Aussie-isms: A Quick Tutorial

When preparing for my move to “The Land Down Undah” (yeah, I always say it with a terrible Aussie accent) I was worried about a myriad of things, none of which were a language barrier. They are a former British colony, like us in the states, they speak English, so there was nothing to adjust to accept understanding the non-rhotic accent. Oh was I wrong!

So, to make your travels to Oz a little easier I’ve started to compile a list of Aussie-isms that I’ve come to understand the first three weeks of my stay here.

G’Day = Not the official greeting of every Australian as most Americans are lead to believe. 

Toilet = Restroom     Obviously, but I’m finicky about certain words and really dislike them (like underware) and toilet is one of those words. However, here it’s common speak so I’ve had to get use to it.

Over-taking lane = Passing Lane     Makes enough sense right? Now let me paint a little scenario- Driving down the road, on what feels like the wrong side of the road, going 70km/hr (about 45mph) and you have an Australian man instructing “Overtake this person, they’re driving like a wanker!” Not only is your mind going “no, this is the correct side of the road, be cool” but you’re also now thinking “WTF is overtake?” Thank god for hand gestures and context clues.

Car Park = Parking Garage/ Parking Lot     Also note “garage” is pronounced like gare-ahje, not guh-rahj.

Piss = Pee     Right, anyone could figure this out, but it’s especially funny coming out of a three-year-old’s mouth, “I go take a piss.” Cracks me up every time. 

Reckon = Figure/ Think    Ex: “I reckon New South Wales will win the Origin series.” Or “It’s a nice day, do you reckon we should go to the beach?”

Cheers / Ta = Thank you     Cheers, Thanks is actually double-speak… now you know.

How ya goin’? = How are you doing? 

Footy = Rugby    Also, “Rugby” refers to rugby union, whereas “league” refers to rugby league.

Gridiron = American Football    I know we use Gridiron in the states also, but it’s normally one of those nostalgia terms.

Queue = Line     Ex: Do not form queue in front of intersection.

Muesli = Granola 

Take away = To Go 

Bubbler = Water Fountain/ Drinking Fountain


P.O.M. (Prisoners of Mother England) = British people     Apparently Aussies have not got the memo they are still part of the commonwealth realm and have a severe dislike for most Brits.  

Yank = North American     I can’t explain how much I REALLY dislike this term!

Bogan = Essentially every person you’ve ever seen on, rat-tails and minimal teeth and all. 

This Urban Dictionary post pretty much does it hilarious justice, BOGAN.



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