Cairns Visitors Information Guide
Tropical Far North Queensland

Australian Slang - Australian Vernacular

Australians are well known for their relaxed disposition and being Australian you get used to a lot of commonly used terms which are bewildering to visitors to say the least. But it is all apart of the culture and being Australian

Here is a short list (by no means exhaustive) of some more commonly used terms in the Australian language and definitely not part of the Queens English.

G'Day mate!





Amber fluid : beer
Ankle biter : small child
Apples, she'll be : It'll be alright
Arvo : afternoon
Aussie (pron. Ozzie) : Australian


B & S : Bachelors' and Spinsters' Ball - a very enjoyable party usually held in rural areas
Back of Bourke : a very long way away
Bail (somebody) up : to corner somebody physically
Bail out : depart, usually angrily
Banana bender : a person from Queensland
Barbie : barbecue (noun)
Barrack : to cheer on (football team etc.)
Bastard : term of endearment
Bathers : swimming costume
Battler : someone working hard and only just making a living
Beaut, beauty : great, fantastic
Bikkie : biscuit (also "it cost big bikkies" - it was expensive)
Billabong : an ox-bow river or watering hole
Billy : large tin can used to boil water over a campfire for tea
Bities : biting insects
Bizzo : business ("mind your own bizzo")
Black Stump, beyond the : a long way away, the back of nowhere
Bloke : man, guy
Bloody : very (bloody hard yakka)
Bloody oath! : that's certainly true
Blowie : blow fly
Bludger : lazy person, layabout, somebody who always relies on other people to do things or lend him things
Blue : fight ("he was having a blue with his wife")
Blue, make a : make a mistake
Bluey : pack, equipment, traffic ticket, redhead
Bluey : blue cattle dog (named after its subtle markings) which is an excellent working dog. Everyone's favourite all-Aussie dog.
Bodgy : of inferior quality
Bog in : commence eating, to attack food with enthusiasm
Bonzer : great, ripper
Boogie board : a hybrid, half-sized surf board
Boomer : a large male kangaroo
Booze bus : police vehicle used for catching drunk drivers
Boozer : a pub
Bored shitless : very bored
Bottle shop : liquor shop
Bottle-o : liquor shop
Bottler : something excellent
Bottling, his blood's worth : he's an excellent, helpful bloke.
Bounce : a bully
Bourke Street, he doesn't know Christmas from : he's a bit slow in the head. (Bourke Street is a brightly lit Melbourne street)
Brass razoo, he hasn't got a : he's very poor
Brekkie : breakfast
Brick shit house, built like a : big strong bloke
Brickie : bricklayer
Brizzie : Brisbane, state capital of Queensland
Brown-eyed mullet : a turd in the sea (where you're swimming!)
Brumby : a wild horse
Buck's night : stag party, male gathering the night before the wedding
Buckley's, Buckley's chance : no chance ("New Zealand stands Buckley's of beating Australia at football")
Bull bar : stout bar fixed to the front of a vehicle to protect it against hitting kangaroos
Bundy : short for Bundaberg, Queensland, and the brand of rum that's made there
Bunyip : mythical outback creature
Bush : the hinterland, the Outback, anywhere that isn't in town
Bush telly : campfire
Bushie : someone who lives in the Bush
Bushranger : highwayman, outlaw
BYO : unlicensed restaurant where you have to BYO own grog, also similar party or barbecue


Cactus : dead, not functioning ("this bloody washing machine is cactus")
Captain Cook : look (noun) ("let's have a Captain Cook")
Cark it : to die, cease functioning
Cat burying shit, as busy as a : busy
Cat's piss, as mean as : mean, stingy, uncharitable
Chewie : chewing gum
Chokkie : chocolate
Chook : a chicken
Chrissie : Christmas
Christmas : see Bourke Street
Chuck a sickie : take the day off sick from work when you're perfectly healthy
Chunder : vomit
Clayton's : fake, substitute
Click : kilometre - "it's 10 clicks away"
Clucky : feeling broody or maternal
Cobber : friend
Cockie : farmer. Also a cockatoo
Cockroach : a person from New South Wales
Coldie : a beer
Come a gutser : make a bad mistake, have an accident
Compo : Workers' Compensation pay
Cooee, not within : figuratively a long way away, far off - England weren't within cooee of beating Australia at cricket
Cook (noun) : One's wife
Corroboree : an aboriginal dance festival
Counter lunch : pub lunch
Cozzie : swimming costume
Crack a fat : get an erection
Cranky : in a bad mood, angry
Cream (verb) : defeat by a large margin
Crook : sick, or badly made
Crow eater : a person from South Australia
Cut lunch : sandwiches
Cut snake, mad as a : very angry


