Guest Post: Steph Shows Off Australia’s Underthings

I’m finishing off my guest blogger siesta with the wonderfully funny Steph from “She Said What?“.  I was drawn to Steph as a blogger because she always seems to see the little things that slip right past others– and then she doesn’t look away, whether it’s funny, sad, or an outrageous version of either of those things.

So pop over to her place, fill up on insight, and rawr some love:



An Insiders Guide to Australia – Part 1.


I am writing this post as part of a series on Australianisms. I have way too much material for one post. This first post will focus on language, words and phrases. Subsequent posts will look at culture, geography and wildlife, and will be published over on my blog.
Aussie language, words and phrases.

As English-speaking nations we assume we speak the same language and that our cultures are fairly similar. They are, to a point, but there are a lot of differences, especially language differences. Take this for example…

To decode that video for you to “I’m gunna shoot through to Maccas this arvo”, means you are going to leave wherever you are and go to McDonalds this afternoon.

I thought I’d give you fellas a quick run down on the Aussie lingo. That way when you’re cracking a tinny with your new Aussie mates you won’t seem like there’s a few roos loose in your top paddock.

Australians tend to shorten things. We don’t like extra syllables. So “sandwiches” become “sangas”, “McDonalds” becomes “Maccas”, even the name of our country “Australia” becomes “Straya”. The exception is if the word is already only one syllable. Then we add an ‘a’ or an ‘o’. This is especially true for names. “John” becomes “Johnno”, “Baz” becomes “Bazza”, and so on.

We also have some interesting takes on common words and phrases. I originally had over 50 of these. I’ve narrowed it down to a few of my favourites (by the way, we spell it that way here.


These are thongs. They are not flip flops. The fact that they have the Aussie flag on them tells me they probably belong to Yobbos.


This is a g-string. This is not a thong. These are commonly worn by Sheilas, although blokes often give them a go, especially at mardi gras.


This fantastic pair of swimwear (which is coincidentally being modelled by our new Prime Minister, the right honourable Tony Abbott) are referred to as “budgie smugglers”. Why? Well because you could smuggle your budgie down the front.

These are chips…


These are also chips…


Which chips are we talking about? Depends on the context. If we’re standing in the local fish ‘n chip shop then it’s probably the second type. Fries? Don’t have any. Crisps? Watcha talkin’ bout?
This is a power point…


This is an outlet…


And these are taps…


Faucets? Nope. Don’t have any.

Here’s a quick list of a few more common words and phrases…

  • Arse = you guys call it an ass
  • Bottle-O = liquor store
  • Bowl-O = The local Bowling club. These are an Aussie institution.
  • Snags = sausages
  • Sheilas = women/girls/female humans
  • To carc it = to die (I think it comes from the word carcass?)
  • Durry = a cigarette
  • You betcha = you bet
  • Abso-bloody-lutely = Absolutely (of course!)
  • Strewth = swear word. It’s negative.
  • Crikey = a word of exclamation. You could substitute OMG
  • Kaput = something dies (not a living thing, living things carc it. Machinery can also carc it, but kaput is just for things) i.e. your car might go kaput (but your car can also carc it. Just pick one. You, however, cannot go kaput, you have to carc it.)
  • Rellies = relatives i.e. I’m having dinner with the rellies
  • Yobbos = Undesirables, mostly loud and uncouth.
  • Bogans = like yobbos only worse.
  • Heaps = used as an adjective or adverb to imply a more extreme form of something i.e. “That’s heaps cool”, “You’re heaps sick bro”, “That car is heaps mad” (all of which are complimentary)
  • Root = sex
  • Togs = swimming costume
  • Barbie = BBQ
  • Popper = you guys call it a juice box I believe? It’s a rectangular thing with juice in it that kids drink with a straw
  • Get a dog up ya = what it sounds like. It’s an insult
  • Shit on a stick = when something is really bad we can say it’s like shit on a stick
  • One eyed trouser snake = euphemism for penis
  • Old fella = another euphemism for penis (we like those)
  • Arvo = afternoon
  • Flanno = a shirt made of chequered flannelette, most commonly worn by Bogans
  • She’ll be right mate = it will be OK
  • Back of Bourke = if a place is very far away it is “out the back of Bourke”
  • Whoop whoop = the same place as out the back of Bourke
  • The town’s a tinderbox = lots of combustible material in the town so it will burn easily and quickly in a bush fire
  • Bush = what you guys would call forest or wilderness
  • A roo loose in the top paddock = someone is crazy or stupid. They have a roo loose in the top paddock

