20 Australian Slang Words in English - BELS Malta

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Dive into Australian English Slang Words with us!

Here’s a list of Australian words in English that you definitely need if you want to sound like a real Aussie.

Welcome to Oz – that’s what Australians affectionately call their country. But that’s just one of the many cute Australian words in English. Take a look at our article and dream away with us to faraway Australia.

Australian English is more than just an accent and the ‘Aussie’ vocabulary amazes many British people. Australian English is similar to British English but differs from American English in many ways – and so there are many Australian expressions and phrases, a few of which we’d like to introduce you to today.

The origins of Australian English date back to the late 18th century when Australia was still a kind of penal colony for British prisoners and outcasts. It is likely that various dialects had already developed in England and at sea but the first settlers were a milestone in the language of Australia. Although the people in the European settlements of Australia did not actually think of changing the English language, it simply could not be avoided. When the British arrived in Australia, they mostly lived close together in the big cities and were more or less left to their fate. They came from various parts of Britain and their dialects essentially shaped Australian English. Later, Irish and Scottish farmers and stockbreeders came in and brought not only their customs but also their language with them. Australian English can therefore be described as a mix of Irish, Scottish and English influences. But traces of the indigenous Aboriginal languages can often be detected as well.

Australian English is still characterised by many abbreviations and hearty nicknames. It symbolises Australian values and the Australian national feeling: friendship, friendliness, informality and solidarity with other Australians.  The following are clear examples of words that are unique to Australian English.

  1.  arvo: afternoon
  2. barbie: barbeque
  3. bogan: redneck – an uncultured person
  4. truckie: someone who drives a truck, a truck driver
  5. bottle-o: bottle shop
  6. bloody ripper: ‘Awesome!’ ‘Cool!’
  7. suss: short form of ‘suspicious’ – people or things that you can’t really trust are ‘suss’.
  8. drongo: drongos are actually a type of bird, but in Australia they are also used to describe people who behave in a somewhat naïve, perhaps even stupid, way. For example: ‘Why did you put your tablet on the barbecue, John? You’re such a drongo!’. It is meant kindly and affectionately in most.
  9. pash: a long, intense kiss. A pash rash is an irritation of the skin as a result of such a kiss with a bearded person.
  10. mozzie: mosquito
  11. brekkie: breakfast – It sounds like a trivialisation of the term breakfast, but it is an everyday word among Australians.
  12. mate: friend – This is a classic term, you’ve probably come across it before.
  13. roo: kangaroo – Of course, Australians have their own word for their kangaroos. They are probably the most famous animals in Australia.
  14. my shout: it’s my turn to pay – If you want to buy someone a drink, this is how you show that you’ll pick up the bill.
  15. cabbie: taxi driver
  16. g’day, howzit goin?: Good day, how is it going? – A casual greeting in Australia. It is more of a polite phrase than a real question.
  17. sheila: an Australian female – sheila is the Australian term for a woman, while a man is called a bloke.
  18. hit the sack: go to bed to sleep
  19. she’ll be right: everything will be ok – It seems like a form for women only, but it’s not. Australians use this expression when they want to look forward optimistically.
  20. Go troppo: go crazy – This is the last Australian expression we want to introduce to you. Presumably, the term go troppo comes from the northern areas of Australia where it can get so hot that you go crazy.

If you are equipped with these Australian English words, expressions and phrases, you will soon be able to speak like a real Australian and feel at home in Australia. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to speak English with slang like this.

Would you like to learn more about the English language variations? Read this article about the differences between British and American English.