Planning to travel Down Under sometime before 2025? This blog post from a niche language website may prove invaluable. It probably won’t though.
Just like British English, Aussie slang – also known as “strine” – may leave you perplexed but intrigued. For your own nefarious purposes, as well as food for our Google overlords, here is a rough guide to 5 Australian slang terms to retain and memorize over the long run – because isn’t that what spaced learning is all about? Great! It’s another internet top 5 list, something we bet you have been longing for.
A retro, versatile term, “bonzer” is most often used to refer to something which is “excellent” or “remarkable”. Australians will use this term as a verb, a noun, or simply an interjection of pleasure. “Bonzer” has even made it to the newspaper headlines.
Example: This beer is bonzer, mate! Did you buy it at the Bottle-o down the road?
Translation: This beer is awesome, friend! Did you buy it at the liquor store down the street?
“Drongo” is a mild insult, often used in an affectionate way. This slang term is said to originate from an Australian racehorse of the same name in the 1920s that never managed to win a race, and ended up acquiring a bad reputation. The UK or US equivalent might be “dummy” or “nincompoop”.
Example: He left the stove on and went to Dave’s party – what a drongo!
Translation: He left the stove on and went to Dave’s party – what a dummy!
No Aussie slang list would be complete without mentioning Speedos and bikinis. “Cozzie” is a useful (and dare we say satisfying) term to refer to swimming trunks. Feel free to also use “togs”, and if you’re the satirical type, ”budgie smugglers” is a great way to refer to men’s tight-fitting swimming trunks.
Example: Put your cozzie on, we’re going swimming!
Translation: Put your swimming trunks on, we’re going swimming!
This next term will surely tickle your ear, and who could blame it? We’ve been trying to tickle yours for years. “Fair dinkum” can mean either ”real” or “authentic” and if you say it with a question intonation, it will mean “seriously/for real?” all at the same time, which makes it even more confusing. It basically refers to something or a situation which is unquestionably good or excellent. The term is said to come from the East Midlands (UK) and was used to refer to a fair day’s work, and subsequently a fair pay.
Example 1: This barbie is fair dinkum! I can’t get over these vegan burgers.
Translation: This BBQ is excellent! I can’t get over these vegan burgers.
Example 2: Are you being fair dinkum? Armstrong didn’t actually walk on the moon?
Translation: Are you for real? Armstrong didn’t actually walk on the moon?
Ridgy-didge (or Ridgey Didge)
Think you’re a ridgy-didge type? We can neither confirm nor deny, but we will explain what it means to you. This colloquial term refers to something or someone which is “real”, “genuine”, the “real deal”. “Ridgy-didge” is also a common word for a refrigerator (rhyming slang for “fridge”).
Did you know? Ridgey Didge is also the name of a popular children’s TV show featuring talking puppets.
Example: We hope you’ll be able to speak ridgy-didge Aussie slang after reading this article.
Translation: We hope you’ll be able to speak authentic Aussie slang after reading this article.
Bonus: Let’s put some snags in the esky for the barbie this arvo
Pretty self-explanatory if you ask us. But, a translation for those staring blankly:
“Let’s put some snacks in the cooler for this afternoon’s barbecue.”
Has this slang awakened your inner Aussie? Might be time to let them out. Get familiar with typical Australian accents and idioms with our online English course Gymglish.
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