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A Brief Infroduction to Australian Slang

Though you may think Australia's official language is English it isn't. Australia has no official language, English is the national language de facto. We wanted to highlight 'Australian English' as it's a variety of English, different from British and American English, by introducing you to some awesome Aussie slang!

Photo by lonur

From having grown up with Aussies, I’ve picked up some of the more popular slang terms. While I introduce you to some of these, that you can easily pick up and use in your everyday, let’s also learn some new and more obscure terms together!

Photo by stijn_b

A mosquito! Might I add, I’m impressed by this up-close-and-personal photo! When I think of the outback and mozzies the Monty Python Mosquito Hunters skit immediately comes to mind. “There’s nothing more dangerous than a wounded mosquito.”

Photo by t0m7

An Aussie Salute
Just imagine all those Aussie mozzies and you’ll understand why the common action of fanning the flies away with one’s hand is considered the national salute!

Photo by lonur

Bathing suit, or swimming costume.

Photo by jojo8785

Fair dinkum
A good, fair, term to use! It means… true or genuine. An example of use would be “fair dinkum mate, that was a good match!”

Photo by alarm

Trousers, which most likely derives from the London tailor Daks.

Photo by alarm

Much later than what’s conventionally understood to be tea time (taken between 2-5pm) – in this context it means supper!

Photo by werriston

Good onya
Said with enthusiasm and, as you might have guessed, means good for you, or well done!

Photo by ddibiase


Photo by liquidpapercut

The general term for sweets, or candy, and not just candy that’s ‘on a stick’ as one would think!

Photo by scootiepye

Home to some of the most iconic beaches, the common term ‘thongs’ refers to backless, rubber sandals! There’s no need to snicker here!

Have a go at reading some of the more famous bush ballads, or folk songs, from the outback such as Waltzing Matilda. I’ve always found the piece sad yet able to retain an encouraging attitude of “we’ll plough on”. Waltzing Matilda is Australian English for ‘traveling swag and his bundle’. A swagman was a man who roamed the country in search for work and his bundle, affixed to the end of a long stick, was romantically referred to as ‘Matilda’.

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
“You’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me”

This list was inspired by this dictionary of Australian slang.

written by soundfoodaround


  1. crookedlens


    Good Onya Mate. Being where im from we use most of those words in everyday chit chat, good to see that us Aussies arent being left out.

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  2. neanderthalis


    "This here's the wattle, the emblem of our land. You can stick it in a bottle, you can hold it in your hand." Bruce (Eric Idle) Monty Python.

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  3. peeciella


    The only Australian slang I know is BLIMEY ! ahhahaha

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  4. peeciella


    The only Australian slang I know is BLIMEY ! ahhahaha

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam