What is a Bogan? A Quick Guide to Australian Slang

Australian slang can be quite a confusing beast. This guide will break down some of the more popular words, providing suitable definitions. You too will be speaking “Strine” (Australian) in no time!

australian slang

Here’s an introduction to some Aussie slang words. If you’re travelling to Oz, you’ll need it.

Why is avocado shortened to avo?

What’s a bogan?

And is goon of fortune truly the greatest drinking game known to man?

Australian slang can be really confusing.

If you’ve visited the Land Down Under or watched any kind of Australian TV, you’ll probably have found yourself scratching your head at the lingo that escapes an Aussie’s lips.

Here’s a guide to Australian slang, which you should peruse before taking a trip to ‘Straya (‘Australia’, that is) so you can understand what we’re banging on about at any given time.

You should also read up on these Australian travel tips before heading down under.

bogan meaning

Bogans would wear these to keep warm in winter. I’m wearing a pair as I type this. Make of that what you will.

A Guide to Australian Slang

The funny thing about Australia is that our slang isn’t just used by bogans – it’s part of the lexicon of all Australians, no matter what their class or level of education.

So, here’s a rundown of the most popular Aussie slang words and phrases.

I’ve tried to limit this list to words I’ve heard others use recently and I’ve eliminated almost all the racial slang, because there’s no place for it anywhere.

NB: Some of this slang has British origins, but have been so deeply imbedded into the Australian vernacular, that it deserves a place on this list.

Agro

To be aggravated, or a bit grumpy.

Arvo

Short for afternoon.

Bail

To leave. “The dinner was boring, so Steven decided to bail.”

Biccie

A biscuit (or cookie), commonly used in the phrase “tea and biccies”, a hangover of Australia’s colonial days.

Blackfella

A form of terminology used by Australia’s Indigenous population. So, don’t freak out if you hear someone of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent refer to themselves as such in conversation. Also, don’t use it if you’re not First Nations People yourself. “Whitefella” gets used as well. If you want to get across proper terminology in Aboriginal Australia, read this post.

Bloody

Not a swear word, “bloody” is generally used for extra emphasis. I.e. Lisa was having a bloody good time at Sam’s party.

Bludger

A good-for-nothing layabout.

Bogan

A bogan is a stereotypical Australian, with a potty mouth, bad dress sense and a fondness for alcoholic beverages. Also known as an “Aussie Bogan” although I don’t know why – they are, after all endemic to Australia.

Bogan slang

A sub-branch of Australian slang. Usually consists of the most crudely shortened words and mate’s names. For example, shortening someone with the last name of “Fitzgerald” to “Fitzy” or “Robert” to “Robbo”. And so on.

Boofhead

A silly-billy. This is the nickname my family have traditionally applied to our dogs.

Bottle-o

A bottle shop or off-licence.

Brekky

The first meal of the day.

Buckleys

To have little or no chance of achieving something. “She had buckleys of getting to work on time.” That may or may not be me, most days.

Bush

The Australian bush, but is also used to refer to anywhere rural.

Carton

A case of beer.

Cashed-up Bogan

A bogan with money. Due to Australia’s mining boom, many blue collared workers have made a tonne of money in recent decades, leading to the invention of this term.

Chewy

Chewing gum.

Chips

Chips can refer to either hot chips (fries) or crisps. It’s all about the context.

Convo

A conversation.

Cooee

To be in close proximation of something, like “Tom lived within cooee of the local fish and chip shop.”

Cozzie

A swimming costume.

Crock

An injustice. “Those weren’t the best burgers in Perth! That place is such a crock.”

Crook

To be ill. “Alex was feeling crook.”

Cuppa

A cup of tea

australian slang

Grabbing a cuppa in the Hunter Valley.

Dag

An eccentric or sloppy person.

Deadset

For extra emphasis, to be 100% sure. “Alex is deadset the hottest dude I’ve ever seen.”

Dero

Short for derelict. Can be applied to any noun – person, place or item.

Devo

To be devastated.

Dog

A dirty act. If Jimmy kissed Riley’s girlfriend it would be considered a “dog move”.

Dole bludger

Someone on welfare.

Dunny

Traditionally an outdoor toilet.

Exy

Expensive.

Fair call

Uttered when one is in agreement with another, when a reasonable statement is uttered. “The sky is blue and what would you know anyway, because you are colour-blind.” “Okay. Fair call.”

