life down under

Stories, travel tips, favorite places & spaces from a six month stint in Sydney 

20 Examples of Australian Slang Words & Their Meanings


If you're an American thinking of travelling to Australia you may be wondering how real are the Australian phrases we hear about. Well I'm here to tell you that they are real, and there are so many phrases and words they use that while technically are the english language - you will hear and think "is this french!?" So g'day folks, hope you're keen to learn more about aussie slang s'arvo. (Don't worry, you'll know what this sentence means by the end of this post if you don't know already!) 

The Australian accent is not too difficult to get accustomed to.  The slang, however, does take a bit of an adjustment. Sometimes everyday words are downright confusing and give you those alien feelings. While FaceTiming with a friend of mine from back home I was explaining to her some of the phrases and words that are commonly used here and she got quite a kick out of it. In fact, many times when I'm catching up with my friends and family from home it's a fun topic to bring up and makes me feel cultured (:-p) even though I know I'm not really pushing myself from a cultural perspective by living here. 


My colleague KaitScott and I, practicing our Aussie slang over HipChat

In any case, I wanted to put together a list of phrases and words you hear commonly in Australia and hope it may be useful to other US travelers thinking of heading to the Southern Hemisphere for some 

Australian English                            American English

How you going? How are you?/How's it going?
Arvo/S'arvo Afternoon / This afternoon
Tradie Tradesperson
a Sparky                                          Electrician
a Truckie Truck Driver
a Chippie Carpenter
Hotel  many times this is not actually a place where you can stay overnight, but rather a bar 
Rocket Arugula
Capsicum Pepper
Biff A fight
Bogan Hick/Redneck 
Fairy Floss Cotton Candy
Bottle-o Liquor Store
Budgie smugglers Speedo
A big night A night out where you get wrecked/very drunk
Maccas McDonald's
Heaps                    A lot - "I've learned heaps today!" 
Tinny Can of beer
Trackie daks Sweatpants
Ta Thank you

One thing you might notice about the above list is that many of the words are just shortened versions of their proper english meaning. As someone who is known for abbreviating everything, I've felt at home amongst a whole nation of people who shorten words.