Australian Dialect

In the last post, I discussed my attempt to write dialogue in the Australian dialect. While we were in Australia, my wife and I collected a list of unique Australian terms. I must give credit to my son and his wife for finding two glossaries in guidebooks. For the fun of it, I thought I would share these with you.

In doing so, I take a big risk. At least two of my readers are Australian. I know they will correct any errors or misrepresentations I have made. On the other hand, I am sure they could have just as much fun compiling a list of slang from one of the regions of the United States.

It is important, however, to recognize that we are not trying to make fun of anyone. We are analyzing slang.

I trust my use of these words has done a better job of conveying the Australian dialect than had I only tried to catch the pronunciation phonetically.

Ausi to American
accommodations — lodging
aerobridge – jetway
arvo – afternoon
baby minding – baby sitting
bail out – leave
banana bender – resident of Queensland
barbie – BBQ
barrack – cheer on a team
bastard – form of address (to males only)
battler – someone who struggles or tries harder
beaut – great
big mobs – a large amount
bikies – motorcyclists
billabong – water hole or oxbow lake
billy – container for boiling water
bitumen – surfaced road
bloke – man
blokey – exhibiting male characteristics
blow-in – stranger
blowies – blow flies
bludger – a lazy person
Blue – nick name of a redhead
blue – to have an argument
booking – reservation
boomer – large male kangaroo
booze bus – police van for random alcohol testing
bot – to scrounge or beg for something
bottle shop – liquor store
breaky – breakfast
brekky – breakfast
Buckley’s – no chance at all
bullroarer – Aboriginal instrument
burl – have a try (give it a burl)
The bush – Country side
bushbash – force your way through trackless bush
bushranger – outlaw
bushwalking – hiking
capsicum – bell peppers
caravan – camper or camping trailer
cark it – to die
car park – parking garage
cheers – A salutation upon parting
chocka – completely full
chook – chicken
chuck a U-ey – make a U-turn
clobber – to hit: clothes
clout – to hit
coach – bus
come good – to turn out all right
cooler — esky
counter meal, countery –
pub meal
crack the shirts – lose your temper
crook – poorly made
cut lunch – sandwiches
daks – trousers
dead horse – tomato sauce
digger – male (becoming archaic)
dill – idiot
dinkum, fair dinkum – genuine
dinky-di – the real thing
docket – sakes receipt
Dreamtime – time of creation in Aboriginal spiritual stories about creation.
dunny – outdoor lavatory
earbash – v. to talk nonstop
esky – insulated box or cooler
fair go – give us a break
fit out – v. outfit
flake – shark meat when used in fish and chips
flog – sell, steal
footie – Australian football
freshie – freshwater crocodile
game – brave
gander – v. to look
g’day – good day
give it away – give up
give way – v. To yield
gnamma – water holes
good on ya – well done
grid – cattleguard
humbug – the begging of cigarettes or drinks
hire – to rent
icy-pole – frozen lollipop
iffy – questionable
jackaroo – male trainee on a station
jillaroo – female trainee on a station
jocks – men’s underpants
jumped-up – arrogant
kerb – curb
knock – criticize
knocked endwise – amazed
lay-by – layaway purchase
lemon – faulty product
let – v. to rent
lift – elevator
lob in – drop in to see someone
lollies – sweets, candy
mind – take care or watch out for
mobile – cell phone
nil – zero (score: nil all)
no hoper – hopeless
no worries – OK
off-sider – assistant or partner
outback – remote region
overtaking – passing
paddock – a fenced pasture
pattie – a meat patty
pensioner – a retired person or senior citizen
piss – beer
piss turn – drinkiing party
pissed – drunk
pissed off – annoyed
piss weak – no good
pitch – playing field
plonk – cheap wine
Pom – English person
(Prisioner of mother England)
ponies – race horses
postie – mailman
prawns – shrimp
puddings – desert
punter – person betting or inquiring
Queenslander – style of house with varandah
queue – n. a line
queue – v. to line up
rego – car registration
return – round trip
ring – phone call
root – sexual intercourse
rooted – tired, broken
RSL – Returned Servicemen’s League
rubbish tip – transfer station
saltie – saltwater crocodile
Salvo – member of Salvation Army
sanger – sandwich
schooner – large beer glass
scrub – brush
sea wasp – jellyfish
sealed road – bitumen road
session – long drinking bout
shank’s pony – travel on foot
shark biscuit – inexperienced surfer
sheila – woman
shoot through – leave in a hurry
shout – buy a round of drinks
sickie – day off of work for malingering
skimpy – scantily clad bar waitress
slab – 24 stubbies or tinnies
smoke door – fire door
smoko – tea break
snag – sausage
sparrow’s fart – dawn
sticky – candy
stinger – jellyfish
strides – trousers
stroppy – bad tempered
stubby – 375 ml bottle of beer
sunbake -sunbathe
swag – canvas-covered bedroll
sweets – desert
tariff – price
tall poppies – achievers
take away – take out (food)
tarmak – asphault
tea – evening meal
tender – n. a bid
thingo – thing or whatchamacallit
tinny – 375 ml can of beer
togs – swimming costume
tonne – metric ton
too right – absolutely
trucky — truck driver
true blue – genuine
tucker – food
two-up – traditional coin flip game
U-ey – u-turn
utility – pickup truck
ute – pickup truck
wag – v. to skip school or work
way out – exit
whilst – while
yabbie – freshwater crayfish
yakka – work
yobbo – uncouth, aggressive person
yonks – a long time
youse – plural of you


About Reynold Conger

Reynold Conger is a retired scientist, engineer and teacher. Now writing fiction. His books are CHASED ACROSS AUSTRALIA, MY KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR and REDUCING MEDICAL COSTS (AT THE COST OF HEALTH). He has also started a series of novelas called THE RICHARD TRACY SERIES. Residence: New Mexico, USA Hobbies: gardening, animals and running. website
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