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Australian Slang A to C
Though the official language of Australia is English, Australian are equally notorious for their use of slang. While some, like "gidday" and "fair dinkum," are fairly well-known outside of Australia, many tourists struggle to understand what is being said. And it's especially important to understand what is being asked of you when your newfound friend at the local pub tells you it's your turn to "shout."
Australians are informal and casual, by and large, and this is also reflected in their language. Many slang are actually just shortened versions of common words. Conversely, of course, Australians also tend to add to short nicknames (by adding an "o" or an "za" - Dave, for example, is often called Davo, and Gary is called Gazza.
But some slang is also based off Aboriginal language, or a combination of the two (English and Aboriginal). Australian slang, like all slang, is constantly evolving and changing. While the list below includes a lot of common slang, it is by no means complete.
Here is A to C.
[See A-C D-I J-M N-R S-Z]
ANZAC - (1) Members of the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps in World War I. Anzac Day (April 25) is a national holiday. (2) Delicious biscuits (cookies), made with oats and golden syrup
The Alice - Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Amber fluid – beer. "Let's have a qiuck transfusion of amber fluid."
apples - Everything's under control, as in "She's apples."
The Apple Isle - Tasmania
arvo - Afternoon. "Pop in for arvo tea."
Aussie - Australian
Aussie salute - The backward and forward waving of hands before the face to shoo away the flies. See blowie.
Back of Beyond - Way out there somewhere, remote. See the balck stump and Woop Woop.
bag of fruit - Rhyming slang for a man's suite. "He was dressed to kill in his bag of fruit, and he didn't care who knew it."
Balmain bug - Small type of crayfish. Named after the trawlermen of the historic Sydney suburb of Balmain who pioneered the industry. See Moreton Bay Bug.
Banana Bender - A person from Queensland. Warning: don't use this expression in Queensland if you want to be asked back.
Banger – a sausage
Barbie - Barbecue.
Also, "He's a few snags short of a barbie" is used to describe someone who is a little crazy
barney - An argument or dispute
barrack - To give encouragement to your sports team
barramundi - Aboriginal name for a large tasty fish found in the waters of Queensland, Northern Territory, and Western Australia.
(Editor's Note: Barramundi is worth going to Australia for. If you find yourself down under, make sure to give this a try!)
bastard - a term of abuse, but it can also be one of male endearment, as in "G'day ya silly old bastard." Warning: use it in a jocular way, or you may get into a blue. See blue
battler - Someone who struggles to make ends meet
beaut or beauty - Great! Terrific! Also pronounced beaudy or bewdy.
bell - To call someone on the telephone. "I'll give you a bell from the back of beyond."
big-note - To boast and exaggerate one's wealth and power or physical feats
billabong - A water hole in a dry river bed.
bickie - a cookie
billy - a metal can, usually tin, enamel ware, or aluminum used for making tea over an open fire.
black stump - an imaginary point dividing civilization and the Outback. "She's the biggest big-noter this side of the black stump."
bloke - a male; the guy in charge.
bloody - One of the most over-used adjectives in the Australian vocabulary, bloody is used to add emphasis to almost any expression. "Too bloody right, mate."
Bloody Oath – damn right, an affirmative to a statement.
blowie - Blowfly. Sometimes jokingly referred to as Australia's national bird.
bludger - Someone who doesn't pull their weight at work and sponges on others.
blue - To have an argument or a fight
Bluey - Nickname for a bloke with red hair. Also, a swagman's (tramp's) blanket roll.
blue healer - A nuggety cattle dog with a blue-flecked coat, popular with bushies and city folk alike.
boomer - A large male kangaroo. Some Aussie children believe Santa Claus' sleigh is pulled by six white boomers.
boot - trunk of a car
bonzer - fantastic - awesome. "He's a bonzer bloke to have on your side in a blue."
bottler - someone (or something) who performs well. "He's a little bottler."
bottle shop - liquor store, often part of a hotel
brolly - umbrella
brumby - from an Aboriginal word meaning a wild horse
bubbler - water/drinking fountain
to bucket - to dump on someone; to blame them for everything
Buckley's chance - Absolutely no chance. "She's got a buckley's chance of catching that bus."
bull artist - a teller of tall tales; a braggart. Closely related to a big-noter.
Bundy - the town of Bundaberg in Queensland. Also the name of a popular brand of rum.
to bung - To put on an act; to throw. "There's no need to bung it on with me." "Just bung another prawn on the barbie."
the Bush - unspoiled land beyond the city with natural vegetation.
to go bush - to get away from all your troubles
bushie - used to described someone who lives miles from anywhere
I'm Bushed - I'm tired
bushranger - an outlaw in early colonial days. Ned Kelly was one of Australia's most notorious bushrangers
bush tucker - native foods such as berries, roots and food stuff, such as edible insects, known to Aborigines and only recently discovered by European Australians.
B.Y.O. - Bring your own. Unlicenced restaurant where you need to bring your own alcohol. Many party invitations include the B.Y.O. proviso.
Captain Cook - British navigator and explorer who mapped the east coast of Australia in 1776. (2) Have a look. "Take a Captain Cook" - rhyming slang for "take a look"
Cark it – to die, stop working or cease functioning.
El cheapo – something that is cheap. "The el cheapo chair broke when I sat on it."
cheese and kisses - rhyming slang for wife, ie "the missus"
chemist - Pharmacy or drugstore
chips - french fries or potato crisps.
To "spit chips" means that you are very angry
china - rhyming slang for mate. "Me ole china plate."
Chockers – completely full. "This restaurant is chockers tonight."
chook - domestic chicken or hen.
"running around like a headless chook" refers to someone who is over-excited or disorganised
Chrissie - Christmas
Chrissie prezzie - Christmas present
Clayton's - name of a soft drink that was promoted as a substitute for alcohol. Ther term came to mean something that is not what it seems. "This is one bloody Clayton's dictionary if I ever saw one."
The Coathanger - term for the Sydney Harbour Bridge
cobber - a close friend
cocky - A cockatoo, native bird of Australia. (2) Can also mean a farmer. (3) Someone who is cocky is over-confident. Boss Cocky - the boss
cooee - originally a call used by Aborigines in the bush, it is now used by all Australians as an exclamation. For example, instead of saying "Hello!," they would say "cooee!" (2) "within cooee" - within earshot
to cop - Take a look at that! "Cop that!" Cop it sweet - Take it on the chin. Accept the consequences.
Corroboree - Aboriginal dance ceremony or meeting
cozzies - Swimsuit
crook - to be sick or no good; also angry. "Don't go crook on me for getting crook."
well stone crows - a mild oath or exclamation, meaning I'll be damned
to cruel - a ruined opportunity. "He cruelled his changes by getting crook."
cuppa - A cup of tea. The Australian antidote to all problems. Let's sit down and have a cuppa.
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