How To Speak Australian
It's not all 'brekkie' and 'barbie.' To speak like a true Australian, you have to learn to stop being such a wanker first.
Should you, an American, ever happen to wash up on the shores of Australia, the first thing you should keep in mind is that people have smartphones there, so you probably don’t need to rely on animals to help you find your way.
The second thing you should keep in mind is that while Americans and Australians both speak English, they don’t entirely speak the same language.
For one, Australians have a charming habit of abbreviating words, or giving everything a nickname, and giving nicknames to nicknames. For instance: "afternoon" becomes "arvo," "breakfast" becomes "brekkie," "mosquito" becomes "mozzie," and your name would almost certainly have an "ie" tacked on at the end. As a matter of fact, it was Australia that gave us the word "selfie."
Apparently, as legend would have it, these abbreviations were invented through necessity — more specifically, the need to clench your teeth to keep the blow flies from getting in your mouth. Many of these diminutives are just as long, if not longer, than the original words, so this probably isn’t entirely true. It’s an aesthetic, but also something more. The relaxed, informal nature of Australian slang points to a deeper truth about the culture. Australian humor is about "taking the piss out of someone," or ribbing them. To be Australian is to not take life — or yourself — too seriously, which makes the Australian brand of sarcasm occasionally difficult to detect for some overly earnest Americans.
"Australians are really dry and sarcastic, so half the stuff we say is a joke," said Raj Barker, an Australian expat living in New York City. "Our humor is about putting people down, but in a joking way. That’s why Americans can sometimes get offended by us."
Beyond its unpretentious candor, Australian slang is also fairly crude, but who knew there were so many applications for the word "piss," and what else would you expect from a language that’s here to take you down a few pegs?
Without further ado, here is a brief field guide to Australian English for your next journey to Oz.
It’s pissing down: It’s raining
A bit dusty: Hungover
What a pearler: What a beauty
Ocker: Someone who speaks crudely
Chuck a U-ey: Make a U-turn
Chockers: Full to the brim
She’ll be right: She’ll be okay
Sweet as: Good (As in: "How’s your day?" "Sweet as")
Yeah nah: No
Nah yeah: Yes
Sheila: A woman you admire and respect (As in: "She’s a top Sheila")
Cooked: Tired, had enough
To have a face like a dropped pie: Ugly
To have a face like a burnt thong (flip-flop): Ugly
To have a face like a smashed crab: Ugly
Going off like a frog in a sock: Lively, hopping (As in: "This party’s going off like a frog in a sock")
Carrying on like a pork chop: Being a dickhead
I’m not here to fuck spiders: I’m not here to fuck around
Old mate: That guy
Budgie smugglers: Men’s swimming shorts
Got the shits: Pissed off
Up at sparrow’s fart: Up really early
Bit how’s your father: It was okay (As in: "How was the movie?" "Eh, bit how’s your father")
Bob’s your uncle: And there you have it
Chuck a sickie: Call out sick
Dead-set mole: Bitch
Fang us a durry: Give us a cigarette
Bloody ripper: Really awesome
I’ll be there in a tick: I’ll be there in a minute
Died in the ass: Broke (As in: "Ugh, my phone died in the ass")
Have to get a wriggle on: Have to be quick
He couldn’t swing a cat in there: It’s really crowded
Bugger off: Get lost
I was buggered: I was tired
You beauty: Hell yeah
Fair dinkum: For real/seriously?
It’s the duck’s nuts: It’s really good
She’s such a dag: She has no style
Wanker: Someone who’s pretentious or stuck up
Get a dog up ya: Get fucked
Give something a red hot go: Give it a real try
I’ve having a very shocker: I’m having a bad day
I’ve got to take the kids to the pool/I’ve got to drop the kids off: I have to take a dump
She’s such a sook: She’s such a sulker
Wouldn’t piss on it if it was on fire: Equivalent to the American "wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole"
Dunny/dunny can: Toilet
On your bike: Fuck off, move along (As in: "Watch where you’re going." "On your bike!")
I’m busting: I really have to go to the bathroom
Piece of piss: Really easy
Be there in two shakes of a lamb’s tail: Be there in no time
Flaming galah: Idiot (a galah is an Australian bird)
Pash: Passionate kiss
Bog: A poop
I’m going to a piss up: I’m going to a party
First cab off the rank: First to do something
Mole: Essentially, this is a horrible thing to call someone
Waffling on: Talking a lot
Get nicked: Go away
Feeling crook: Not feeling well