Dag : a funny person, nerd, goof
Daks : trousers
Damper : bread made from flour and water
Dead horse : Tomato sauce
Deadset : true, the truth
Dero : tramp, hobo, homeless person (from "derelict")
Digger : a soldier
Dill : an idiot
Dinkum, fair dinkum : true, real, genuine ("I'm a dinkum Aussie"; "is he fair dinkum?")
Dinky-di : the real thing, genuine
Dipstick : a loser, idiot
Dob (somebody) in : inform on somebody. Hence dobber, a tell-tale
Docket : a bill, receipt
Dog : unattractive woman
Dole bludger : Somebody on social assistance when unjustified
Doozey : something very pleasant, significant, large
Down Under : Australia and New Zealand
Drink with the flies : to drink alone
Drongo : a dope, stupid person
Drum : information, tip-off ("I'll give you the drum")
Dummy, spit the : get very upset at something
Dunny : outside lavatory
Durry : cigarette style='font-size:9.0pt;"Arial Unicode MS";color:black'>


Earbashing : nagging, non-stop chatter
Ekka : the Brisbane Exhibition, an annual show
Esky : large insulated food/drink container for picnics, barbecues etc.
Exy : expensive


Face, off one's : drunk ("He was off his face by 9pm")
Fair dinkum : true, genuine
Fair go : a chance ("give a bloke a fair go")
Fairy floss : candy floss, cotton candy
Feral (n.) : a hippie
Flake : shark's flesh (sold in fish & chips shops)
Flick : to give something or somebody the flick is to get rid of it or him/her
Flick it on : to sell something, usually for a quick profit, soon after buying it.
Fly wire : gauze flyscreen covering a window or doorway.
Footy : Australian Rules football
Fossicking : searching, rummaging ("fossicking through the kitchen drawers")
Frog in a sock, as cross as a : sounding angry - a person or your hard drive!
Fruit loop : fool
Full : drunk


G'Day : hello!
Galah : fool, named after the bird of the same name which flies south in the winter - a bloody silly thing to do in the Southern Hemisphere
Garbo, garbologist : municipal garbage collector
Give it a burl : try it, have a go
Gobful, give a : to abuse, usually justifiably ("The neighbours were having a noisy party so I went and gave them a gobful")
Going off : used of a night spot or party that is a lot of fun - "the place was really going off"
Good oil : useful information, a good idea, the truth
Good onya : good for you, well done
Greenie : environmentalist
Grinning like a shot fox : very happy, smugly satisfied
Grog : liquor, beer ("bring your own grog, you bludger")
Grouse (adj.) : great, terrific, very good
Grundies : undies, underwear (from Reg Grundy, a television person)
Gutful of piss : drunk, "he's got a gutful of piss"


Heaps : a lot, e.g. "thanks heaps", "(s)he earned heaps of money" etc.
Holy dooley! : an exclamation of surprise = "Good heavens!", "My goodness!" "Good grief!" or similar
Hoon : hooligan
Hotel : often just a pub
Hottie : hot water bottle


Icy pole, ice block : popsicle, lollypop


Jackaroo : a male station hand (a station is a big farm/grazing property)
Jillaroo : a female station hand
Joey : baby kangaroo
Journo : journalist
Jumbuck : sheep


Kangaroos loose in the top paddock : Intellectually inadequate ("he's got kangaroos loose in the top paddock")
Kelpie : Australian sheepdog originally bred from Scottish collie
Kero : kerosene
Kindie : kindergarten
Knock : to criticise
Knock back : refusal (noun), refuse (transitive verb)
Knocker : somebody who criticises


