Sydney love: Do you speak Australian?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Well not to worry, I'm here to help! After nearly 3 years of living down under, I've come to the conclusion that Australian English is very different from North American English. Trust me on this one. When my mom came to visit in November I realized that a) She didn't understand half of what was being said around her and b) My vocabulary has changed spectacularly since living here. I've adapted. So without further ado, here is a short glossary of Aussie terms that I've compiled. And people, this is just the tip of the iceberg...

Aussie North American
Avo = Avocado
Arvo = Afternoon
Bikkie = Cookie
Bloody oath = So true!
Blue = Used as a noun to mean fight. E.g. I got in a blue last night.
Bludger = A lazy person
Bogan = White trash
Boot = The trunk of a car
Bottle-o = Liquor store
Buck's night = Stag party
Bush = The forest
Bushwalk = Hike
Cark it = To die, e.g. He carked it.
Chippy = Carpenter
Chrissy = Christmas
Chook = Chicken
Chuck a sicky = To call in sick for work.
Copper = Police Officer
Cozzies = Swimsuit
Daggy = Tacky
Doona = Duvet
Dunny = Toilet
Esky = Cooler
Fair dinkum = For reals. And I'm not even kidding - Aussies actually say this!
Fairy floss = Cotton candy
Flat white = A kind of coffee which is very similar to a latte, but they still have lattes here
Hen's night = Stagette party
Icy pole = Popsicle
Journo = A journalist
Jumper = Sweater
Lemonade = Sprite
Lollies = Candy
Maccas = McDonald's. As in, the fast food place.
Middy = A quantity of beer (like a pint, but it's not the same quantity as a pint)
Mozzie = Mosquito
Muso = A musician
Nappies = Diapers
Op shop = Thrift store
Pash = To make out. E.g. I pashed this guy last night. (p.s. I LOVE this one, so funny!)
Petrol = Gasoline
Postie = Mail person
Pram = Stroller
Prezzy = Gift
Ripper = Awesome
Sambo = Sandwich
Servo = Gas station
Singlet = Tank top
Snag = Sausage
Spag bol = Spaghetti bolognaise
Sparky = Electrician
Squizz = To have a look at something. E.g. Just taking a squiz.
Sticky beak = To have a look at something. E.g. I'm just having a sticky beak.
Sunnies = Sunglasses
Uni = University


  1. Well now I certainly have to disagree on the bit about us not speaking English.... Especially since those in the "Mother Land" call your cookies "biscuits" (or biccie for short) too. You guys just changed it because you ran away from home & said you were wild & crazy & could do what you want.

    "Bloody Oath"; how often do you hear this, really, especially in Sydney? Apart from people pretending to be Australian or mocking Alf Stuart from 'Home & Away', I couldn't tell you the last time I heard someone use this phrase sincerely. I would probably say the same of "blue", "fair dinkum" (WHO are you hanging out with? Do they have corks on their hats too?!), & "ripper" to a lesser degree. Everything else I agree with.

    What do you call a regular coffee with milk in America? Flat White seems perfectly reasonable to me! ;)

  2. Haha I love this!! I married an American and he is ALWAYS having to interpret what I'm saying when we speak with his family over Skype. It's rather funny.

  3. ha - funny :) i LOVE the word "pash" as well!! i pretty much use any time i get the chance ;) x

  4. I couldn't email you back via your comment on my blog (if you change your blogger profile settings you'll get a lot of replies to blog comments), but I just wanted to assure you I wasn't at all offended, just being cheeky. ;)

  5. Haha - definitely made me laugh! Just goes to show Aussie slang is alive and well.

  6. haha oh my gosh how funny! i had no idea things were so different over there!

  7. lol and then there is Aussie and Kiwi speak lol. Although we mostly speak the same language there are some differences.We call a duvet a duvet, doona just sounds wrong lol. We call cookies bikkies too. We call fairy floss - candy floss. Icy poles are called ice blocks and a jumper here is either a jersey or sweatshirt. Cozzies are togs and we call a beach home in the North Island a bach and in the South Island they are called cribs. One thing I had to remind myself when I went to Melbourne in October was to ask for a "skinny latte" we call it a trim latte in NZ if we don't want a full milk coffee. Great post. I hope you are able to plan a trip home for the future? or that some family may come to visit you soon.

  8. haha this is so awesome. i have tons of aussie friends and we are always trading words back and forth :)

  9. Haha! This is wonderful! I love some of these. Especially chuck a sicky. I'm not sure my boss would like that one though. I'll have to refer back!

  10. this was so fun to read! LOVE this! i've never been to Australia... but it's a dream!!!

  11. such a fun post. i'm gonna try to sneak some of these into my regular words. haha

  12. I've just recently started refering to sunglasses as sunnies, and now I know the origin! xx

  13. I love things that differ when you change geographical locations. :)

    This list was fantastic. Loved it Gaby!

    P.S. I can totally see why your mom had trouble understanding. I would have been in the same predicament.


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