A Traveler’s Guide to Australian Slang

A Traveler’s Guide to Australian Slang

Make sure you’ve got a handle on Australian slang before your holiday, so when someone tells you to pop to the bottle-o for some plonk, you’ll know what’s going on.

You may think you know how Aussies speak, but if you’re gleaning that information from films like Crocodile Dundee and The Castle, you may be a little off the mark. Ensure that you don’t embarrass yourself - check out this list of slang that Australians do actually use.
Arvo: afternoon (“Where were you yesterday arvo?”)
Barbie: barbecue (“We’re having a few mates over for a barbie on the weekend.”)
Bathers: swimming clothes (“Don’t tell me you forgot to bring your bathers to the beach!”)
Bottle-o: liquor store (“I’m just going to nip down to the Bottle-o before it closes.”)
Budgie smugglers: speedos, swim briefs (“No one wants to see you in your budgie smugglers, mate.”)
Bush: forested wilderness (“You don’t want to get lost out in the bush.”)
Cot: baby’s crib (“Just bought a brand new cot for the little one.”)
Chook: chicken (“Close the gate behind you so the chooks don’t get out.”)
Chuck a sickie: skip work because of sickness, real or fake (“You can’t just chuck a sickie every time you’re hungover.”)
Crook: sick (“I’m feeling a bit crook after that curry last night.”)
Dog’s breakfast: a mess (“You’ve made a real dog’s breakfast of the whole thing haven’t you?”)
Dunny: toilet (“When was the last time anyone cleaned the dunny?”)
EFTPOS: direct debit (“Are you paying by cash, EFTPOS or credit card?”)
Esky: ice cooler (“We caught so many fish we were running out of room in the esky.”)
Granny flat: small dwelling built behind the main house (“He’s living in a little granny flat out the back of his parent’s place.”)
Heaps: lots (“We have heaps of time, don’t worry.”)
Kip: nap (“Next time I catch you taking a kip on the job, you’re done.”)
Knackered: very tired (“I can’t go out tonight - I’m completely knackered.”)
Lippie: lipstick (“I didn’t even have time to do my lippie.”)
Maccas: McDonalds (“Maccas might taste like crap but at least they have a 24/7 drive thru.”)
Mate: friend, or term of familiarity (“Thanks for giving me a hand, mate.”)
Mate’s rates: cheaper deal for friends (“I know that’s the usual price, but I get mate’s rates, don’t I?”)
On the dole: receiving unemployment payments from the Department of Labour (“You need to find a job, mate. You can’t sit around on the dole forever.”)
Plonk: cheap wine (“Just bring a bottle of plonk, it’ll be that kind of night.”)
Scratchy: a scratch-and-win lottery ticket (“The amount I’ve spent on scratchies probably adds up to a small lottery win.”)
Shonky: dodgy, suspicious (“He’s involved in some pretty shonky business deals - I’d stay well away.”)
Spit the dummy: lose your temper (“He spat the dummy when I told him we didn’t want him on the team.”)
Tinny: small aluminum boat (“I’m taking the tinny out for a spin on Saturday; want to come along?”)
Ute: utility vehicle, pick up truck (“Just chuck the whole thing in the back of the ute, it should be fine.”)
Whinge: whine, complain (“I told you it was going to be hard, there’s no point whinging about it now.”)
Wuss: coward, softie (“It’s just a spider, don’t be such a wuss.”)
Taken a trip to the land down under and think we’re missing some essential Aussie slang? Let us know in the comments!

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Photo: Richard Fisher, Flickr Creative Commons

Written By: Kristof Haines

It’s funny how motorhome memories stick with you. I can still recall a motorhome vacation my family took when I was five years old and how awesome I thought I was, tucked away in a loft bed above the cab. From revealing unique destinations to providing tips and tricks, it’s my mission to help others build great motorhome memories too.