Australianisms that I actually use

I tend to think that I don’t really use Australianisms or slang so much, but then, I WOULD think that wouldn’t I? Some words or phrases are just so uniquely ‘Australian’, and I don’t realise it until I use them and find that they are completely incomprehensible to someone who isn’t Australian. It’s even funnier when I’m called on them (“Why do you say it like that?!”) because there are heaps that I can’t actually make ANY sense of myself. In short, I am often talking nonsensical gobbledygook.

So, for your amusement, here is a (non-exhaustive) list of Australian words and phrases that I actually use:

average – not good, worse than average. Usage: “Yeah that pie was really average.”
back of Bourke (pronounced ‘bakkaburk’) – wayyy out in the country
bevan – stereotypical revhead (see ‘revhead’). Also called ‘westies’ in Sydney because they are often found in the Western suburbs
big call – making a statement that might be stretching credibility. Usage: “Saying you’re going to win is a big call!”
big note – brag. Usage: “Nobody likes it when you big note yourself.”
bikkie – biscuit (cookie)
boring as batshit – really really boring
budgie – budgerigar
budgie smugglers – speedos (see ‘dick togs’)
BYO – Bring Your Own. In relation to eateries, it means you can bring your own alcohol
chemist – drug store
chuck – throw. Usage: “Chuck the ball!” Also, oddly, used specifically with ‘sickie’ (as in ‘to chuck a sickie’)
clubbies – lifesavers (as in ‘the ones who belong to the clubs that patrol our beaches’, not as in ‘candy’)
cockie – cockroach
corkage – price you pay for bringing your own alcohol to an eatery
cozzie – short for ‘swimming costume’ (see ‘togs’). Note: NOBODY actually says ‘swimming costume’, that would be weird!
dacks – pants
dag – literally the matted wool that hangs from a sheep’s arse. Colloquially, an affectionate term for someone uncool, a dork. Usage: “You’re such a dag!”
dagwood dog – corndog
dick togs – refers to a particular style of small, tight men’s swimming costume (typically Speedos)
digger – Australian (and NZ) soldiers (originally coined to refer to WW1 troops in Turkey)
dob – to tattle tale, snitch. Usage: “You shouldn’t have done that, I’m gonna dob!”
doona – bed quilt
DTs (pronounced ‘dee tees’) – short for ‘dick togs’.
Ekka – Brisbane exhibition (annual fair where country folk show off their cows and etc)
esky – large insulated box you put cold things in for a picnic (ice box?)
fair call – as opposed to a ‘big call’, a pretty reasonable statement can be referred to as a ‘fair call’
fairy floss – cotton candy
flake – (on the menu in takeaway fish shops) It’s shark, folks!
footy – football, I think usually this refers to Rugby Union, but I use it for all kinds of football because I DON’T CARE!
fruit loop – crazy
give it a burl – have a shot at it. Usage: “I’ve never built a box girder bridge before, but I’ll give it a burl.”
jug – electric kettle
jumper – warm pullover of any kind
kindie – kindergarten
lolly – sweets, candy. Note: ‘Chocolate’ is not a ‘lolly’
Macca’s – McDonalds. Note: They are officially changing signs to ‘Maccas’ here
mozzie – mosquito
nappy – diaper
nipper – young lifesavers
ocker – stereotypical Australian
onya – literally ‘on you’. Short for ‘good on you’, a pat on the back
op shop – thrift store
pash – snog, making out, long passionate kissing
pissed – drunk (if someone is angry, they are ‘pissed off’, not just ‘pissed’)
pokies – poker machines
pot (context: in a bar) – A 285ml glass of beer (unique to Queensland and Victoria)
pozzie – position
prezzie – present (fine, let’s just face it: Australians take ANY word, shorten it, and add ‘ie’ on the end!!)
revhead – mostly refers to males (but can be female) who have an unholy interest in their hotted-up cars, who drive around showing off their hotted up cars, are generally young, obnoxious, loud, prone to violence and really rude. Note: One can be a revhead without actually owning a car, though credibility there is stretched
road train – semi trailer with three or more trailers
root – to have sex with (okay, I don’t use this myself, but it makes me laugh to see ‘Roots’ on a t-shirt)
rubber neck – to stare at something, esp tourists. Usage: “The traffic was really slow because everyone was rubber necking at the accident…”
schooner – a measure of beer (425 mL, 15 oz., 3/4 of a pint)
shout – usually with drinks, to buy a round. Also in general, to treat someone. Usage: “My shout” or “Are you shouting?”
sickie – taking a sick day off work when you aren’t sick. Usage: “I chucked a sickie.”
sook – being a baby by pouting or whining
sooky la la – like a sook only worse. Usage: “Stop being such a sooky la la!”
spit the dummy – get upset. Usage: “Wow, he really spat the dummy!” Also, to ‘have a dummy spit’.
squizz – look. Usage: “Have a squizz at this!”
stuffed – depends totally on context. Can mean ‘tired’ or ‘full of food’ or ‘totally screwed’.
sunnies – sunglasses
surfies – people who surf
taking the piss – making fun of something/someone
thongs – flip flops
togs – generic term for what you wear to go swimming in
trackies – track suit (usually refers to just the pants)
tracky dacks – track suit pants (see also ‘trackies’ and ‘dacks’)
treadly – bicycle
two-pot screamer – someone who gets drunk really quickly (see ‘pot’)
uggies – ugg boots
undies – underwear
uni – university
unit/flat – apartment
ute – utility vehicle. Any sort of truck with a tray on the back
veggies – vegetables

Crikey, that’s a long list!!

