Nobody Likes a Bogan: An Introduction to Australian Slang

australian slang intro

Beach huts on Brighton Beach, in Victoria.

When I first moved to Doha, I had a memorable conversation with a British friend.

We’d somehow got onto the topic of adolescence and I was telling him a story about what some of my wilder friends would get up to after hours with the boys from the local high school. I told him how they’d meet at a park in town to fool around. They would then either call me up, or spend the next day at school regaling what manner of R-rated activities they got up to, whilst straddling their fellas on the playground’s slippery dip. (I was fourteen years old and had barely even held hands with a boy at this point. I was pretty easy to shock).

I finished my anecdote. He looked at me and blinked.

“But,” he scrambled for words. “…What’s a slippery dip?”

“Really?” I asked, in retort. “That’s what we’re going to focus on?”

For the record, it’s a slide.

Keen to be fluent in S'trine? (That's Australian.) Click here to find out more. Click To Tweet

I soon realised that despite having grown up learning the English language, I’d often lapse into Australian slang with my foreign friends, who would either stare at me blankly, or pretend they knew what the hell I was going on about, often with hilarious results for us both.

Related: Visiting Australia? Here’s What NOT to Do

So, here’s a rundown of the most popular Australian 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 terms. There’s an image of my country that does not need any more perpetuating.

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.


To be aggravated, or a bit grumpy.


Short for afternoon.


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


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


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.


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


A good-for-nothing layabout.


A bogan is a stereotypical Australian, with a potty mouth, bad dress sense and a fondness for alcoholic beverages.


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


A bottle shop or off-licence.


The first meal of the day.


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.


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


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.


Chewing gum.


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


A conversation.


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


A swimming costume.


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


To be ill. “Alex was feeling crook.”


A cup of tea


An eccentric or sloppy person.


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


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


To be devastated.


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

Dole bludger

Someone on welfare.


Traditionally an outdoor toilet.



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…


A meal. “Fancy a feed?”


Someone who is a bit of a dirty hippy.

First Peoples

Australia’s Indigenous population.


A condom.


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.


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

Hard Yakka

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


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.


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


A farewell.


A hot water bottle.


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


A journalist.


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




A 750ml bottle of beer.


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


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!


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.


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


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


A bad tempered person.


Money, cold hard cash.


A mosquito.

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”.


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


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.”


Straya, mate!


To kiss, with tongue. 


To gaze upon one, with somewhat dirty intentions.


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

Pom, pommie, pommies

The English.


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).


A present.


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


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


A scallywag.


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


Car registration.


One’s relatives.


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.”


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!


To be quite angry, to see red.


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


A sandwich.


A sausage.


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


A service station or centre.


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


Someone from New Zealand.


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


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


A case or carton of beer.


As mentioned earlier, a simple playground slide.


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?”


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


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


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


The country of “Australia”.


How Australian’s speak – this post is an example of such!


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




Tracksuit or sweat pants.


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


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.




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


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


A flat or apartment.


A pickup truck.


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 slang words to add to this list?

Pin me baby one more time.

Australian slang can be downright confusing. Here's an introduction to some of the most popular terminology in the Aussie vernacular.

Australian slang can be downright confusing. Here's an introduction to some of the most popular terminology in the Aussie vernacular.
Australian slang can be downright confusing. Here's an introduction to some of the most popular terminology in the Aussie vernacular.
Australian slang can be downright confusing. Here's an introduction to some of the most popular terminology in the Aussie vernacular.

Posted by LC
April 13, 2017

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 cheeae 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.

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!

    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!

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…

    LC - April 20, 2017

    Let me know if any come to mind!

      Kati - April 24, 2017

      There’s a fair bit of ‘fair dinkum’ usage in our household. 😀 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). 😀

        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!

          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… 😉

          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!

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!

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.

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!

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.

    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!

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!

    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!

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.

    LC - August 2, 2017

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

Leave a Reply: