Australian to English Dictionary

It has only taken two hundred years for the Australian language to develop to the point where it has become a mystery to other English speaking nations (and to Americans who by Act of Congress now speak American).

Australian folk songs are full of strange terms. This list has been around for some time and we have added to it words found in our songs

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Slang

Explanation

Ace

Excellent, fantastic, very good.

Aerial pingpong

Australian Rules Football.

Amber fluid

Beer.

Ankle biter

Child, young person.

"Ard Tack Hard work

Arvo

Afternoon.

Aussie

Australian.

Aussie salute

Brushing the flies away from ones face.

B&S

Bachelors' & Spinsters' Ball

Back of Bourke

A remote inland area a great distance from the speaker.

Backblocks

The back section of a sheep or cattle station.

Bailed up Held up as in a robbery

Banana bender

Queenslander.

Barbie

Barbecue.

Bare bellied Joe or Blue bellied yeo A sheep with little wool on the stomach area and therefore quicker to shear

Beyond the black stump

A long way away, a remote location.

Big bikkies

A lot of money, very expensive.

Bikkie

Biscuit.

Billabong

An Aboriginal word for a water-hole that dries up or becomes isolated from its river in times of low rainfall.

Billy

A Cylindrical metal container used for boiling water or tea.

Blisters A nickname for a lazy person, ie. appears after the work is done. Also short for blood blisters - rhyming slang for sisters

Bloke

Man.

Bloody

Very. The Great Australian Adjective

Bloody oath

Thatís the truth, in agreement.

Blow A clip with the shears as in "wide is his blow" in Click Go The Shears

Blowie

Blowfly.

Bludge (1)

To be lazy.

Bludge (2)

Borrow.

Blue (1)

Fight.

Blue (2)

Mistake.

Blue (3) Bluey

Nickname for redhead.

Bluey

A rolled up blanket carrying belongings, originally often blue colour also called a swag

Blue Heeler

Breed of Australian cattle dog.

Board (the) Section of the shed where the shearing takes place

Bodgy

Poor quality, or incorrectly done.

Boundary Riders A person hired on big stations to ride the boundaries of the property to check fences

Brekkie

Breakfast.

Brizzie

Brisbane - The capital city of Queensland, Australia.

Brumby

A wild Australian horse.

Buckley's

Next to no chance at all (You've got buckley's)

Bulldust

The deep, fine dust of the Outback roads.

Bullocky

Bullock dray driver.

Bundy

Bundaberg Rum.

Bunyip

Mythical creature known to inhabit billabongs and waterholes.

Bush telly

Fire.

Bush Tucker

Food derived from the surrounding bush countryside (berries, roots, small animals etc.).

Bush, The

Anywhere in Australia away from the cities and suburbs

Bushed

Tired, or lost (in the bush).

Bushie

Person who lives in rural Australia.

Bushranger Outlaw, Highwayman

Camp oven

A cast iron container with lid used for campfire cooking, hot coals are placed over and around it.

Chooks

Chickens. We were in a restaurant in England and our roadie, Trog said to the North of England waitress, "I think I'll have a chook" and she panicked and grabbed a bucket for him.

Cobber

A friend or mate

Cobbers Prehistoric Australian Bush Band see also "dinosaurs"
Cobbler The last sheep at shearing time
Cobblers A load of cobblers = a load of rubbish

Cockatoo, Cocky

White, crested parrot, also a small scale farmer, particularly in Queensland.

Cocky's Joy

Golden syrup.

Cossies

Swimming costume/bathers/swimmers.

Cove Bloke, man as in "a flash cove" = a dandy or well dressed person

Crikey

Wow - used as an exclamation point in conversation.

Crook

Dishonest person, no good, sick, bad, difficult ("feel crook", "crook weather", "crook job").

Daks

Pants.

Damper

Bread made from flour and water, unleavened, usually cooked in a camp oven.

Darling Pea A weed that is poisonous to cattle causing them to stagger

Darwin Stubby

Enormous bottle of beer from the Northern Territory no longer available

Diggers

Australian armed services personnel.

Dingo

Australian native dog, tawny-yellow in colour.

Dingo's breakfast

A yawn, stretch and look around.

Dinkum

For real, true, honest, genuine.

Dinosaurs See "Cobbers" Incidentally, did you know that Australian dinosaurs were the last to die out? Interesting eh?

Dob In

Inform on someone, contribute money, nominate someone for a task.

Dog's Breakfast

A mess.