Lair : a flashily dressed young man of brash and vulgar behaviour, to dress up in flashy clothes, to renovate or dress up something in bad taste
Lair it up : to behave in a brash and vulgar manner
Larrikin : a bloke who is always enjoying himself, harmless prankster
Lend of, to have a : to take advantage of somebody's gullibility, to have someone on ("he's having a lend of you")
Lippy : lipstick
Lizard drinking, flat out like a : flat out, busy
Lob, lob in : drop in to see someone ("the rellies have lobbed")
Lollies : sweets, candy
Loo : toilet
Lucky Country, The : Australia, where else?
Lurk : illegal or underhanded racket style='font-size: 9.0pt; color:black'>


Mallee bull, as fit as a : very fit and strong. The Mallee is very arid beef country in Victoria/South Australia.
Manchester : Household linen, eg sheets etc.
Mate : buddy, friend
Mate's rate, mate's discount : cheaper than usual for a "friend"
Matilda : swagman's bedding, sleeping roll
Metho : methylated spirits
Mexican : a person from south of the (Queensland) border
Mickey Mouse : excellent, very good. Beware though - in some parts of Australia it means inconsequential, frivolous or not very good!
Middy : 285 ml beer glass in New South Wales
Milk bar : corner shop that sells takeaway food
Milko : milkman
Mob : group of people, not necessarily troublesome
Mob : family or herd (?) of kangaroos
Mongrel : despicable person
Moolah : money
Mozzie : mosquito
Muddy : mud crab (a great delicacy)
Mug : friendly insult ("have a go, yer mug"), gullible person
Mull : grass (the kind you smoke)
Muster : round up sheep or cattle


Naughty, have a : have sex
Never Never : the Outback, centre of Australia
Nipper : young surf lifesaver
No worries! : Expression of forgiveness or reassurance (No problem; forget about it; I can do it; Yes, I'll do it)
No-hoper : somebody who'll never do well
Not the full quid : not bright intellectually
Nuddy, in the : naked


O.S. : overseas ("he's gone O.S.")
Ocker : an unsophisticated person
Offsider : an assistant, helper
Oldies : parents - "I'll have to ask my oldies"
Outback : interior of Australia
Oz : Australia!


Pash : a long passionate kiss; hence "pashing on"
Pav : Pavlova - a rich, creamy Australian dessert
Perve (noun & verb) : looking lustfully at the opposite sex
Piece of piss : easy task
Pig's arse! : I don't agree with you
Piker : Someone who doesn't want to fit in with others socially, leaves parties early
Piss : beer. Hence "hit the piss", "sink some piss"
Plate, bring a : Instruction on party or BBQ invitation to bring your own food. It doesn't mean they're short of crockery!
Plonk : cheap wine
Pokies : poker machines, fruit machines, gambling slot machines
Polly : politician
Pom, pommy : an Englishman
Port : suitcase (portmanteau)
Postie : postman, mailman
Pot : 285 ml beer glass in Queensland
Pozzy : position - get a good pozzy at the football stadium
Prezzy : present, gift style='font-size:9.0pt;"Arial Unicode MS";color:black'>


Quid, make a : earn a living - "are you making a quid?"
Quid, not the full : of low IQ


Rack off : push off! get lost! get out of here! also "rack off hairy legs!".
Rage : party
Rage on : to continue partying - "we raged on until 3am"
Rapt : pleased, delighted
Ratbag : mild insult
Raw prawn, to come the : to bullshit, to be generally disagreeable
Reckon! : you bet! Absolutely!
Reffo : refugee
Rego : vehicle registration
Rellie : family relative
Ridgy-didge : original, genuine
Right : okay ("she'll be right, mate")
Rip snorter : great, fantastic - "it was a rip snorter of a party"
Ripper : great, fantastic - "it was a ripper party"
Road train : big truck with many trailers
Rock up : to turn up, to arrive - "we rocked up at their house at 8pm"
Rollie : a cigarette that you roll yourself
Roo : kangaroo
Ropeable : very angry
Rort (verb or noun) : Cheating, fiddling, defrauding (expenses, the system etc.). Usually used of politicians
Rotten : drunk - "I went out last night and got rotten"
Rubbish (verb) : to criticize


