Australian Slang – What you need to know

Cottlesloe Beach scene - Australian slang - Flip flops

Knowing a few Australian slang words can make for fun times

In preparation for your new life in Australia, it’s important to know the subtle and not so subtle differences in the use of language.  To help you avoid any unintentional faux pas at a barbecue or in the office I have included this list of Australian slang below courtesy of Frank “Willy-Willy” (which is another name for “mini tor­nado”).

Australian slang words originated from a variety of sources.  From the Aboriginal language to the First World War.  The history of how “Australian english” developed is a very interesting one.  If you want to read about the history, I highly recommend this article by Kathryn Wells on

Barrack: to cheer on (footy team, etc.)
Bludger: lazy person, layabout
Blue: a flight or argument
Bogan: person, usually of limited means, who takes little pride in his appearance or manner. Might be called white trash in the US.
Bottle-o: off- licence
Budgie smugglers: Speedos – men’s swimsuit
BYO: unlicensed restaurant where you have to Bring Your Own grog
Chook: a chicken
Cozzie: swimming costume
Dunny: outside lavatory
Esky: large insulated food/drink container for picnics or barbecues.
Middy: 285ml beer glass
Long-neck: 750ml bottle of beer
Ocker: unsophisticated, see bogan
Nipper: young surf lifesaver
Pash: a long passionate kiss
Pash ‘n’ dash: kiss and run
Pokies: gambling slot machines
Reckon!: You bet! Absolutely.
Roadie: a beer you buy to take in the car
Root (verb and noun): synonym for f*ck in nearly all its senses. A very useful word in fairly polite company.
Schooner: standard beer glass
Servo: Petrol station
Smoko: smoke or coffee break
Snag: a sausage
Sook: person or animal who is soft, tarne, inoffensive. Hence sooky (adj)
Spewin: very angry
Sunnies: sunglasses
Thongs: flip-flops
Tucker: food

If you want to know more about Australian slang, I highly recommend The Penguin Book of Australian Slang by Lenie Johansen which is a great resource.  It is available on Amazon and Goodreads sites.

Finally, if you feel you would like to live in Australia and practice your Australian slang, find out more information on how to apply for an Australian migration visa.