Note: I hate to disappoint you though: I NEVER say ‘crikey!’

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  1. What you call an “esky” is what most Americans call a “cooler.” It seems “Esky” was a brand of cooler that has become generic in Australia. Like how people call any tissue a Kleenex, or any trash bin a Dumpster.

    1. Ahh… cooler! Yes!

      And how happy must marketing people be about their brand becoming the ‘term’ for something (band-aid comes to mind there too!).


  2. Many of these I hear and use regularly. I’ve also added come Americanisms. Or perhaps Midwest-isms.

    back of Bourke – BFE (Bum Fuck Egypt)
    boring as batshit – batshit [adjective] is relatively common in the States
    BYO – Used in the States; also, BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer)
    chemist – pharmacy
    chuck – Used in the States
    cozzie – swim suit
    dick togs – we use Speedos regardless of brand
    esky – cooler
    footy – Note: Americans get a lot of shit for using ‘soccer’ but it originated in the UK. I don’t know if it is still common vernacular. A ‘soccer’ is a person who plays football. A ‘footballer’ is a person who plays Rugby Union.
    fruit loop – Used in the States (less common)
    give it a burl – give it a whirl
    jumper – Used in the States
    lolly – lolli (only refers to suckers/candy on a stick)
    Macca’s – I use ‘Mickey D’s’ personally
    pissed – wasted
    pokies – slot machines
    stuffed – Used in the States as ‘full of food’
    thongs – Used in the States (less common)
    togs – again, swim suit
    undies – Used in the States
    uni – Used in the States
    unit/flat – Used in the States
    veggies – Used in the States

    1. Yeah, but “batshit” in the U.S. generally refers to someone being crazy, not bored or boring. Meanwhile, fruit loop is more likely to mean homosexual than crazy in the U.S.

      I know what a unit/flat is, but I never hear it used by Americans. I’m sure there are a few people who use it, but “flat” as a term for an apartment is something I associate primarily with the British.

      1. @Neophyte,

        “Meanwhile, fruit loop is more likely to mean homosexual than crazy in the U.S.”

        I’ve heard fruit loop to mean crazy and even used it, I have heard fruit cake to be mean homosexual. And yes I am probably the biggest fruitcake around! hahaha


    2. I imagine there are some regional differences. I had a fellow Australian say that they had never heard of some of these.

      “Americans get a lot of shit for using ‘soccer’”

      Here ‘footy’ is only ever applied to the codes with the funny shaped ball. Soccer is always ‘soccer’…


  3. I have used these in the same context as you define them: big call, boring as batshit, schooner, pissed,fruit loop, stuffed, and undies.


    West Virginia Slang:

    about to find pups – Pregnant

    Act above your raisin- As as though your childhood is beneath you

    biggidy- high and mighty

    Blow George – A big talker

    Didn’t say “dog”- Left without saying goodbye

    Just to name only a few. ~smiles~


    1. “Schooner”, really? Wow. Okay that one surprises me. It’s not even used in all states here, it’s very localised.

      The West Virginian ones are fun!!


  4. Hmmm, I just learned today what “ugg boots” are. Had never heard of them before. I must be out of the loop.

    “Chuck” is also used for “throw” in the US. For vomiting though, we use “upchuck”. (But there is no “downchuck”.)

    “Cockie” for “cockroach” seems a little too affectionate a term for the little bastards. Also, it looks too much like “cookie”, and I don’t want those two nouns to be confused in any way.

  5. As promised Ferns… using aussie-isms to tell you a short (hopefully hilarious) story…

    “Have a squiz at this.

    I finally got off my doona; pulled on my trackies, thongs and sunnies; and took a treadly to the beach. Almost got run over by a roadtrain on the way…

    Once at the beach – there I sat, like a rubber neck, watching the surfies and some delicious men in their togs… and some not-so-delicious ones in their dick togs!

    Dag… I didn’t know cozzies came that molded!”

  6. Wot?? No strewth or strain the flamin’ crows mate ? I* don’t believe it for one second Missy * eyes you all suspicious like* And further more young lady not ONE mention of prawns or barbies I call shenanigans on this


    1. *chuckle* There are a bunch of common Australianisms that I NEVER use. I think that might be un-Australian, and I should probably hang my head in shame…


  7. The internets ate my last comment on this, but it was mostly what other people have said. Lots of these are familiar to me, though I assumed they were britishisms only.

    I’m pretty sure you made at least one of these up. I’m not sure which one (I suspect sqizz) but I can’t believe all of these are real.

    1. We colonials like to keep random things from our imperial overlords…

      And I never made any one of these up! They’re all fair dinkum!


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