20 Australian Words & Phrases You Might Not Know Existed…

One of the key things to remember when traveling to Oz is that when they say they speak 'English'… they don't, they 100% speak Australian. Most of the time it's not that difficult to decipher, but some things leave you standing there like 'eyyy?'. For this reason, I thought I would come up with a list of common Ozzy words or phrases that I had no idea about before I got here!


1) 'How you going!?'

Now, this just breaks me. 'How you going?', is a common Ozzy greeting meaning 'how are you?' or 'hows things going?'. To me it makes no sense but it seems to be the way most people here will greet you.


2) 'Schooner'

A 'Schooner' is a 450ml glass of beer, its basically in between half a pint and a pint size and really common in Sydney, but for some reason in South Australia they just call a schooner size glass a 'pint'.


3) 'But'

Another thing that some Australians like to do is say the word 'but' at the end of their sentences. It doesn't mean anything and isn't gonna lead on to another sentence, they just say it. 'Oh yeah mate, I went the beach for a bbq on Saturday but'. BUT WHAT? BUT NOTHING.


4) 'Pants'

Like the Americans, for some reason your 'pants' here are your trousers, not your underwear; which is simply called 'undies' to cover all types of underwear.


5) 'Stubby'

A 375ml beer bottle; they also commonly sell 'stubby holders' little bottle holders to keep your beer nice and cool in the heat.  So if you're in a bar and are asked if you would like a 'stubby', they are asking you if you would like your beer in a bottle or in a glass.


6) 'Capsicum'

Now this one really did make me stand there in Aldi like wtf? 'Capsicum' is what they call green, red and yellow PEPPERS, like the ones you put on pizza or in fajitas. 'Capsicum'!? It's a pepper mate.


7) 'Thongs'

Again the Aussies have borrowed this one from America, 'thongs' are your flip flops; if you ask someone here about 'flip flops' they will most likely have no clue what you're talking about. I've found it a lot easier just to adopt this one whilst I'm here.


8) 'Drop Bears'

Drop bears do not exist! Some Aussie guys where I worked tried to tell me that drop bears like in the trees in the City and will fall down on your head and rip your face off. This is obviously just a myth that some Aussies like to tell tourists and backpackers.


9) UTE

If you get a job in construction you'll here this one a lot, a UTE is short for a Utility Vehicle or Pick-up Truck.


10) 'Hungry Jacks' & 'Maccas'

Just to avoid any fast food based confusion – 'Hungry Jacks' is Burger King and 'Maccas' is McDonalds.


11) 'Gelato'

I haven't quite figured out why yet but the Aussies just love to use the Italian word for ice cream. If you pass an ice cream shop here it will more than likely say 'gelato'; now at first I thought 'gelato' was something different, but no, its just Italian for ice cream.


12) 'Goon'

Goon, goon, goon, goon, goon. Goon is cheap Australian wine that can be bought in boxes of 4 or 5 litres for around $10. If you shop in Aldi you can get a bottle for $2! If you're backpacking get used to drinking it, I'd recommend mixing it with juice to make it drinkable.

13) 'Skull it'

'Skull it' is Australian for 'see it off' or 'down it'. 'We like to drink with Bruce cause Bruce is our mate and when we drink with Bruce he skulls it down in 8'.


14) 'Smoko'

Your 'smoko' is your break when you're at work; you'll have a short 'smoko' before or after your longer lunch break, just like a smoke or coffee break.


15) 'Lollies'

Another confusing Australian word is 'lollies', now 'lollies' are what we would call normal sweets, like Harribo, Starburst or Fruit Gums; they are not lolly pops like chuppa chupps or drumsticks.


16) 'Footy'

'Footy' can also get quite confusing here, the word 'footy' is usually referring to Rugby or Aussie Rules Football. If someone talks about 'footy' they will most likely never be referring to what we call football in England; which they call soccer in Oz.


17) 'Bottle Shop'

Something else I wasn't aware of is that most supermarkets don't sell alcohol in the actual store; you have to go to a separate 'bottle shop', like a Bargain Booze but its usually not that cheap. They also have 'bottle shops' in some pubs, kind of like an alcohol takeaway.


18) 'BYO'

'BYO' stands for Bring Your Own and refers to alcohol; if you see this sign in a restaurant it will usually mean the restaurant is unlicensed but welcomes you to bring your own alcohol. They usually charge around $2 to allow you to do this.


19) 'No dramas' or 'Easy'

'No dramas' or 'Easy' just means 'no worries' or 'no problem'. For example if you thank someone for their help, they might use one of these phrases.


20) 'Bucks'

'Bucks' are dollars, in shops or in general conversation Aussies very rarely say 'dollars'; you're more likely to hear, 'yeah mate, it cost me like 50 bucks'.


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