14 Colorful (Dirty-Sounding!) Slang Expressions to Know Before You Visit Australia

14 Colorful (Dirty-Sounding!) Slang Expressions to Know Before You Visit Australia

We reckon you’d better brush up on these sayings before heading down under.

By Eric Rosen

G’day mates! How ya goin’? If you’ve ever caught an episode of The Real Housewives of Melbourne, you might have noticed that our antipodean amigos from down under say some pretty crazy things (to our ears).

But just because Aussie expressions are a mystifying mélange of metaphors doesn’t mean they’re idiomatically incomprehensible. To the contrary! Aussie sayings are often as descriptive as they are offbeat — even naughty sounding. Here’s a list of common slang phrases you’re as likely to hear as a wallaby sunning himself beside a billabong (no, that’s not an actual saying). And if you don’t get them right away, nah worries, she’ll be right!

1. G'Day!

For folks of a certain generation (i.e. Generation X), this saying entered the U.S. consciousness thanks to the film Crocodile Dundee. But far from being a washed-up novelty or something folks say just for the benefit of tourists, most Aussies use it all the time to mean everything from “hello,” to “nice to meet you.” Don’t be afraid to sprinkle it into your conversation, because no one will look at you askance. Just be sure to pronounce it “guh-DIE” and not “good day.”

2. How ya goin’?

Another simple saying, but one that you can use for everything from “how do you do,” to “how have things been?” It’s all about context and versatility.

3. She’ll be right.

This is a homespun way of saying, “everything will be okay,” or “don’t worry about it.” Who this “she” in question is, though, no one knows, but this phrase perfectly encapsulates Aussies’ laid-back attitude toward life’s ups and downs.

4. Bloke

A guy. A dude. A man. A… you get it.

5. Sheila

A woman. A lady. A gal. Again, you get it. Though you don’t hear this one so often anymore and it has a whiff of old-fashioned outback to it.

6. Feral

Speaking of the outback… this is a newer expression that you’ll hear among the joeys (i.e. young folks). Just as feral is traditionally used to describe a wild beast or animal, the slang version has come to mean someone is looking kind of ragged or rough. As in, “Tom’s looking pretty feral after that wild night out.” Sounds like Tom had a good time, though.

7. Bogan

Usually employed in a derogatory sense, a bogan is someone unsophisticated or unrefined. In other words, a redneck. These days it also encompasses folks who put in a decidedly unclassy display of new money, as in a “cashed-up bogan.”

8. Budgie smuggler

Admit it: You’ve ogled a calendar page or two of hot Aussie lifeguards working out on Bondi Beach. Well, those speedos they’re wearing are slyly referred to as budgie smugglers. As in, a piece of clothing or material that you are using to hide a small bird. Though someone wearing one would probably prefer you referred to it as a toucan smuggler.

9. Dunny

Simply put, the toilet. Traditionally this term referred specifically to an outhouse, whose dunny, or bucket, you would empty out in the yard.

10. Rug up

You’ll probably only hear this one in the wintertime when temperatures start to drop, because it means to put more clothes on (usually a sweater or jacket). As in, “Ya might wanna rug up before ya head down to the pub, mate. It’s freezin’ out.”

11. Schmick

Honestly, this sounds more like a Yiddish word than Australian, but it is indeed a common bit of parlance down under, where it’s used to mean something stylish or cool. If referring to a person, it means they’re suave and maybe even a little aloof. As in, “Gavin’s lookin’ schmick in that new suit. No wonder the sheilas are all over him.”

12. Tucker

Another simple one: food. Though it can also be used to refer to a snack or a meal. Sample use? “Be sure to order the ’roo steak here, mate. Now that’s good tucker.”

13. Thongs

No, this is not a term for skimpy underwear, though it does denote another piece of apparel. In Australia, thongs are flip-flops or sandals. So if you say, “Put on your thongs, Denise, we’re goin’ to the beach!” Denise won’t think you’re commenting on her undergarments.

14. Stubbie

This one has always sounded vaguely off-color, but in fact, it just means a beer bottle. It’s surprising that the term never made it into one of those Foster’s commercials. Ponder that over a nice cold stubbie, why don’t you?

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