Want to know how to understand Australians? Learn these everyday slang words to help you understand Australians when they speak English! ⭐️
Practice your Australian English accent with me in my imitation lessons! Find out more here: https://www.mmmenglish.com/imitation
CLICK HERE to read the full lesson transcript.
More English lessons recommended for you:
Ah Australia, the world's largest island. The smallest continent. A big rock. And a very pretty harbour. You should definitely visit if you have the chance. You absolutely should.
I'm Emma from mmmEnglish and I'm also Australian. Here on YouTube, you are always asking me about where I'm from so I guess I don't say it enough. But here in Australia, we speak English with a distinctly Australian accent which has some unique features, some that are similar to British English and others that are more closely aligned with American English pronunciation.
But for most people who come to visit, whether they're an English speaker or not, they're confused or they're dumbfounded, surprised by our slang vocabulary.
So in this video, I'm gonna share forty slang expressions that you need to know if you plan to move here, to visit here, to study here, or even if you're just hanging out with some Australians in some other part of the world.
This lesson will help to reveal that mysterious secret slang language that Australians use to communicate.
A little history lesson first. Australia is a British colony so our grammar rules and our spelling rules are the same as British English and that means they're a little different from American English.
Our sense of humour is also quite similar to Brits, even some of our slang words are the same. That sense of humour is dry, it's sarcastic.
It can sometimes take a little bit of getting used to, especially because with sarcasm, it often involves saying one thing but the tone and the body language is completely opposite, you know, like a joke is completely opposite, you know, like a joke that's said with a completely straight face so it's really hard to know if they're actually joking or not.
We are generally pretty easygoing people, you know, we definitely don't take ourselves too seriously. In fact, we're usually laughing at ourselves, making fun of our mates, joking around.
So in Australia, if an Australian is making fun of you, quite often it means that they actually like you, quite often it means that they actually like you, it's a weird way of showing affection.
The best thing that you can do is make an Australian laugh, you will be mates for life.
mate = friend
Now a mate is a friend, right? This is one of the most important words to an Australian. It's usually an affectionate word, you know, meaning friend but mate can also be your partner, your brother, your sister, your son, your daughter, your friend, your colleague and a mate can also be a total stranger.
Anyone can be called mate, right?
- Mate, how are you?
- Cool, I will catch you later mate.
It's super friendly. But with a shift in tone, it can also be used to confront someone about a problem.
- Listen, mate, we need to talk about this.
- Mate, calm down I'm not trying to start an argument.
In fact, the Australian police usually walk up to any situation and start with “Hey mate” like friend, relax. I'm here to help.
Now I know this concept of mate and mate, it could be really confusing, right? But try to use facial expression and tone as a guide, you know, is it friendly? Is it serious?
If you're doing the wrong thing and someone walks up to you and says “Mate, what do you think you're doing?” you know, they're pissed off right and that's Australian for annoyed.
pissed off = annoyed
Now a lot of slang words in Australia follow a really similar pattern. You take the original word and you shorten it and then you add either EEE, AHH or OH at the end. Now this is really, really common.
These words are really commonly used all the way across Australia, across all levels of society. You'll hear the Prime Minister using these words along with a truck driver that's driving across the Nullarbor which is the big dirt patch in the middle of Australia.
Now there are literally hundreds of funny words like this and that can be really intimidating to try and learn but the ones that I'm including in this video are ones that I use regularly myself, ones that I hear people use, my friends, my colleagues, my family. They use them all the time.
Or ones that regularly come up in the media because these ones are all relevant, current, slang words to learn, right?
And if you look up Australian slang on a whole really get used anymore, you know, they're sort of from a few decades ago.
footy = football
In Australia, we are big fans of footy but not this type of footy, that's soccer. This is Australian football, footy.
Now I want you to really pay attention to that flap T sound, it sounds more like a D, right? Footy.
If you're moving to Melbourne in particular, one of the first things that you'll need to do is pick a footy team. Okay this question will get asked of you probably often.