Fang it

To speed with enthusiasm, particularly around corners.

Far Out

An expression of exclamation, often used instead of the other F-word…

Feed

A meal. “Fancy a feed?”

Feral

Someone who is a bit of a dirty hippy.

First Peoples

Australia’s Indigenous population.

Flog

Someone who is considered to be arrogant – I’ve never heard anyone call someone or themselves a flog in NSW, but hear it ALL THE TIME in Victoria.

Franger

A condom.

Goon

Boxed wine, popular amongst the student crowd. This has led to the popular backyard game of “goon of fortune”, where the bag is removed from the box and pinned to the clothes line. It is then spun around and whoever it lands on has to have a drink, pouring it straight from the clothesline into their mouth.

Once empty, a goon bag can be inflated to form a makeshift pillow.

Grog

Alco-mo-hol.

Grouse

Cool, excellent. “That dinner you made was grouse, Louise.”

australian slang

Sydney Harbour at sunrise is a bit of an all right.

Hard Yakka

Hard work. “Walking up this hill is hard yakka.”

Heaps

Used for positive emphasis. “That concert was heaps good.”

Hills hoist

A clothing line that folds in on itself, not unlike an umbrella. Perfect for hanging your goonbag off.

Hole

Anywhere that is rather rundown and/or derelict. “Sunnydale is such a hole.”

Hooroo

A farewell.

Hottie

A hot water bottle.

Keen

To be ready, eager to do a particular thing. “Would you like to go to the movies?” “Yeah. I’m keen.”

Journo

A journalist.

Larrikin

A dying breed of Australian, who is easy-going and fun-loving, whilst being a bit cheeky.

Lollies

Sweets.

Longneck

A 750ml bottle of beer.

Maccas

MacDonalds. “I’m gonna go for a late night maccas run. Does anyone want a cheeseburger?”

Manchester

Linen and sheets. Apparently this term came about from boxes of the stuff being shipped over from England with “Manchester” being written on them. That was taken to mean what the items were, rather than the city they had come from!

Mate

This is how every Australian will constantly refer to you. People at work call me “mate” and because I’ve been out of the country for years, I find it annoying and condescending now and constantly have to remind myself that that’s not supposed to be the case.

Midi

A 285ml glass of beer, also known as a “pot” in some states.

Mole

A derogatory term often used by women to describe other women. “Sheena kissed Kylie’s boyfriend.” “Ugh. She’s such a mole.”

Mongrel

A bad tempered person.

Moolah

Money, cold hard cash.

Mozzie

A mosquito.

aussie slang words

The big mozzie in Hexham, NSW.

No dramas

A response to someone asking a request of someone else. “Will, would you be able to get a side of garlic bread with that pizza order?” “Sure – no dramas.”

No worries!

Pretty much Australia’s national catchphrase. Used in place of “all right” and “fine”.

Nuddy

To be naked. “He ran around the backyard in the nuddy, after playing goon of fortune.”

Ocker

A rough, uncultivated Australian. The stereotypical Aussie accent is considered to be “ocker”. Yet, people from the cities don’t tend to speak that way, which is why people are constantly confused by mine.

The Outback

The desert. It’s a beautiful place and well worth visiting.

Op Shop

A charity store and where I personally buy most of my clothing.

Olds, Oldies

One’s parents or folks.

Old mate

Used in lieu of a person’s name. Particularly handy if you’ve forgotten the name of whoever you’re referring to at the time. “I saw Shelley kissing old mate the other day. You know. The guy with the hair.”

Oz

Straya, mate!

Pash

To kiss, with tongue. 

Perve

To gaze upon one, with somewhat dirty intentions.

Pokies

Slot machines. Gambling is massive in Australia, particularly in New South Wales.

Pom, pommie, pommies

The English.

Pot

Similar to a midi – 285ml in size and the standard size of a drink in the state of Victoria (make sure you ask for a pint instead, if you want a bigger drink).

Prezzie

A present.

aussie slang words

Cheers to the outback. What a grouse view!

Rage

To party. “He raged at the blue light disco all night long.”

Rapt

To be excited about something. “She was rapt as she had always wanted to go on a Backstreet Boys’ cruise.”

Ratbag

A scallywag.

Reckon

To state an agreement with someone, you’d simply answer “I reckon you’re right.”

Rego

Car registration.

Relos

One’s relatives.

