35 Awesome Australian Slang Terms You Should Know

Good onya, mate! Understanding the Aussies should be easy once you’ve read this list of Australian slang terms.
Get to know your strine.
Get to know your strine. / John Carnemolla/Australian Picture Library/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images (kangaroos), Justin Dodd/Mental Floss (speech bubble)

Australian English is more than just an accent, and the Aussie vernacular can easily leave both English speakers and foreigners perplexed. Australian English is similar to British English, but many common words differ from American English—and there are many unique Aussie words, slang terms, and expressions.

The term for Aussie slang and pronunciation is strine (which was coined by Charles Dickens’s great-granddaughter, Monica Dickens), and if you plan to visit the world’s smallest continent, this list of some of the most commonly used slang is for you.

1. Arvo

Arvo is Australian slang for afternoon. According to Australian National University’s School of Literature, Language, and Linguistics, “Arvo is an example of a special feature of Australian English, the habit of adding -o to an abbreviated word. Other such words are bizzo ‘business’ and journo ‘journalist.’ First recorded in the 1920s and still going strong today.”

2. Barbie

Paul Hogan
Australian icon Paul Hogan. / Fox Photos/GettyImages

Barbeque. The phrase shrimp on the barbie comes from an Australian tourism ad starring Paul Hogan, the future Crocodile Dundee—and what he actually said was “I’ll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for ya,” not “I’ll throw another shrimp on the barbie.”

3. and 4. Bogan and Flanno

An uncultured person. According to the Australian show Bogan Hunters, a real bogan sports a flanno (flannel shirt), a mullet, missing teeth, homemade tattoos (preferably of the Australian Flag or the Southern Cross), and has an excess of Australia paraphernalia.

5. Bonzer

Bonzer can be used as an adjective meaning “splendid, great”; as an adverb meaning “beautifully, splendidly”; or as a noun to refer to a person or thing “that excites admiration by being surpassingly good of its kind,” according to ANU. Its etymology is uncertain: One theory is that it might trace back to the obsolete Australian word bonster.

6. Cobber

An Australian word for a friend.

7. Dubbo by the Sea

"Stations Of The Cross" Re-Enacted Across Sydney For World Youth Day 08
Sydney’s famous opera house. / Gaye Gerard/GettyImages

Australians have a dizzying array of nicknames for places in the country. Sydney, for example, goes by Dubbo by the Sea as well as Emerald City, Steak and Kidney, and World’s Biggest Theme Park, among others.

8. Esky

A insulated cooler for food and drinks.

9. Fair Dinkum

A slang term meaning “genuine.” According to Merriam-Webster, it’s “often used as a general expression of approval.”

10. Full as a Goog

Since the 1930s, full as a goog has meant “very drunk,” “crammed with food,” or “very full.” In Australia, goog is a word for egg.

11. Mozzie

Asian Tiger Mosquito
Nobody likes a mozzie. / Getty Images/GettyImages

This Australian term for mosquito has been used since the early 20th century. As a 1916 issue of Punch noted, “Here in Victoria we go right along, cursing, the ‘mossies,’ fighting them every night, losing good sleep through them, and yet never attempting to use the nets.”

12. and 13. Pash and Pash Rash

pash is a long, passionate kiss, and a pash rash is red irritated skin as the result of a heavy make-out session with someone with a beard.

14. Rellie

A relative. As ANU’s School of Literature, Language, and Linguistics notes, this term “is a typical example of the way Australians abbreviate words and then add the-ie (or-y) suffix.”

15. Ripper

A term meaning “really great.”

16. Roo

Australia's East Coast Gets Into Summer Mode
That’s one cute roo. / Matt Jelonek/GettyImages

A kangaroo. A baby roo, still in the pouch, is known as a joey.

17. and 18. Root and Barrack for

In Australia, root is a term for sex. This one can get really get foreigners in trouble. There are numerous stories about Americans coming to Australia telling people about which team they root for. If you come to Australia and want to talk about the sports teams you support, use the word barrack instead. Per ANU, barrack’s “origin is probably from Northern Irish barrack ‘to brag; to be boastful.’ By itself barrack meant ‘to jeer’ (and still does in British English), but the form barrack for transformed the jeering into cheering in Australian English.”

19. Servo

A servo is a gas or service station, which are also called “petrol stations.”

20. and 21. She’ll Be Right and She’ll Be Apples

These two Australian phrases both mean “everything will be all right.”

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22. and 23. Sickie and Chucking a Sickie

The term sickie is what Australians use to refer to a sick day. If you take a day off work when you’re not actually sick, it’s called “chucking a sickie.”

24. Slab

A 24-pack of beer.

25. Sook

The word sook is used to refer to a crybaby. If someone calls you a sook, it’s because they think you’re whinging, a.k.a. whining.

26. Stir the Possum

Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) seen in...
Common Brushtail Possum. / SOPA Images/GettyImages

A phrase meaning “to shake things up” that dates back to the 1880s. Don’t confuse Australian possums with American opossums; they’re different animals.

27. and 28. Stubbie Holder and Stubbie

A koozie or cooler. A stubbie holder is a polystyrene insulated holder for a stubbie, which is a 375ml bottle of beer.

29. Sweet As

This phase means “sweet, awesome.” Aussies will often put as at the end of adjectives to give it emphasis. Other examples include lazy as, lovely as, fast as, and common as.

30. Ta

How Australians say “thank you.”

31. Tradie

A tradesman. Most of the tradies have nicknames too, including brickie (bricklayer), truckie (truckdriver), sparky (electrician), garbo (garbage collector), and chippie (carpenter).

32. Ute

A utility vehicle or pickup truck.

33. We’re Not Here to Fuck Spiders

If Australians want to say “get on with it,” they’ll use the phrase we’re not here to fuck spiders. You can watch Aussie Margot Robbie discuss the phrase on The Graham Norton Show above.

34. Whinge

This term for whining or complaining is also used in the UK.

35. Yakka

This Australian phrase for hard work dates back to the 1840s and came from the Yagara language of Indigenous Australians in the Brisbane region.

A version of this story ran in 2015; it has been updated for 2024.