How To Speak Australian

I have a good friend, Katrina, who lives in Adelaide, South Australia. Over the years, our correspondence has rendered me “bilingual”. I can now speak American English and Australian English. Now I can read her emails without asking for a translation!

My buddy Les is from a different part of Australia, Queensland, which is adjacent to and north of South Australia, so I expect there may be some regional differences. Some of the terms shown below are courtesy of Les.

Australians have a fondness for shortening words and adding “y” or “ie”to the end. Or they’ll drop the end of a word and make up something entirely different. Here are some examples below:

barbie = barbeque (everyone knows this one thanks to Paul Hogan, aka “Crocodile Dundee”)
Pommy = an Englishman
Chrissie = Christmas
chocky = chocolate
piccy = photo or picture
chook = chicken
hoon (my personal favorite Aussie word) = hooligan
mongrel = general word for a person of low repute
arvo = afternoon
have you been crook? = have you been under the weather?
dunny = toilet
rels = relatives
my shout = my turn to pay the tab
brown-eyed mullet = a turd in the sea (where you’re swimming!)
petrol = gasoline
Hooroo = goodbye

Now all you non-Aussies, play along. Try to guess the American English equivalent to these Oz words:

cocky (used as a noun, can actually mean 2 things)=


hols =



My biggest wish (besides owning my own bookstore) is to visit Australia someday. Kat has invited me a million times, but I am waiting until my body is physically reliable to make a trip of that magnitude. At the moment I think the 18 hour plane ride would do me and my muscles in (I have a connective tissue disease similar to lupus), and I also get migraines fairly often. Here’s hoping I get there soon – the ‘roos are waiting!



Filed under Humor, Life

7 responses to “How To Speak Australian

  1. This test will prove I am Aussie stupid!

    cocky = bird

    pressie= President

    hols = Holidays

    avo= Avenue

    ambo= Ambulance

    Can’t wait to see the correct answers!

  2. Um…are there a lot of turds in the sea?

  3. You’ve done a Ridgy Didge job on this post.

    yes thousands fab….we make surfboards out of them.

  4. Hey, I learned a lot! Thanks!

  5. Sonja (jackalope) says:

    Here are the answers to the Aussie quiz =

    cocky (used as a noun, can actually mean 2 things)= cockatoo, cockroach

    pressie= present (gift) Great guess Sharon!!

    hols = holidays

    avo= avocado

    ambo= ambulance

    Thanks to Les/Shaymus for the help!!

  6. seb

    I’m never going to forget the word chocky. It’s etched in my mind, and now I think I might have to use it here in the US. Great word.

  7. I have found that the Aussies speak so fast – my ears have trouble keeping up!

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