Alright guys, the jig is up. Busted. I’m telling. Sorry Aussies, we Brits love you (as does the rest of the world), but we need to understand you.
As a run up to Australia Day (put it in your diaries, it’s tomorrow, Sunday 26 January 2014!), I thought I’d do as I do every year: reminisce about Australia and all its wonderful weirdness. So here is my version (that I’m sure I’ll keep updating) of an Australian to English dictionary of all the wacky words and phrases you folk Down Under have.
These are things that I’ve actually heard Australians say (and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some) so if you have anything to add, let me know in the comments!
Note: mostly not in alphabetical order.
Arvo – “Afternoon”
Bogan – Generally a mess of an Australian. Sort of like a Chav for us, but a more summery, ‘laddish’ version. For anyone who’s not familiar with Chav either, let’s break these derogatory names down: unsophisticated background, lack of care for how they look or behave, bad manners, and especially in the Bogan case, likes a lot of beer.
Budgie smugglers – men’s speedos.
Capsicum – a much more fun word for “pepper”
Drop Bears – An extremely believable myth (given the frankly abnormal wildlife Australia has) that these things called drop bears exist, that will fall on you out of nowhere. My first few days in Australia was spent trying to work out whether I should trust the stories of my new friends.
“How you going?” – Not, as it appears, an enquiry into what mode of transport you are using. This is simply: “How are you?”
Jaffy – Stands for Just Another Fucking First Year. Aka a fresher. Derogatory term given by older students.
Footy – in Australia, this refers to Australian Rules Football, not British football/soccer. They call our football “soccer”
“No worries” – they actually say this and it’s fantastic.
Skull – down a drink, no breaths, no stopping.
Australians ride kangaroos to school – Unlike the drop bear story, I was never going to believe this. IT’S NOT TRUE. They do eat them, though. Kangaroo steak is pretty delicious when it’s done right.
Thongs – Flip flops
Macca’s – McDonalds. I still find myself referring to McDonalds as Macca’s, and this made me truly happy:
Snag – this is essentially a hot dog just in a slice of bread, placed diagonally. Essential part of a BBQ and the most frequent food I got for free on campus.
Goon – a box of wine. Disgusting, cheap, necessary wine. Down to the dribbles, you remove the sack within the box and squeeze ever last droplet out. A number of games can ensue with this sack of wine. It is a horrendous thing but it must never be stopped. It is the backbone of affordable Australian student life.
King’s Cup – I always knew this as Ring of Fire. i.e. the drinking game with a cup in the middle and cards surrounding it and rules corresponding to each suit/number.
Doona – duvet.
Dinkum/Fair Dinkum – genuine/true/for real/fair. It took me a while to figure this one out. But you can say it in an exclamation of surprise, as if asking “For real?” or to proclaim something as true or fair.
Esky – large, insulated container for food/drink for picnics/BBQs etc
Fairy Floss – Candy floss/Cotton candy
Heaps – yeah, a familiar word, but Aussies use this a lot to say thanks: “Thanks heaps” etc
Lollies – these are NOT ice lollies/popsicles. They are sweets/candy.
Mozzie – mosquito
“Lost my shit” – To lose one’s shit is to lose it by getting mad at something/reacting hysterically.
Op shop – second hand shop, thrift/”opportunity” store
Pot – 285 ml beer glass in Queensland and Victoria
Pom/pommie – English person. It’s not an affectionate term…
Sheepshagger – A Kiwi (New Zealander)… Aussie version of Welsh people to the British (sorry Welshies).
Sheila – woman. This is a stereotype, yes, but I actually know someone who says this.
Reading this has just made me realise that I actually use quite a few of them myself! Some a lot! Don’t know whether I picked them up when I was over there but I must have. Clearly I’m supposed to be Australian. Best get packing :)