At Lexis, we teach you ‘international English’, with the intent that you can take what you learn with us and use it in any English-speaking context. We’re here in Australia, though, and it would be a shame not to learn some uniquely Aussie slang while you’re with us!
Maybe it’s time to learn the Aussie slang to sound like a local….
Australia is known for its laid-back culture and friendly people, and part of that culture is a unique slang vocabulary that can sometimes be confusing for newly arrived international students. However, understanding just a few phrases can make your English sound very ‘natural’, and break down barriers with your host family, Australian friends or that random stranger next to you in the pub!
Here are a few examples of Aussie slang to get you started:
“G’day” One of the most iconic Australian phrases is “G’day,” which is a shortened form of “good day.” It’s a casual greeting that can be used at any time of day and is often accompanied by a nod or a wave. You’ll hear this phrase all the time in Australia, so it’s a good one to know. This is the first slang term that EVERY student learns in Australia!
“Mate” Another popular Australian slang term is “mate.” It’s used to refer to a friend or companion and can be used for both men and women. ‘Mate’ is a friendly and welcoming word to use with close friends and strangers alike. For example, you might hear someone say, “Thanks, mate,” or “Hey, mate, how’s it going?”
“Aussie” This is an obvious one that almost everyone already knows. You almost never hear people from Australia calling themselves ‘Australian’….it’s almost always ‘Aussie’. For example, you might hear your homestay say “Mate, the Aussie cricket team is just rubbish! They
“Arvo” “Arvo” is a shortened form of “afternoon” and is commonly used in Australia. It’s an example of a habit of Australian’s to shorten everyday words. For example, you might hear someone say, “See you this arvo” or “Let’s meet up in the arvo.”
“No worries” “No worries” is an Australian phrase that means “it’s okay” or “don’t worry about it.” It’s a common response to a thank you or an apology. For example, if you forget to do your homework and apologise to your teacher, they might say, “No worries, but makes sure you do it tonight.”
“Fair dinkum” “Fair dinkum” is an Australian phrase that means “genuine” or “true.” Fair dinkum isn’t as commonly used as it once was, but it’s still often heard when someone wants to express surprise or disbelief. For example, if someone tells you an incredible story, you might respond with, “Is that fair dinkum?”
“Chockers” If something is “chockers,” it means it’s full or crowded. For example, a Lexis Noosa student might say “The surf is normally great, but it’s a holiday weekend and it was absolutely chockers with tourists this morning”.
“Brekkie” “Brekkie” is a shortened form of “breakfast” and is a common term used in Australia. For example, you might hear one of your Lexis classmates say, “Let’s grab some brekkie before class.”
“Bottle-o” A “bottle-o” is a liquor store in Australia. For example, someone might say, “I’m going to the bottle-o to pick up some beer for the party.”
“She’ll be right” “She’ll be right” is an Australian phrase that means “everything will be okay – it’s often used in the same place as ‘no worries’. It’s often used to reassure someone that there’s no need to be concerned about something. For example, if you’re running late for a class, someone might say, “Don’t stress, mate. She’ll be right.
“Sickie” If someone takes a “sickie,” it means they’re taking a day off work or school because they’re pretending to be sick. For example, someone might say, “The surf is looking great! I’m taking a sickie tomorrow to go to the beach.”
“Snag” “Snag” is a slang term for a sausage, usually eaten at barbecues. For example, someone might say, “I’m throwing some snags on the barbie for lunch.” (And I’m sure you can guess what ‘Barbie’ is slang for!).
“Bogan” “Bogan” is a slang term that appeared in the 1980s. It’s used to describe someone who’s unrefined or uncultured. For example, you might hear someone say, “Look at the haircut on that guy! Man, he is such a bogan”
These are just a few examples of Australian slang, but there are many more to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher or homestay family for clarification if you hear a term you don’t understand…everyone loves to teach slang! Understanding these phrases can help you feel more at home in Australia and better connect with locals.
Give it a go and start using some Aussie slang!