So get amongst it, go to a couple of games, even if it's just to say that you did, it's a really good place even if it's just to say that you did, it's a really good place even if it's just to say that you did, it's a really good place to start to understand Australian culture.
barbie = barbecue (BBQ)
snags = sausages
arvo = afternoon
- We're gonna throw some snags on the barbie on Saturday arvo! Come 'round.
And that really just means we're going to cook some sausages on the barbecue on Saturday afternoon, come over.
avo = avocado
brekkie = breakfast
Avo on toast is a very common breakfast meal at cafes in Australia.
It seemed to be the reason why young Australians can't actually save enough money to buy a house because they keep spending all their money on going out for breakfast and having avo on toast. So avo is a very common thing to eat for breakfast.
It's definitely also common at brunch.
brunch = meal between breakfast and lunch
Now brunch is a meal between breakfast and lunch, common in Australia but in other English speaking countries too.
Now it's not in addition to those meals, it usually replaces one or the other. Usually on weekends when lots of people have a sleep in, maybe they wake up later.
So on Saturday and Sunday in Australia, you would definitely see a lot of people out for brunch on the weekend.
Alright, let's talk about some places now.
Macca's = McDonald's
McDonald's is called Macca's. Now if anyone asks you to do a Macca's run, it means go out and pick up McDonald's and bring it back for everyone.
Or you might say “I'm just waiting on the corner near Macca's“
uni = university
Now uni is university, uni.
- What did you study at uni?
- How's uni going?
This is incredibly common. If you're planning to study in Australia, really the only time that you're going to hear the word ‘university' is in formal context. Everyone else is gonna talk about uni. So that's university.
servo = service station
The servo is a service station or a petrol station.
Now in America, the fuel that goes in your car is called gas but you won't hear people in Australia calling it gas. We call it petrol.
So this place is a petrol station or a service station, a place to service your car hence the servo.
- I need to stop at the servo on the way.
(means I need to stop and get some petrol)
the bottle-o = bottle shop / liquor store
The bottle-o is a bottle shop or a liquor store, a shop that sells alcohol.
In Australia, places where you can buy alcohol, are strictly regulated so you can't buy alcohol at a 7-Eleven like you can in some countries. You have to go to the bottle shop, the bottle-o.
- Hey I'm gonna stop at the bottle-o on the way, let me know if you need me to pick something up.
Now while we're on the subject, Australians love a drink and one of the best places to sit and to observe Australian life is in a pub, at the beach or at the pub. It's a really social space and a great space to strike up a conversation with someone and to have a chat.
But I wanted to share a few more words that you might need.
slab = a carton of beer
So a slab is a carton of beer, usually a twenty-four pack of beer right in a box.
tinny = can of beer
stubby = bottle of beer
And a stubby cooler, one of these hideous things is used to keep your stubby or your tinny cold during the long hot Australian summers.
These are tourist souvenirs that you can get in any servo, anywhere around Australia and you can collect all of the ugliest ones that you can and you can collect all of the ugliest ones that you can of your time in Australia.
This one's from the Nanutarra Road House. It's got a goanna, a road train and an eagle.
Every Australian has at least twenty of them stuffed in random places around their house and generally the gaudier, the uglier, the better.
And an esky is what you need to take to the park to keep your drinks and your food cooling so it's like an insulated box where you put ice and keep your drinks cool, that's an esky.
lotto = lottery
- The most I've ever won on a lotto ticket is about fifty bucks.
bucks = dollars
And bucks is slang for dollars.
- If I catch an uber home from the city, it usually costs me about thirty bucks.
ripper = excellent
Ripper is a good expression when something's going well or it's good like “Ah ripper!”
You could say: “You little ripper!” when something's really good. You've got great news.
Or you could say “Bloody ripper!” when something's really great like when you win the lotto.
Bloody ripper! What a great day!
In Australia, many, many, many suburbs and place names are also shortened too.
Brissie = Brisbane
Tassie = Tasmania
Sandy = Sandringham
Freo = Fremantle
Rotto = Rottnest Island in WA
The Goldie = Gold Coast in Queensland
The G = MCG (famous sports ground in Melbourne)
And if there are any Australians watching and you can think of others, please let me know in the comments, hit me up. There are so many of these, the list is way too long to continue with here.
