Have you been to Australia? Here are some phrases you’ll definitely hear in conversation as you travel about the country. In some cases it might be hard to think of what an American might say in the same situation, as we don’t always have the same way of thinking.
1. “No worries”
If you say ‘thank you’ to an Australian or you show your appreciation for something they’ve done for you, this is often the reply you’ll hear. “You’re welcome” is still said, but it sounds American, even to me!
It can also be used to help ‘cushion’ a request you make to someone:
“No worries, just take your time…”
2. A bogan
Bogan culture is big in Australia. A bogan is basically similar to what the Brits calls ‘chavs’ or the Americans call ‘white trash.’ It’s someone, often a guy but can also be a girl, who swears, doesn’t have any style, likes their beer, has a limited knowledge or understanding of the world.
Someone who’s not very sophisticated.
Although a bogan is usually uncultured, because of our mining boom you can also hear that a bogan with money be called ‘a boganaire’ or a ‘cashed-up bogan’!
ABC Television even created a series called ‘Upper Middle Bogan.’
Before we give you some difficult news or want to tell you off for something, we’ll start the sentence with “look”. It’s a bit like saying “the thing is..”
“Look, I really love you, but I’m not in love with you, Shaz.”
“Look, I want to live with you..but it’s just that, it all seems so quick..”
4. “You’re such a dag!”
A dag is someone who is not cool. You can call your sweater “a bit daggy” which means it’s uncool or untrendy.
At the last election some conservatives said our present Prime Minister is just “a daggy Dad,” meaning that he was not cool but still likeable. Because being daggy is still a lot better than being our next word:
“Sorry mate, I can’t go out tonight. Got a get-together with the rellies.”
Rellies means ‘relatives’.
Quite often we shorten words in conversation. Other examples include ‘arvo’ (afternoon), pressie (present/gift):
6. “He’s such a wanker!”
The word ‘wanker’ comes from “to masturbate” – but these days it is used to describe someone who is a jerk (in American English). Brits also use the word ‘wanker’.
Think of someone, especially a guy, who thinks of only himself, is very insensitive, or does something very stupid. It can also mean “pretentious.”
For example, imagine a banker who walks in to a pub and puts his expensive phone on the table, orders the most expensive wine and acts like he’s better than everyone else.
7. “Rack off!”
This is slightly more polite than telling someone to “f*ck off” ie “go away.”
It can also be used to tell someone that you’re not happy with the direction of conversation:
“Hey rack off mate, I don’t even fancy her!”
Synonym: get stuffed!
If an American doesn’t know your name (or want to use it), they’ll call you ‘pal’, ‘dude’, ‘buddy’ or ‘bro’, amongst others.
In Australia and parts of Britain you’ll hear ‘mate’ being used, usually in a positive and friendly way. Especially among guys.
“Hi mate is this seat free..?”
I once saw someone with very broad shoulders at the pub and called them ‘mate’ but then realised that it was a woman. I don’t think she was happy! So be aware that some girls might not like being called ‘mate.’ Though some women will call me ‘mate’!
A phrase for you to practice when you meet someone at the pub: “G’day mate, how’s it going?!”
Or for honorary Australian status you can say: “G’day mate ous-it-gun?”
Finally, it can also be used to talk to someone you’re not happy with:
“Hey mate, is there a problem here..?”
This means ‘a lot.”
“I love you heaps, Daz..”
10. “Go troppo”
This means ‘to go crazy’:
“Mate, he’s buying her flowers, all kinds of gifts, he’s going troppo!”
11. “Catch ya later!”
Another way of saying “take care” or “good bye” or “see you later.”
And in Australia, even if we know that we’re not going to see you again, we still say it 🙂
12. “I’ll get my thongs”
Thongs in Australia are like sandals. We wear them around the house or outside on a hot summer’s day.
In the USA a thong is this item of clothing:
So it’s a bit of an in-joke between Aussies and Americans when we ask them if we can wear our thongs out tonight..
13. Eye candy
I actually don’t use this phrase because it sounds daggy. Anyhow, it means ‘someone who is hot or very attractive.’
A friend of mine in Melbourne uses this quite a bit: “Mate, you should’ve come out with us, the eye candy there was sensational..”
14. “It’s my shout”
If I’d like to pay for the drinks in a pub or cafe, I’ll say: “No worries, it’s my shout.”
This means “it’s on me” or “I’ll get these.”
In pub culture the only problem with this is that if you stay out all night, the next shout might be on you!
15. “I can’t be bothered..”
This is a great Aussie phrase.
We use it to say that we didn’t give something our full attention, that we didn’t care enough to do something or simply that we didn’t put it as a priority:
“I had a maths test today but couldn’t be bothered to study for it.”
It’s like saying we didn’t have the energy to do something (when we perhaps should have):
“I won’t go jogging today, can’t be bothered.”
You might hear the Brits say: “I can’t be arsed.”
Homework no 1: Ask your American friend what they say (I believe it’s “I can’t be assed”).
Homework no. 2: when you don’t do your homework, tell your teacher:
“Sorry I couldn’t be bothered” and see their reaction. At least you should get some points for using a very natural spoken (Aussie) English phrase 😉