, although the distinctions are too fine to worry about.

Britons will find the Australian language easier as the United Kingdom and Australia do have many similar, even identical, words and phrases commonly used.

So here's something to barrack for

Particularly for North Americans (Canadians included), here are some common Aussie words and phrases to know:

barrack for. Cheer. as in barrack for the Blues (a sports team). Warning: Don’t use root willy-nilly unless you know what it means in Australian.

battler. Someone who tries hard despite money problems.

bitumen. Paved road, asphalt.

bludger. One who won’t work and usually relies only on Social Security payments.

bonnet. Hood (of a car)

boot. Trunk (of a car)

bottle shop. Liquor store.

bushfire. Forest fire, wildfire.

bushranger. Outlaw, highwayman.

BYO. Bring your own (wine). Said of restaurants without a liquor licence.

cask (of wine). Boxed wine ready to drink from a spigot.

chemist, or chemist’s. Pharmacy or drugstore.

come good. Turn out okay.

cut lunch. Sandwiches.

deli. Milk bar, delicatessen.

esky. Insulated container (usually to keep beer cold).

flake. Shark meat, what you usually get in fish and chips.

give it away. Give up.

grazier. Cattle or sheep farmer.

holidays (sometimes colloguially shortened to hols). Vacation.

knock. Criticise.

lamington. Sponge cake covered in chocolate and coconut.

lift. Elevator.

lolly. Candy.

lay-by. Buy on instalment without taking the goods until fully paid for.

milk bar. Usually a general store.

newsagent. Newspaper shop.

non-smoking area. No smoking area.

offsider. Assistant or partner.

out of pocket. Spent more than was received.

pavlova. Meringue and cream dessert.

perve. Be a peeping Tom, or to look with lust. From pervert.

pictures. The movies, cinema, as in Let's go to the pictures.

ratbag. A weirdo or something like that.

ropable. Extremely angry or bad-tempered.

sealed. Paved, as in sealed road. Not a dirt road.

shellacking. Criticism for a thorough and shameful defeat.

shonky. Dubious, unreliable.

shopstealing. Shoplifting.

sunbake. Sunbathe.

takeaway. Take out, to go.

windscreen. Windshield (of a motor vehicle).

Also check out Strine and Aussie Slang and Rhyming Slang.

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