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How to Speak Australian: Your Guide to Aussie Slang

Steve Aussie
Eyre Peninsula Australia

How to Speak Australian: Your Guide to Aussie Slang

story by: House of Travel

Like every country, Australia is full of its own eccentricities and quirks - especially when it comes to language!

Get ready for a trip to Australia by brushing up on your Aussie slang. There are a whole bunch of words and phrases you might never have heard before heading across the ditch, and some of them are a little eccentric - so it's best to be prepared.

Here's a guide to some of Australia's most common slang terms - here's hoping you'll soon be fluent in “Strayan”!

Fair dinkum
Soon after arriving in Australia you'll likely hear somebody say the common phrase "it's fair dinkum, mate!" or the shortened form "it's dinks mate". This term means it's real, honest, genuine, or fair and square. 
How to use it in a sentence: "That man's a real fair dinkum Aussie bloke, mate."

Troppo/gone troppo
Heading to tropical Queensland or another hot, sun-drenched destination? Watch out for somebody who's "gone troppo". This means they've spent so long in the tropical climate they've gone a bit mad.
How to use it in a sentence: "Watch out for that one over there, he's been lying in the sun so long he's gone troppo." 

Bonza is a word used to describe something as great, awesome or cool.
How to use it in a sentence: "Did you see the rugby last night? It was bonza mate!" 

In many countries, this word refers to an itsy-bitsy pair of underwear. Not in Australia, though! Here, thongs are the shoes known elsewhere as flip-flops or jandals.
How to use it in sentence: "The sand's going to be hot, so don't forget to bring a pair of thongs!"

In Australia, a cossie is what you might call a bathing suit, pair of togs or swimmers. 
How to use it in a sentence: "Bring along your cossie in case we decide to go swimming." 

Throw a shrimp on the barbie
In a 1980s tourism advertisement designed to get people to come to Australia, an actor uttered the words "throw a shrimp on the barbie", a phrase that quickly became an Australian stereotype most commonly used by tourists. While it's used less frequently by locals themselves, it has still become a quintessential Aussie phrase. 
If you do hear an Australian say this term genuinely, it's usually referring to inviting somebody over and cooking for them. 
How to use it in a sentence: "Come over this afternoon and we'll throw a shrimp on the barbie." 

In Australia, quilts or duvets are most often referred to as 'doonas'. 
How to use it in a sentence: "It's going to get cold tonight, so throw a doona on the bed." 

Made famous by the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, 'crikey!' is a phrase used to denote surprise, amazement or wonder. 
How to use it in a sentence: "Mate, did you see that croc? Crikey she was a big one!" 

Blokes and sheilas

In Australia it's common for a man to be referred to as a 'bloke' and a woman as a 'sheila'.

How to use it in a sentence: "How many blokes and sheilas are coming to the party tonight?"

Milk bar
A milk bar is what Kiwis might refer to as a dairy, corner or convenience store. It sells basic groceries such as drinks, milk, bread and a range of snacks.  The term is most commonly used in the states of Victoria and New South Wales, although you might hear it elsewhere, too. 

How to use it in a sentence: "I'm just popping out to the milk bar to grab a loaf of bread." 

So there you have it - some common Aussie terms to help you speak “Strayan”. Crikey!

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