8 Aussie Slang Words Every Visitor Should Know

Coming to Australia? Well, here are 8 Aussie slangs you should know first! I consulted a few people who’ve lived in Australia for a while, coming from Singapore and these are the few head-scratchers the very first time we heard them!

Or “afternoon”. As in: “I’ll talk to you this arvo.”

Nope, not talking loudly. It means to treat, or in Singlish, it means to “belanjah”. As in: “Have a drink, my shout.”

This stumped me the first time I heard it. Ta? Short for ta-ta (as in goodbye)? Then I realised it’s short form for thanks. Oh, and until I heard Zoie’s childcare teacher, when Zoie was picking up some toy, the teacher went “Taaaa, Zoie, Mark was playing with that toy first” Which made me think it’s some code for “no”. Or so you won’t be saying “Oiii!” or “Stop it!”

There’s bee hoon, tang hoon… and then, in Australia, there’s the bad kind of hoon. The kind who goes around creating trouble, especially when driving a car or a boat. While colloquial Singlish seldom (if ever!) makes it to the news stations, I just heard the news caster using this term.

Not the doll. Oh the travesty. The barbeque.

In fact, Aussies love to “cute-ify” so many words. Why call it a tracksuit when you can say trackie? Running shoes are a waste of breath, so you should just say runners. Even Ian Thorpe is nicknamed “Thorpey” (and when he was on television doing some coverage of some sports events last year, I got distracted by other newscasters calling him that.” I mean we call Fandi Ahmad… Fandi. Ang Peng Siong is…. Ang Peng Siong. McDonald’s in Australia has resigned to being called Macca’s (and psst, you won’t find Burger King here, but Hungry Jack’s looks an awful lot like the BK we know and love).

Driving a car? Then you’ll need to check where’s the nearest servo to get petrol.

Normally, we’d say, “Oh you’re as lazy as a pig.” The Aussies have got it cut down to just… “Lazy as.” Yup, so you have “easy as”, “sweet as”, “slow as” and whatever adjective you can think of (but can’t remember the exact idiom to). Easy as.

Which means whine. And as a noun, you can be a “whinger” or you can be “whinging”.


So so much more – but this will do for now! How about you? Any Aussie slang words to add to the list?

2 Responses to “8 Aussie Slang Words Every Visitor Should Know”

  1. Leonny

    Hi Sandra,

    your post rlnicely reminds me of my oz days :)

    yes there are quite a few slangs :)

    hmm here are a few more that i can think of right now :

    – good onya, mate! – well done, my friend!
    – chuck a fit – angry
    – bathers – swimsuit
    – telly – television
    – loo / john – toilet
    – mozzie – mosquito


  2. Carissa Taylor

    Love these! I was so confused about so many of these when we first moved here! Still am trying to track down the precise definition of a “bogan” and getting used to all the baby (excuse me “bub”) terminology. Also … kitchen counter being called a “bench” ?? Ahh too many translations! But I love it :)


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