The Down Under Pocketbook: 15 Aussie Phrases And Their Hilarious Translations

Australians have a language all their own. Whether you’re preparing for your next big Australia trip or simply trying to decode a colleague’s funny slang, this guide of Aussie phrases will come in handy.
February 7, 2019
The Down Under Pocketbook: 15 Aussie Phrases And Their Hilarious Translations

Illustration by Emma Jayne, courtesy of the Bright Agency.

Australians may share a language with their Northern Hemisphere friends, but when it comes to everyday speech, they couldn’t be more different. Aussies use a lexicon of countless unique slang phrases and terms in order to describe everyday life Down Under.

A clued-in foreigner might know that G’day is a type of greeting, but what about lesser-known (and much-loved) phrases like hooroo? With the help of this miniature pocketbook, you can learn some essential Aussie phrases (plus their hilarious translations) and be true blue in no time!

1. Choc a bloc

Definition: This Aussie phrase is used to describe an area or thing that is really full.

Example: “Mate, that parking lot is choc a bloc!”

2. Taking the piss

Definition: A phrase used for making fun of someone or something — to “pull someone’s leg,” as we might also say in other varieties of English.

Example: “Don’t take the piss out of Jeremy. He’s going through a hard time!”

3. She’ll be right

Definition: A phrase used to imply that a situation or person will be okay.

Example: “She’ll be right mate, that sauce stain will come out in the wash.”

4. Tell him he’s dreamin’

Definition: This Aussie phrase is used to tell somebody that their offer is unreasonable — it’s frequently used in trading or bargaining contexts. The phrase is actually a quote from the iconic Australian film, The Castle, but it has since found its way into common speech.

Example: “$250 for a used bicycle helmet? Tell him he’s dreamin’.”

5. A few stubbies short of a 6-pack

Definition: This phrase refers to somebody who is lacking in intelligence. It can be used interchangeably with the other beloved Aussie phrase, “a few sandwiches short of a picnic.”

Example: “Geez. That bloke Mark sure is a few stubbies short of a six-pack.”

6. Pull ya head in

Definition: A phrase used to tell somebody that their behavior is out of line and they need to correct it, preferably immediately.

Example: “Pull ya head in mate, that’s no way to speak to someone!”

7. Woop woop

Definition: This pair of words is used to describe a faraway place or remote location, much like using “the middle of nowhere” in a sentence.

Example: “I’m driving out to woop woop for Christmas with the in-laws!”

8. Going off

Definition: You might already be familiar with this Aussie phrase — but perhaps not both of its connotations. Yes, the phrase “going off” has two meanings: the first is for describing somebody who’s extremely mad, while the second is used to describe a party that is absolutely wild.

Examples: “My mum’s going off about throwing that party!” and/or “That party was going off last night!”

9. You wanna go?

Definition: This is another popular Aussie phrase that might have already entered your lexicon. It’s used as an invitation to start a physical fight. It can also be used comically between good friends.

Example: “Oi mate. I hear you’re disrespectin’ me. You wanna go?”

10. True blue

Definition: A phrase used to describe somebody who’s authentic and genuine.

Example: “Rob helped me move house last weekend! That bloke sure is true blue.”

11. Face like a dropped pie

Definition: This insulting Aussie phrase describes somebody’s facial appearance when it resembles a destroyed pastry.

Example: “I’ve got a face like a dropped pie.”

12. How ya garn?

Definition:  A more common way of asking someone how they’re doing. It’s essentially “How are you going?” but pushed together and spoken with an Aussie accent.

Example: “Hey mate! How ya garn?!”

13. Bloody beautiful/what a beaut’/what a beauty

Definition: These phrases are used to describe something positive — a remark of good fortune, so to speak.

Example: “Look at this fish I just caught! What a beauty!”

14. See ya when I’m lookin’ at ya

Definition: A not-so-friendly Aussie phrase you’d use when saying goodbye to somebody you don’t intend to see again.

Example: “Alright mate. See ya when I’m lookin’ at ya!”

15. Knock off/Can’t wait to knock off

Definition: “Knock off” is a term for finishing work. It’s often used to describe how excited you are to leave work for the day.

Example: “It’s going to be beautiful weather this weekend, I sure can’t wait to knock off!”

Good luck understanding (or even using) these Aussie phrases to impress your new mates Down Under. Put on a bad Aussie accent and you’ll be laughing like a galah in no time!

Learn more useful, everyday phrases in another language today.
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Author Headshot
Meredith Eriksson
Meredith is a typical Australian who likes her poached eggs gooey and her avocado spread thick. Born by the beach, you’ll find her in the water or bathing on the rocks.
Meredith is a typical Australian who likes her poached eggs gooey and her avocado spread thick. Born by the beach, you’ll find her in the water or bathing on the rocks.

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