But the point is that if you hear a word that you don't recognise, it's totally okay to ask, you know. Australians know that not everyone understands our slang way of you know, referring to things, especially place names.
So if you're not sure, just ask.
loo = toilet
Another really important place is the loo, the toilet.
So the dunny used to be a very Australian expression but it's rarely used now. Lots of random Australian slang websites include it because it's funny but don't bother learning it and actually using it. Nobody does it.
So people who are involved in construction work are often called tradespeople. They're the skilled people who also come to your house to fix things when they break.
Now in Australia, of course, we have shortened the names for all of these people.
tradie = a tradesman
Starting with tradie. Now tradie is a tradesman. It's a really general word for everyone who works in that type of industry.
brickie = bricklayer
sparkie = electrician
chippie = carpenter
And this kind of continues into all other types of work as well.
truckie = truck driver
poli = a politician
And you'll often hear this used in Australian media when talking about politicians.
sickie = sick day
A sickie is a sick day but not a real sick day. I don't know if this happens much in your country but a sickie is when you take a day off work but you're not actually sick.
Maybe it's because the weather's really nice and you want to go fishing with your mates. This is called chucking a sickie or pulling a sickie.
What else is there?
info = information
intro = introduction
And I think those two are pretty commonly used across lots of different English-speaking countries but in Australia, we definitely love it because we love those shortened versions.
mo = moustache
roo = kangaroo
mozzie = mosquito
I hate those guys! For some reason, they always come after me so I am always taking mozzie spray with me everywhere I go in summer. This insect repellent is called mozzie spray in Australia.
Anyway, that is a solid list of relevant Australian slang words to learn and even if you don't use them yourself, just becoming familiar with them is going to help you to understand Australian native English speakers so much more easily.
Now you might even be able to think of some others so let me know in the comments if you've got some other ideas and suggestions.
But also if you've got some questions about how these words are regularly used or maybe you've heard of another slang word and you're not sure about the meaning or if it's commonly used, let me know in the comments.
I'd be happy to jump down and answer your questions there.
Now I know it's unlikely that you'll be travelling to Australia anytime soon but if you want to follow me on my adventures in Australia, well make sure you come check out my Instagram account here.
I'm gonna be heading up north on a camping trip in a couple of months and I'm really excited to share my beautiful country with you and take you along for the journey so come check it out if you want to come along.
Otherwise, I will see you in the next lesson. See you there!
mmmEnglish Video Lessons are a series of video lessons created to build confidence in English learners and focus on English in daily life. Download them and watch them anywhere! Subscribe to my YouTube Channel to be the first to get my new videos, and come and say hi on my Facebook page!!
Wow,it is an interesting and useful topic! I will need it when I travel to Australia.
Thank you for such wonderful lessons as always! You are the best teacher on the internet 🙂
Hi! This is just to show my appreciation and praise your English class videos. I find them extremely useful, and the idea of adding the video transcript is absolutely great. Your past experience teaching in different countries must have helped you shape and hone your Aussie accent and make it sound so clear, natural and easy. In my opinion, this is what a really “international” accent should sound like. Congratulations! And thank you for all your videos. And, please, keep them on tap! Ta-rah!
Thank you for such kind words, Francisco ❤ I'm so honoured to be your teacher and love making these lessons!
I loved this week lesson topic ! Slangs are always diffucult to learn when you are not a native English speaker. I heard a phrase in an Australian song: “Walk, Walk, Walk”- soundtrack from the movie “Camel Boy”. The phrase is: “If the “Jumbuck” doesn't get them, then the sand flies must. The word is Jumbuck, What's the meaning of it ? Is it a slang ? Is it a typical Australian word ? You can hear the song on Youtube “Camel boy theme song”
Thank you for the wonderful lessons, every week !! You are my favorite teacher !!
Ripper, thank you very much my teacher.
Dear Emma, It’s very interesting to learn these Australien slang words and expressions. I can tell you, about Switzerland that our Swiss-German slang is very different from written German. Here are some examples:
English: German: Swiss-German:
morning Morgen Morge
afternoon Nachmittag Nomittag
evening Abend Obig
There are still lots more of them. Thank you for this Video
Hi Emma. I love your lessons. I studied English in Australia fo 5 months and people are absolutely amazing. Thank you for contributing a lot.