We also like to understate things. On a day where the temperature hits 45 degrees celsius you can expect a lot of people to be walking round saying “It’s a bit warm today”, and so on.
We also like opposites. If you have red hair Australians will refer to you as a “ranga”, pronounced as in “I rang you on the telephone” with an ‘a’ on the end (in an Aussie accent – go on try it). Your nickname will be “Blue”, or “Bluey”. Just roll with it. Red cattle dogs are also called Bluey a lot. It’s just how we roll. In Australia everyone has a nickname. It’s a cultural must.
Speaking of words, it is common knowledge that most Australians only know the first verse of our national anthem. The second verse is the one we mumble in tune to so it looks like we know the words.
Join me next time for a journey into Aussie culture. We will talk about the Bowl-O and the meat tray, what is with Tasmania, and why our “Liberal” party is full of conservatives (I told you we liked to do things backwards). We will also discuss Australia’s love of the big things. Here’s a sneak peek…


This, my friends, is the big prawn (we don’t have shrimp here. They’re American).
Well this Aussie has to shoot through. See ya later mate. It’s been fun.


Now that you have a brand new vocabulary in which to beguile and charm your friends the Aussie way, don’t forget to head over to Steph’s and use as much as you can.  I’d start here:

But before you go, let me ask– do you have a roo loose in the top paddock?  What’s one of your favorite colloquialisms from your area of the world?


  1. I was once told, as a potential tourist, there were two ways to deal with an unruly friend. One was to find an Aussie, and have your friend tell him he was “just like an American”. That was the mild form. The other was to have him tell a Kiwi that he was “just like an Aussie”. THAT would prove fatal.
    And just who in the world (other than uncouth Yanks) spells “favourite” without a U? Next thing you’re gonna tell me, ships are painted “gray”, not the proper “grey”! Bloody Yank yobbos! (Says the lifelong, never-outside-North-America yank. 😉 )
    Oy! Toss me a couple a cold tinnies, I’m drier’n a dingo’s bum! 😀


    1. Hahaha yes, telling a Kiwi he is just like an Aussie would not be a good idea. Our ships are indeed painted gray, and it is an exceptional honour to be here on Rarasaur today.


  2. American’s are pretty poor at having no concept of what is going on in most other countries. I don’t know if it’s because we have so many regional differences between our own states or just aren’t educated well enough (both I assume).

    I have made it a personal mission to be culturally savvy and aware of our brethren in language. As of now, it has yielded no great rewards.


    1. Awww that’s a really great goal. Come hang out on She Said What, I’ll give you a good cultural immersing. I’m going to publish a post about Australia’s love of the Big Things soon. You’ll be an honorary Aussie in no time.


  3. Crikey! I had a delicious snag for lunch while reading through this post. I grilled this past weekend on the barbie. I can’t wait to shoot through the rest of the arvo so I can head home to my sheila and the little bloke.


        1. Yeah… he was a bit of an idiot though. Australians loved to hate him until he died and then he became a national hero, go figure. Have you seen The Castle or Idiotbox? Both really excellent Australian films, and full of all the cultural good stuff. The lead character in Idiotbox wears a flanno and a t-shirt that says “get a dog up ya”


          1. I thought people thought he was an idiot… I always just thought he was incredibily brave. And the awareness he raised about how all animals need to be treated, including those considered dangerous, was hard to beat.
            What he did, and who he was in his shows, was a large part of the reason I started college in pursuit of an Ecology, Behavior and Evlotuion degree.


              1. Butt? No, you must be thinking of someone else. His head was always in some animal’s mouth.
                And, I’m going to check out those two movies you recommended as soon as I can find them and have time to watch them.


    1. Really? Does the thesaurus confuse you too? You know you’ve been hanging around on She Said What so long I’m actually surprised you don’t know all of these already. I’m ready to make you less American, bring it on!


    1. Don’t be. It’s a scary time here right now politically and socially. I think you’re probably better off in Europe. My friends and family and I have been considering a mass exodus to New Zealand.


  4. What an amusing and delightfully timely post. I am about to read a crime novel by an Aussie author. I love the language, but I have never been able to loose my lilting, long-tongued, multi-syllabled Southern accent. And I don’t mean south of the equator. I don’t think I would be very well received there…but a visit is on my bucket list.


    1. Oh yes come and visit! Make sure you really get into the ‘cultcha’ and visit a few big things while you’re here (Big Prawn, Big Pineapple and Big Merino would be a good start). Sydney and Canberra are a must see, oh and the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock. You’ll love it.


    1. Awww thanks! We are pretty lovable, in the kind of way that you might love a Chinese Crested dog with no front teeth and a really long tongue. Ugly, but interesting, and kind of endearing.


