Fair Dinkum, Down Under: Travel English For Australia
Australia is known for its coral reefs, rugby, and famous actors like Nicole Kidman. However, it is also known for its difficult dialect of English which even native speakers can have trouble understanding.
Here’s a vocabulary guide to help you out if you are planning a trip to Australia for work or leisure.
Food and drink
If you plan on spending time in Australia you will have to know about “vegemite.” This is a dark paste made of yeast extract that is put on bread. You will either love it or hate it!
Food is called “tucker.”
“Chook” means chicken.
“Chips” means French fries.
A sausage is often called a “snag.”
Jello-o is called “jelly.”
Candy is referred to as “lollies.”
In Australia if you hear someone saying they are going to “Mackers” it means they are going to McDonalds.
Dinner is often called “tea.”
A convenience store or corner shop is called a “milk bar.”
Tea is called a “cuppa” (from a cup of tea.)
Alcohol is referred to as “grog.”
G’day means hello.
“Arvo” means this afternoon. For example “I have to work this arvo.”
“Barrack” means to support. For example “I barrack for the Melbourne team.”
“Fair dinkum” means that someone or something is genuine.
If someone calls you their mate, it means “friend.”
“My shout” means that person is offering to pay.
“Ooroo” means goodbye.
Thanks is often shortened to “ta.”
A “stickybeak” is an interfering person.
A man is referred to as a “bloke.”
An argument is called a “blue.”
If someone complains regularly they are called a “whinger.”
An idiot is called a “hoon” or a “nong.”
If someone is ill they are said to be “crook.”
Cooee! Is often shouted in Australia to attract attention or to let someone know where one is standing.
There is a related expression “within cooee” which means nearby. For example, my house is “within cooee” means “my house is nearby.”
A hillbilly/redneck can be referred to as a “yobbo” or “bogan.”
“No worries” means no problem.
“Happy as Larry,” means that someone has no cause for complaint or is content.
A “didgeridoo” is a long wind instrument native to Australia.
“Oz” means Australia itself. It can also be referred to as “Down Under.”
An Australian person is called an “Aussie.”
Money is called “bickies.”
A barbeque is often called a “barbie.”
The rural area in Australia is called “the bush.”
“Bush telegraph” means local gossip.
Food to be found in the wild is called “bush tucker.”
If something is hurt or sore it is referred to as “bung” for example, “a bung shoulder.”
“Bung” is also used to mean to throw. For example, “bung a chicken into the oven.”
Hard work is called “hard yakker” in Australia.
A toilet or bathroom is often called a “dunny.”
Football is called “footie.”
A strange person is called a “dingbat.”
“Daks” means underpants.
You might hear someone call a cigarette a “durry.”
A bathing costume might be called a “cozzie.”
If someone is on the “dole” it means they are on welfare unemployment benefits.