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Australian slang: how to speak like an Aussie

Australian Slang

If you’re moving to Australia or just visiting, one of the first things you should do beforehand is brush up on your Aussie slang. The Australian lexicon is a mix of the familiar and foreign to most Britons that encounter it, and other countries can take educated guesses.

Below is a list, in alphabetical order, of some Australian lingo to reference when you next encounter someone from the Great Southern Land (Oz); and find yourself in a bit of a pinch (a bit of a tricky situation).


Which means: Afternoon.

In context: ‘See you this arvo!’

Australian Slang: barbie


Which means: The BBQ. A national symbol.

In context: ‘Put a shrimp on the barbie.’


Which means: A guy, a dude. Imperative to include this in your Aussie vocabulary.

In context: ‘David is a good bloke.’


Which means: Similar to the British term chav, a term for someone who takes pride in being everyday.

In context: ‘Larry is a bogan’.

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Buckley’s chance

Which means: A small prospect of success.

In context: ‘That team has Buckley’s chance of winning today!’

Budgie smuggler

Which means: Male speedos that have won a nickname for the apparent resemblance of a bud smuggler. Known as a banana hammock in the US.

In context: Self explanatory, we hope.

Australian Slang: crickey


Which means: Translates for blimey, sweet Jesus, wow.

In context: ‘Crikey! Did you see the size of that shark!’


Which means: A bad, but endearing idea.

In context: ‘Messi should sign to play for Crystal Palace? That’s daggy.’

Australian Slang: galah

Source: Flickr | David Cook


Which means: A native Australian bird that has since been commandeered to mean an idiot.

In context: ‘Mate, did you just see Sarah accidentally set the stove on fire? What a galah!’


Which means: A greeting used anywhere and everywhere, pronounced ‘Gid-ay’.

In context: ‘G’day Steve!’

Good onya

Which means: Well done.

In context: ‘Good onya Rachel, well done on winning that award.’

Fair go

Which means: Treat people with decency and respect if they’ve not done anything wrong to you

In context: ‘Listen, we might not enjoy stamp collecting like that bloke does, but give him a fair go!’

Fair dinkum

Which means:Are you genuine and sincere.

In context: ‘He might not be perfect, but he’s fair dinkum and I like that.’

Australian Slang: flogged

Source: Flickr | Nic Redhead


Which means: A thorough beating, usually used in the sporting context.

In context: ‘Mate, they lost by 8 goals - they were flogged!’


Which means: Goodbye.

In context: ‘Hooroo mate, see you on Saturday!’

Go son!

Which means: Good work, keep going.

In context: ‘Go Son!, score that point!’

Australian Slang: mates

Source: Flickr | Adrian Fallace


Which means: Friend. Also used in the UK of course, but in Australia can be peppered on the start, end and within middle of a sentence as needed.

In context: ‘Mate, do you know where I can get a coffee, mate? Thanks, mate’.

In a pinch

Which means: In a difficult or tricky situation.

In context: ‘That car part shall suffice in a pinch.’

Australian Slang: scorcher

Source: Flickr | Sunrise on Seven


Which means: A heatwave underway.


In context: ‘The forecast said the weekend shall be a scorcher.’


Which means: A girl.

In context: ‘This sheila is a good friend of mine’.


Which means: A stunning thing!

In context: ‘Streuth!, Did you see that goal just then?’

Australian Slang: thongs


Which means: Flip flops. Just flip flops, so don't confuse the lingo with something else.

In context: ‘Grab your thongs, we’re going to the beach!’


Which means: An endearing term for someone who is a bit of a fool.

In context: ‘Hey mate did you hear Max is going to run for Prime Minister? He’s 18 years old right? Wow, he's a bit of a Wally isn’t he?’

You beauty!

Which means: What a fantastic person you have become.

In context: ‘You just passed the driver's test? You beauty!’

Not bad for a beginner's lesson in Australian slang. Now that you've mastered these Aussie expressions, go on and impress your Australian friends - er, mates!