Salvos, the : Salvation Army, bless them
Sandgroper : a person from Western Australia
Sanger : a sandwich
Schooner : large beer glass in Queensland; small beer glass in South Australia
Scratchy : instant lottery ticket
Screamer : party lover; "two pot screamer" - somebody who gets drunk on very little alcohol
Servo : petrol station
Shark biscuit : somebody new to surfing
She'll be right : it'll turn out okay
Sheila : a woman
Shonky : dubious, underhanded. E.g. a shonky practice, shonky business etc.
Shoot through : to leave
Shout : turn to buy - a round of drinks usually ("it's your shout")
Sickie : day off sick from work (chuck a sickie = take the day off sick from work when you're perfectly healthy!)
Skite : boast, brag
Slab : a carton of 24 bottles or cans of beer
Sleepout : house verandah converted to a bedroom
Smoko : smoke or coffee break
Snag : a sausage
Sook : person or animal who is soft, tame, inoffensive. Hence sooky (adj.)
Spag bol : spaghetti bolognese
Spewin' : very angry
Spit the dummy : get very upset at something
Sprung : caught doing something wrong
Spunk : a good looking person (of either sex)
Squizz (noun) : look - "take a squizz at this"
Standover man : a large man, usually gang-related, who threatens people with physical violence in order to have his wishes carried out.
Station : a big farm/grazing property
Stickybeak : nosy person
Stoked : very pleased
Strewth : exclamation, mild oath ("Strewth, that Chris is a bonzer bloke")
Strides : trousers
Strine : Australian slang and pronunciation
Stubby : a 375ml. beer bottle
Stubby holder : polystyrene insulated holder for a stubby
Stuffed, I feel : I'm tired
Stuffed, I'll be : expression of surprise
Sunbake : sunbathe
Sunnies : sunglasses
Surfies : people who go surfing - usually more often than they go to work!
Swag : rolled up bedding etc. carried by a swagman
Swaggie : swagman


Tall poppies : successful people
Tall poppy syndrome : the tendency to criticize successful people
Tee-up : to set up (an appointment)
Thingo : Wadjamacallit, thingummy, whatsit
Thongs : cheap rubber backless sandals
Tickets, to have on oneself : to have a high opinion of oneself
Tinny : can of beer
Tinny : lucky
Tinny : small aluminium boat
Togs : swim suit
Too right! : definitely!
Top End : far north of Australia
Trackie daks/dacks : tracksuit pants
Trackies : track suit
Trough lolly : the solid piece of perfumed disinfectant in a men's urinal
Truckie : truck driver
True blue : patriotic
Tucker : food
Tucker-bag : food bag
Turps : turpentine, alcoholic drink
Turps, hit the : go on a drinking binge
Two up : gambling game played by spinning two coins simultaneously


Uni : university
Unit : flat, apartment
Up oneself : have a high opinion of oneself - "he's really up himself"
Up somebody, get : to rebuke somebody - "the boss got up me for being late"
Useful as an ashtray on a motorbike / tits on a bull : unhelpful or incompetent person or thing - "he, she or it is about as useful as tits on a bull" etc. etc.
Ute : utility vehicle, pickup truck


Vedgies : vegetables
Vee dub : Volkswagen
Veg out : relax in front of the TV (like a vegetable)
Vejjo : vegetarian


Waggin' school : playing truant
Walkabout : a walk in the Outback by Aborigines that lasts for an indefinite amount of time
Walkabout, it's gone : it's lost, can't be found
Whinge : complain
Whiteant (verb) : to criticise something to deter somebody from buying it. A car dealer might whiteant another dealer's cars or a real estate salesman might whiteant another agent's property
Wobbly : excitable behaviour ("I complained about the food and the waiter threw a wobbly")
Wobbly boot on, he's got the : drunk
Wombat : somebody who eats, roots and leaves (see also root)
Woop Woop : invented name for any small unimportant town - "he lives in Woop Woop"
Wowser : straight-laced person, prude, puritan, spoilsport
Wuss : coward; nervous person or animal


XXXX : pronounced Four X, brand of beer made in Queensland


Yabber : talk (a lot)
Yakka : work (noun)
Yewy : u-turn in traffic ("chuck a yewy at the next traffic lights")
Yobbo : an uncouth person


Zack : sixpence (5 cents) - "it isn't worth a zack", "he hasn't got a zack"



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