My lovely teacher Emma , this lesson is very useful tome me, you make me love Australia,I want to ask you about Canadian native slang Do you know about it ?
Here are a few extras:
1. Ausse = Australian
2. Ankle Biter – Child
3. Aussie Salute – Wave to scare the flies off your face.
4. Avo – Avocado
5. Amber liquid, a cold one, coldie – beer
6. Bail – To cancel plans. ‘Bruce bailed’ = Bruce isn’t going to turn up.
7. Bathers – Swimsuit
8. Beauty! – Great! Most often exclaimed as “You Beauty!”
9. Billy – Teapot (In the Outback on the fire)
10. Blagger – someone who could sell ice to the eskimos
11. Bloke – A guy, chap, male person
12. Bloody – Very. Used to extenuate a point
13. Bloody oath – Yes or its true. “You right mate?”… “Bloody Oath”
14. Bludger – Someone who’s lazy, generally also who relies on others (when it’s someone who relies on the state they’re often called a ‘dole bludger’)
15. Bogan – This word is used for people who are rednecks. Or, if you like, just call your friends a bogan when they are acting weird.
16. Booze Bus – Police vehicle used to catch drunk drivers
17. Brekky – Breakfast
18. Brolly – Umbrella
19. Bruce – An Aussie Bloke
20. Buckleys Chance – little chance , A reference to William Buckley (1780–1856), a convict who escaped in Victoria in 1803 and lived among the Aborigines there for 30 years (survival in the bush was reckoned no chance).
21. Budgie Smugglers – Speedos
22. Buggered – Exhausted
23. Cab Sav – Cabernet Sauvignon
24. Cactus – Dead, Broken
25. Choc A Bloc – Full
26. Choccy Biccy – Chocolate Biscuit
27. Chook – Chicken
28. Chrissie – Christmas
29. Ciggy – a Cigarette
30. Clucky – feeling maternal
31. Cobber – Very good friend. ‘Alright me ‘ol cobber’.
32. Coppers – Policemen
33. Crack the shits – Getting angry at someone or something
34. Crikey – an expression of surprise
35. Crook – Being ill or angry; ‘Don’t go crook on me for getting crook’
36. C*nt, the “C” word – Used when exchanging pleasantries between close friends or family member. If someone calls you the “C” word in Australia (and you haven’t done anything to make them angry), then breathe a sigh of relief… it means you have entered the mate zone.
37. Dag – Someone who’s a bit of a nerd or geek.
38. Daks – Trousers. ‘Tracky daks’ = sweatpants (tracksuit pants)
39. Dapped – good at something. comes from the word dapper = sharply dressed.
40. Dardy – meaning “cool”, is used amongst South West Australian Aboriginal peoples and has also been adopted by non-indigenous teens.
41. Deadset – True
42. Defo – Definitely
43. Devo – Devastated
44. Drongo – a Fool, ‘Don’t be a drongo mate’
45. Dunny – Toilet
46. Durry – Cigarette
47. Facey – Facebook
48. Fair Dinkum – ‘Fair Dinkum?’ … ‘Fair Dinkum!’ = Honestly? … Yeah honestly!
49. Fanny – female genitalia (not backside, arse as inn USA); fanny pack would bring to mind female menstrual pad/ tampon)
50. Flannie / Flanno – flannelette shirt
51. Flat out – Really busy – “Flat out like a lizard drinking” – As busy as a bee
52. Frothy – Beer
53. F*ck Me Dead – that’s unfortunate, that surprises me
54. Furphy – rumours or stories that are improbable or absurd
55. G’day – Hello
56. G-String – thong, sexy undrear
57. Galah – an Australian cockatoo with a reputation for not being bright, hence a galah is also a stupid person.
58. Gator – alligator
59. Gnarly – awesome – often used by surfers
60. Going off – busy, lots of people / angry person “he’s going off”
61. Good On Ya – Good work
62. Goon – the best invention ever produced by mankind. Goon is a cheap, boxed wine that will inevitably become an integral part of your Australian backpacking experience.
