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Australian Language

Although we speak English in Australia, you’d be forgiven for thinking that we speak something completely foreign. Aussies love to shorten words; I like to think it’s because we’re efficient (not because we’re lazy). Anything and everything can be shortened, and often an “o” is put on the end. Take names, for example. David becomes “Davo”, Robert becomes “Robbo”, Michael becomes “Mick” and even brand names are shortened. McDonald’s is “Maccas”, Woolworths is “Woolies” and in the case of beer, we don’t even bother spelling it (see XXXX a.k.a. “fourex”).

maccas sign

If I told you I was going to throw some snags on the barbie with Richo and Macca on Sunday arvo, what I’d really be saying is “I’m going to put some sausages on the barbecue with Richard and (someone) McDonald on Sunday afternoon.”

No wonder visitors get confused! To save you some confusion when you visit Australia, here is a list of common Aussie slang words you may come across.

Aussie Slang Dictionary

G’Day – This is probably the most famous Aussie slang word. It’s short for “good day” and is a friendly greeting expressed to say hi to just about anyone and everyone.

Arvo – Afternoon

Barbie – Barbecue / BBQ

Woolies – Woolworths (a chain of grocery stores)

Snags – Sausages

Maccas – McDonald’s (Interesting side note: McDonald’s actually renamed some of its stores in Australia to “Maccas” to celebrate Australia Day)

Bloke – A man (guy, dude)

Sheila – A woman (chick, girl)

Bogan – Uneducated, lower-class person. Commonly seen wearing flannelette shirts and Ugg boots, hanging their arm out the window of a Commodore or Falcon whilst doing a burnout. Often has a “mullet” haircut. In more recent times the bogan youth can be seen wearing their uniform of Nike Shox shoes, Nautica polo shirt, shorts and a “bum bag” (fanny pack) slung across their shoulder.

Hard Yakka – Hard work

Bottle-o – Short for “bottle shop” a.k.a. liquor store. Liquor laws vary by state; in some states you can buy alcohol at the grocery store (see “Woolies”) but in others you have to go to a dedicated bottle shop.

Brissie – Brisbane (capital city of the state of Queensland), also Brizzy/Brizzie

Bundy – Short for “Bundaberg”, a town in Queensland. Also the biggest brand of Australian rum.

Budgie smugglers – Speedos, togs, swimmers. Commonly worn by Tony Abbott.

Clicks – Short for “kilometres” (also klicks)

Dinkum – Genuine (also “dinky-di” or “fair dinkum”)

Dunny  – Toilet

Hooroo – Goodbye

Heaps – A lot of something (heaps of money, heaps of trouble)

Mate – Friend. Often used in the greeting “G’Day Mate”. Useful if you can’t remember someone’s name.

What’s your favourite Aussie word? Is there one that you haven’t quite grasped yet? Leave it in the comments below!


  1. We’ve heard “no worries” at least times so far in our three days in Australia.

    • “No Worries” pretty much sums up the Aussie attitude! You might also hear “No Wuckas” (no wuckin furries, a.k.a. “no f#$%in’ worries).

      Other related sayings:
      Too easy!
      She’ll be right!

  2. Do the Harold Holt – disappear

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