As an English-speaking country, many Australian terms come directly from the British, so it’s easy to understand when an Aussie refers to the boot of their vehicle as the boot and the hood as the bonnet.
Visitors and tourists will hear many terms and references with that British flavor, but like most countries Australia has developed its own very distinct slang. Aussie-speak is fun, colourful and sometimes difficult to understand!
In Oz – Australia, God’s country – many everyday expressions are a puzzle to outsiders, but they are always ridgy-didge, original and genuine! When Aussies speak to each other they use a lot of made-up words and expressions unique to the country. This slang is called Strine, which is also what Australians call each other. It’s a short version of the way native Aussies pronounce the name of their country: Aw-strine.
Movies, film and music have introduced the world to Aussie-speak so many terms have become more familiar throughout the world. Good Onya as congratulations and well done, referring to a woman as a sheila and a man as a bloke, lollies for sweet treats and tucker for food, barbie for a barbeque. Other Strine terms can be puzzled out by taking the word in context, but some just leave visitors perplexed! If an Aussie promises to give you a ring-tingle then expect to get a phone call! Some favourite Strine:
Offsider – an assistant
Bonzer – excellent, great
Bludger – lazy person
Give it a burl – try it
Snag – a sausage
Snook – a person who complains constantly
Hit your kick – open your wallet, pay
Dinky-di – the real thing
Wowser – a prude or spoilsport
In Australia, you never want to be called a yobbo (uncouth person) or a Box of Blowflies (ugly as a box of blowflies – that’s really ugly) but if you are grouse (outstanding, tremendous) it’s a very sincere compliment. When you have a wool with an Aussie, be sure to enjoy the chat and learn something new, then bid them goodbye and “see you later” with a friendly Hooroo. Maybe you will lob in to see them again sometime!