63. Gyp – to trick, to con
“I'm gonna gyp that gutless wonder” means “I'm going to trick that coward”
64. Hard yakka – Hard work
65. Heaps – loads, lots, many
66. Hoon – Hooligan (normally driving badly!)
67. Hubby – husband
68. Iffy – bit risky or unreasonable
69. Knickers – female underwear
70. Lappy – Laptop
71. Larrikin – Someone who’s always up for a laugh, bit of a harmless prankster
72. Legless – Someone who is really drunk
73. Ligger – An individual who attends parties, openings, social gatherings and events with the sole intention of obtaining free food and drink – an arch blagger, or bludger. a lazy person who hangs around during setup or soundcheck for a gig and doesn't do anything useful. a backstage hanger-on., Originally British rock and roll slang.;
74. Lollies – Sweets
75. Manchester – Sheets / Linen etc. If you’re from England, finding a department within a shop called Manchester could seriously confuse you.
76. Marsupial – pouch worn around waist to hold money and cards, fanny pack
77. Missus – wife
78. Mongrel – Someone who’s a bit of a dick
79. No Drama – No problem / it’s ok
80. No Worries – No problem / it’s ok
81. No Wucka’s – A truly Aussie way to say ‘no worries’
82. Noah's Ark – shark
83. Nuddy – Naked
84. Outback – The interior of Australia, “The Outback” is more remote than those areas named “the bush”
85. Pash – to kiss
86. Piece of Piss – easy
87. Piss Off – go away, get lost
88. Piss Up – a party, a get together and in Australia – most social occasions
89. Piss – (To Piss) to urinate
90. Pissed – Intoxicated, Drunk
91. Pissed Off – Annoyed
92. Prawn – shrimp
93. Rack Off – The less offensive way to tell someone to ‘F Off’!
94. Rapt – Very happy
95. Reckon – for sure. ‘You Reckon?’… ‘I reckon!’
96. Rellie / Rello – Relatives
97. Root Rat – someone who enjoys sex (maybe a little too much)
98. Rooted – Tired or Broken
99. Runners – Trainers, Sneakers
100. Shark biscuit – kids at the beach
101. Sheila – A woman
102. She’ll be apples – Everything will be alright
103. Shoot Through – To leave
104. Sick – awesome; ‘that’s really sick mate’
105. Sickie – a sick day off work, or ‘to pull a sickie’ = to take a day off when you aren’t actuallysick.
106. Shoey – drinking beer out of a shoe
107. Skull – To down a beer
108. Smoko – Cigarette break
109. Snag – Sausage
110. Stiffy – Erection
111. Stoked – Happy, Pleased
112. Straya – Australia
113. Strewth – An exclamation of surprise
114. Strides – trousers
115. Stubby – a short bottle of beer
116. Stubby Holder – Used so your hands don’t get cold when holding your beer, or to stop your hands making your beer warm!
117. Stuffed – Tired
118. Sunnies – Sunglasses
119. Swag – Single bed you can roll up, a bit like a sleeping bag.
120. Tea – Dinner
121. Tinny – Can of beer or small boat
122. Thongs – Flip Flops (not g-string)
123. Troppo – crazy
124. True Blue – Genuinely Australian
125. Tucker – Food. ‘Bush Tucker’ tends to be food found in the Outback
126. Uie – a U-Turn; to throw a uie = make a U-Turn when driving
127. Whnging pom – complaining English man
128. A person of British origin who will consistently complain about any situation that they
face. They are emotionally unable to deal with any sort of adverse condition without commenting negatively about it. Comes from the French word for apple = pomme, because they got sunburnt very quickly so they were red on the outside and white on the inside.
129. Woop woop / the sticks / the bush = the middle of nowhere, beyond the outskirts of
town, the edge of civilization.
130. Ya – You
131. Yous – (youse) plural of you!
Wow! That is not ‘just a few'
Where did you get all of this Aussie slang?
Very interesting and useful lesson I really enjoyed listening it. The main thing I liked about your videos is that your explanation are very clear and you have wonderful voice.
Thank you for the feedback Yussuf!
U are absolutely good teacher who knows most of teaching skills
Bandara Sri Lanka