Dossed Slept, bedded down

Dray

Wagon or cart pulled by horses or bullocks.

Drongo 1 A type of bird as in "The Drover's Dream
Drongo 2 An idiot or useless person named after a racehorse who rarely won

Driza

Driza-Bone oilskin coat.

Dry, The

The 7-8 months of the year in Northern Australia when it doesn't rail.

Duffers

Cattle duffers, sheep duffers - cattle thieves, sheep thieves.

Dunny

Toilet.

El Nino

A cylindrical oceanic event which can have a significant influence on drought conditions in Australia.Its cycle tends southwards every 2 to 7 years.

Fair Dinkum

True, genuine.

Falcon

Hit on the head by a ball (sporting coll.).

Galah

Grey and pink parrot, foolish person.

Grog Liquor
Gun A top shearer

Jackaroo

Station hand, usually trainee manager often the son of another landowner sent to work on other properties to learn different methods, soils, breeds, etc.

Jacky Howe Australia's most famous shearer also the blue singlet favoured by shearers
Jackass Kookaburra - an Australian kingfisher

Jillaroo

Female version of the jackaroo.

Jumbuck A sheep

Kelpie

Breed of Australian sheep dog.

Kiwis

New Zealanders.

Long Paddock, The

The grasses verge alongside roads and stockroutes, used for grazing in times of drought.

Mate

Good friend, used more casually in conversation to refer to an associate.

Matilda A swag
Moke A horse

Moleskins

Cotton trousers designed for comfort and minimal abrasion in the saddle, they have a brushed finish echoing the softness of moles fur.

Mossie

Mosquito.

Never-Never

Remote isolated region of the outback.

O.P.

Overproof (as in O.P.Bundy)

Outback

Remote, sparsely populated area of inland Australia.

Ozzie

Australian.

Paddock

Field, pasture or fenced range.

Paddymelon A small marsupial 

Pastoralist

Owner of a large property used for grazing and crops.

Prad A horse also called a moke
Rhino Money. see Whips of Rhino
Ringer The shearer with the highest tally in a particular shed. Shearing was (is) competitive and the ringer would win a bonus, sometimes being paid double. See also "gun"
Rum and Raspberry Liquor in the bush could be rough at best and often hazardous to drink containing such refinements as sulphuric acid to give it "bite" It was often mixed with raspberry cordial to make it more palatable. Similarly, on the early sailing ships to Australia it was mixed with the drinking water to cover the foul stench.

Scrub

An area covered in bush, trees, shrubs.

Scrubbers

Cattle mustered from the scrub which are unused to man and mustering.

Shanks's Pony

On foot.

Shanty A small bush pub also any roughly built shack
Shielas Women. The word is now considered politically incorrect which is a shame 
Snags Sausages

Squatter

Originally farmers who settled on Crown land, now refers usually to sheep station owners.

Stacks

Many, lots.

Station

Farm, ranch.Usually large sheep or cattle properties.

Stockman

Person employed to tend livestock.

Stroppy

Difficult, complaining.

Strewth

Wow - used as an exclamation point in conversation.

Stubbies

Shorts.

Stubby

375ml bottle of beer.

Sundowner A swagman who turns up at a homestead after the work is finished for the day

Swaggie

A man who travels the country on foot, and carries his belongings in a swag or bluey.

Swagman

A man who travels the country on foot, and carries his belongings in a swag or bluey.

Tallie

750ml bottle of beer.

Tar A thick brown ointment used in the old days to treat cuts on sheep to assist healing and avoid fly strike, Administered by the "tar-boy"

Tin Scratcher

A small time prospector.

Tinnie

Can of beer.

Top End

The northern end of the Northern Territory of Australia.

Troopers Police
Tucker Food

Underground Mutton

Rabbit.

Ute

Utility motor car built like a small open backed truck and treated accordingly.

Waler An Australian breed of stock horse decimated during the First World War when 50,000 of them perished but now making a comeback
Wallaby A small type of kangaroo
Waltzing Matilda Carrying a swag
Ward and Paines A brand of hand shears

Wet, The

The rainy season, particularly the monsoonal or sub-monsoonal rains in Northern Australia (December to March)

Whaling Camped in a river bend between shearing jobs
Whips of rhino Rolls of banknotes

White maggot

An umpire in Australian Rules Football.

Wolseleys Mechanical shears invented by the man who went on to build Wolseley automobiles
Wombat A fairly large ground dwelling marsupial related to koalas but with less tourist appeal
Yakka Work

 


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