  5. Awesomesauce. You are one top Sheila Steph. I love this post and now I want to speak like a bogan all day.

    Although we may be perpetuating the Aussie stereotype by making people think everyone talks like this all the time (not ALL the time…)



    1. Thanks Daile! I’m trying to do us proud here. I think there’s nothing wrong with perpetuating a few stereotypes. After all we have movies like The Castle and Idiotbox (if anyone is reading these and hasn’t seen them, go, NOW). I forgot the chook from Woolies. I’ll have to put that in the next post. And maybe some timely footage from a polo match (I’m joking, joking, but hey, you looked cute!)


      1. I second Steph on immediately watching The Castle and Idiotbox if you haven’t seen them. Aussie movie perfection. Muriel’s Wedding too.

        How could you possibly forget about a Woolies chook? Luke certainly didn’t.

        The Polo video cracks me up, and I know it could have been a lot worse (later in the night perhaps…)


  6. Haha, this is so funny, and completely true.

    .. and I’m from out bush, where bogans and yobbos are plentiful. In fact, I am one of them, sometimes. Usually after a goonbag. Haha. Ohgod.


      1. I’m Central West, so only a few hours away.

        I have artists in my family who are soon to be setting up an art gallery somewhere near you – I’m sure that’s something the Blue Mountains are lacking 😉


  7. Did y’all see the PM in that pic before or after the vote?

    Red hair=ranga? What do y’all call oranges then?


    1. Yes, unfortunately that was his idea of election campaigning. And he got in. Yep, Aussies are so intelligent. People with orange hair are also rangas. It’s universal. Or sometimes they’re just called Blue.


  8. An Aussie I. Et years ago told the tale of how he told his girlfriend’s father that at home in Oz, he would often “knock up a girl”.


      1. In the US, to “knock up” a girl means to get her pregnant. Not so in Oz, apparently. But my acquaintance loved telling the story of how his girlfriend’s father turned beet red at the idea of his little princess getting knocked up until the meanings were clarified!


      1. Margy brought me here.

        So Steph, what about dialectical differences within Australia? I was told depending on province/region swim outfits might be called bathers or swimmers.

        I have an interest in linguistics so… I’ve spent a few hours pouring over how English evolves worldwide. Field day, I tell you.



        1. Yeah that’s actually true. I haven’t heard them called ‘bathers’ much but they can be called ‘swimmers’ or ‘cossies’ (with a ‘z’ sound because that’s how we do it here). Also in the rest of Australia it’s called a ‘street directory’ but in Queensland it’s called a ‘refedex’, I have no idea why?


  9. So funny! I’ll definitely check out her blog.

    As for local sayings – let’s see, around here we don’t go to the beach, we go down the shore (more correctly, downa shore) 🙂


  10. A lot of the people who read my blog are of a Transatlantic persuasion and often fall at the linguistic equivalent of the waterjump when I use phrases and words they don’t know. I’ve done three or four post on ‘Call my Bluff’ to try to sort out some of the misunderstandings.


  11. I love this Steph! As I read it, I was imagining how all these phrases would sound. I will look for Idiotbox and the Castle. Will I need your translations to get through the movies?


    1. No I think you’ll pick up the plot lines in context, unless you have trouble with the accent? If you’re stuck hit me up, but it should be fine. They’re really funny movies, I hope you like them


              1. A lovely affectionate film, with a really strong moral tale that is there without beating you over the head. I genuinely liked this. That and the fact that Lawrence the the barrister is referred to as ‘Laz.’ Hence, ‘Good on ya, Laz.’ Made me weep with laughter.


                  1. I used to work in the UK for an office based in Salt Lake City, and wrote film reviews as a way of reminding people I wasn’t just a voice on a phone or an email addressee. I gave The Castle a rave review.


  12. G’Day Steph, born and bred Melbourne sheila. Hilarious snippets of the lingo. Oh Undercover why would you be sad if you were in Australia all the time? 😦 Thanks for the post Rawr – keep up the good work mate, bonzo. Jen


    1. Thanks! It is funny the things that we take for granted that our overseas peeps just don’t get. It was loads of fun working on this piece. I am currently working on follow-up pieces for my own blog because there really was just so much stuff


  13. I love how some of the slang and spelling is the same as we use here (the UK) while others are quite different.
    Of course, I understand a lot of “Aussie” having grown up, as everyone in the UK did, watching “Neighbours”.


    1. You know, you guys in the UK watch Neighbours more than we do. You guys seem to love it! I mean I watch it from time to time, but it’s seems somewhat of a national addiction over there.


  14. One of my favorite things in the world is being at a table with a Brit, a Welshman, and an Australian. This happens regularly here (along with Russians, Germans, Latvians, and the odd American), so it’s a fantastic study in linguistic adaptation.


  15. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my agreement. Do you know any ways to help stop content from being ripped off? I’d genuinely appreciate it.



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