Ripper

To indicate that something is good, ie “You little ripper!”

Rock up

To arrive. “Mollie rocked up to Brad’s party, half an hour late.”

Rooted

To be exhausted, I guess to the same point as what you’d be if you’d engaged in vigorous sex, as root means that too. Although that’s not my intended meaning when I get home, collapse on the couch and announce that I’m rooted – I can assure you of that!

Ropeable

To be quite angry, to see red.

Rort

To be cheated, a dishonest practice. “That was a bit of a rort.”

Sanga

A sandwich.

Snag

A sausage.

Schooner

A glass of beer at 425ml (yes, we have many different drink measurements here!)

Servo

A service station or centre.

aussie slang words

Rocking up at Victoria’s famous rocks, the Twelve Apostles.

Sickie

To chuck a sickie is to stay home from work. You may or may not be actually sick.

Sheepshagger

Someone from New Zealand.

Shithouse

Of poor quality. “That chicken was shithouse. I will never dine at Red Rooster again.”

Shout

To treat someone. “It was his shout for drinks.”

Slab

A case or carton of beer.

Slippery-dip

A simple playground slide.

Slag

Someone who’s a bit gross or a bit too flirtatious – often a derogatory word applied to women. “Shirley hit on Pete.” “Oh yeah, she’s a bit of a slag, isn’t she?”

Sook

Someone who’s being a bit whingy or is seeking attention.

Spewing

To be angry about something. “She was spewing because she’d left her phone at work.”

Spunk

Not what you think it means – rather, it’s someone you find attractive. “Mary thought Jarred was super spunky.”

Straya

The country of “Australia”.

Strine

Our “official” name for Australian slang!

Stuffed

To be pooped. “He’d been drinking at the beach all day and he was stuffed.”

Sunnies

Sunglasses.

aussie slang words

The Bogey Hole in Newy (Newcastle).

Trackie-daks

Tracksuit or sweat pants.

Tradie

Someone who works in a trade – electricians, plumbers, builders, etc.

Thongs

Australia’s national footwear – everyone else knows them as “flip flops”.

Too Easy

A response when someone says thank you to you, similar to ‘no problem’. “Thanks for my pint of beer.” “Too easy, mate.”

Top End

The far north of the country – the Northern Territory.

Tucker

Food.

Turps

Alcohol. “To get on the turps” is to drink.

U-ie

To manoeuvre one’s car into a u-turn is to “chuck a u-ie.”

Unit

A flat or apartment.

Ute

A pickup truck.

Vego

A vegetarian.

Woop woop

Anywhere far away from where a conversation (or convo) is taking place. “Ah yeah, TJ lives out woop woop, doesn’t he?”

Yeah, no

Simply, no. We’re an indecisive bunch.

Do you have anymore Australian slang words to add to this list?

Other posts on Australia

Here are some tips on what NOT to do when visiting Australia, like littering and aggravating the local wildlife.
Read about some creepy Australian urban legends.
Summer is the worst time to visit Australia and find out the best.
Want to blend in seamlessly with Aussie locals? I have some tips on how to do just that.
Australia is pretty amazing to live in, at times. Here’s why.
But… it’s also pretty weird, as these facts will demonstrate.
Here are a few reasons why Sydney is a better city than Melbourne. Team Syd fo’ lyfe.
Here are some of the best places to travel to in Australia.
And a list of fun things to do in Perth

Pin me baby one more time

What is a bogan? A deadset dole bludger in trackie-daks and thongs? Have no idea what that sentence means? Fair call. Read on if you want a thorough understanding of #Australian slang.

LC

LC can often be found nursing a cup of green tea, with her head in a book. She is a writer, video editor and professional cheese eater. Her life's aspiration is to one day live on a farm in Tasmania with 11 dogs, a Shetland pony and several pygmy goats. Follow along on Facebook or sign up to the monthly newsletter.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Josie - April 15, 2017

Love these posts! Most of the words I don’t commonly use, but I am forever saying “no worries” and I just can’t stop that habit. I do get a few strange looks when travelling! “Thongs” is another one that got me some weird looks. I would not have even considered that “slippery dip” would not be understood!

Reply
    LC - April 17, 2017

    I say “no worries” like a woman possessed, so I feel your pain. And neither! A slippery dip is a slippery dip… duh!

