A Glossary of Aussie Slang

With both The Roo and The Gulp – and no doubt in many future books – I’ve included a glossary in the back to help people decipher the Aussie slang in the stories. Australian vernacular is singularly good fun, but it’s also ubiquitous. To one degree or another, pretty much every Aussie uses our unique slang at some time. And the most bogan among us use it like fucken punctuation. Along with swearing, it’s abso-fucken-lutely every-fucken-where. But some people pointed out that although the books have a glossary, that’s only easily used in the print editions. Having to flick to the back in an ebook is tricky. It’s a good point. So I’ve combined my previous glossaries here, so everything is in one place. I’ll add to this page as and when necessary. All in alphabetical order:

Akubra – a brand of hat, very popular in the country. Akubra is an Australian hat manufacturer. The company is associated with bush hats made of rabbit fur felt with wide brims that are worn in rural Australia. The term ‘Akubra’ is sometimes used to refer to any hat of this kind, however the company manufactures a wide range of hat styles including fedora, homburg, bowler, pork pie, and trilby. The name is claimed to derive from an Aboriginal (possibly Birpai) word for a head covering.

arvo – shorthand slang for afternoon.

back of beyond – a long way from anything.

blowie – a blow job.

blue – a fight or argument.

bogan – an uncouth or unsophisticated person regarded as being of low social status.

bull bar – a device installed on the front of a vehicle to protect its front from collisions, whether accidental collision with a large animal on rural roads, or intentional collision with another vehicle, such as in police use.

bumbag – fanny pack.

cactus – dead, or useless/broken.

chinwag – a conversation.

chook – chicken.

come a cropper – to fail or suffer a defeat; to be struck by misfortune; to literally fall, for example, from a horse.

cunjevoi – the aboriginal name for a sea squirt that lives around the edge of the low-tide mark, and often forms mats over the rocks.

doona – duvet, continental quilt.

dunny – a toilet, especially an old-fashioned outdoor toilet in a small shed.

esky – an Australian brand (Esky) of portable cool box, but the word is commonly used generically for all portable coolers or ice boxes.

flannie – flannel shirt, usually red or blue checks.

galah – slang for a fool or idiot, actually the name of the grey-backed, pink-breasted cockatoo. The word comes from the Yuwaalaraay and related Aboriginal languages of northern New South Wales.

get a dog up ya – go fuck yourself.

grog – booze, any form of alcohol.

IGA – Independent Grocers of Australia, a franchise chain of independently owned supermarkets.

jaffle – a toasted sandwich.

mad as a cut snake – very angry or crazy.

ocker – characteristically Australian; uncouth, uncultured, or aggressively boorish in a stereotypically Australian manner.

parma – parmigiana, a way to prepare chicken with a tomato sauce, ham and cheese covered schnitzel. Regional arguments over chicken parma versus chicken parmi will never be settled in Australia.

raw prawn – “Don’t you come the raw prawn with me” – to treat like a fool or try to deceive (a raw prawn is a hard thing to swallow).

RBT – Random Breath Test – roadside sobriety check.

rollie – roll-up, a handmade cigarette.

root – other than the underneath parts of a plant, it also means to fuck.

root your boot – go fuck your boot.

sanger – sandwich.

a few sangers short of a picnic – not all there in the brains department.

schnitty – schnitzel, usually chicken or veal.

schooner – a beer glass, 425 ml (15 imp fl oz), or three-quarters of an imperial pint pre-metrication.

servo – service station. Petrol pumps and usually a small shop.

shag – a fuck.

strewth – expression of surprise or dismay, from “God’s truth!”

Strine – the English language as spoken by Australians; the Australian accent, especially when considered pronounced or uneducated.

strop – in a strop – in an angry mood; annoyed.

thongs – flip-flops, the footwear. Thong as underwear is a G-string in Aus.

toey – touchy and quick to anger; nervous or anxious. (Can also be used for someone eager for sexual activity or aroused).

tucker – food.

ute – a pick-up truck, short for utility vehicle.

we’re not here to fuck spiders – we’re not here to waste time.

Woollies – common slang for Woolworths, a national supermarket chain.

yakka – hard work.

yeah nah – no (similarly “nah yeah” means yes).

your blood’s worth bottling – you’re a lovely person.