    Reply
      Sue - September 7, 2019

      We’ve never heard of a slippery dip… Sounds more like what we call going “commando”.. In South Africa that means going for a dip in the altogether…which means going for a swim naked or “kaalgat”

      Reply
        LC - September 7, 2019

        I wish it meant something more interesting like that!

        Reply
Kati - April 19, 2017

Haha, some really good ones here! ‘no worries’ is so pervasive, I don’t even notice that anymore. I thought of a few others as well but now, of course, I can’t for the life of me think of them…

Reply
    LC - April 20, 2017

    Let me know if any come to mind!

    Reply
      Kati - April 24, 2017

      There’s a fair bit of ‘fair dinkum’ usage in our household. πŸ˜€ I will put some more thought into this when I have a moment to breathe as it’s one of my favourite things to talk about (I’m an ESL teacher and my academic background is in linguistics). πŸ˜€

      Reply
        LC - April 24, 2017

        I was having a discussion about “fair dinkum” with someone and I’m starting to think it’s become a QLD thing – I’ve not heard anyone in NSW or VIC say it for donkeys. I’d love to have the input of a pro, that’s for sure!

        Reply
          Kati - April 24, 2017

          Well, neither my husband nor I are Queenslanders, in fact, he’s a born and bred Melburnian. We only moved up here three years ago and he’s been ‘fair dinkuming’ ever since I’ve known him (and that’s been a fair few years). I’ve got a few VIC friends who use it too. Just my two cents… πŸ˜‰

          Reply
          LC - April 24, 2017

          Haha, I guess it’s just not something my friends or family seem to say! Maybe it’s just NSW then – who knows!

          Reply
Lisa Michele Burns - April 22, 2017

LOVE this! My favourite is trying to fit as many of these words as I can into one sentence haha. Bloody brilliant!

Reply
    LC - April 23, 2017

    Ha! There’s a challenge and a half…

    Reply
Sara - April 22, 2017

When I was just in Australia I could never understand what people meant by ‘avro’. Now I know! Definitely an essential read for anyone who is planning on going to Australia soon.

Reply
    LC - April 23, 2017

    Ha! Apologies on behalf of my countrypeople for the confusion πŸ˜‰

    Reply
Laura - April 23, 2017

Ahhh this takes me back home ?. Dero is my favourite, I love to whip that one out to confuse the Brits. I also like Avo (avocado). Great post, thank you!

Reply
    LC - April 24, 2017

    Have an avo! Good one. I’ll add it. Thanks for commenting, Laura!

    Reply
Stephanie | Adventures in Aussieland - May 1, 2017

When I moved to Australia, I often felt lost when people used Aussie slang. Now I use it all the time. The last time I went home my entire family made fun of me saying they couldn’t understand a word I was saying.

Reply
    LC - May 2, 2017

    It’s like having your own language… which sort of sounds like gibberish. Total street cred on your behalf, I reckon!

    Reply
The Invisible Tourist - May 5, 2017

Gosh I love this!!! It’s so true, especially what you say about “slippery dip”. I got the strangest looks at the park when I said this in New Zealand… It’s funny because I’ve never really known it as anything else. Thanks for the chuckle!

Reply
    LC - May 5, 2017

    I know! I find it weird that the Kiwis don’t call it the same thing (but then… jandals… what, how?). We definitely use way more slang than any of us would ever realise!

    Reply
Diane - August 1, 2017

These are great! Super educational post! I know about 1/2 of them from Aussie YouTubers I follow & knowing Australians in real life, but a bunch are new to my American English vocabulary! I’d be so lost if you used a bunch of them in a sentence.

Reply
    LC - August 2, 2017

    Haha yeah, it really is like its own language, which is what I personally love about our slang!

    Reply
CW - August 24, 2018

I am from Western Australia, where we wear bathers to the beach, not cozzies.

Reply
    LC - August 28, 2018

    Just like the English!

    We call them β€œswimmers” in NSW as well.

    Reply
Jo Whitbread - July 19, 2019

Signing in from Tassie. Everyone is wearing their Tassie Tuxedos. (Black Puffer Jackets) A lot of snow about. Loved your photos of the big mosquito. Would be another way to choose destination routes. Go via all the ‘big things’

Reply
    LC - July 21, 2019

    Oh, Tassie Tuxedo, I love it! There’s a bit of that going on in Melbs too. And yes so true. I have definitely driven a distance simply to see a Big Thing in the past, haha.

    Reply
Leave a Reply:

error: Content is protected !!