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Aussie slang you might hear while studying English in Australia

Australians have a unique brand of slang and if you come prepared, you’ll have no trouble understanding these expressions and getting along with locals. Aussies tend to shorten words, so instead of saying “We will meet up this afternoon” they will say “We’ll meet up this arvo” or instead of saying “Let’s have a barbeque” they will say “Let’s have a barbie”. Below you will find some other equally useful Australian phrases.

Aussie Slang

In one of our previous articles, we mentioned a couple of phrases that you will most likely hear (and in time use) when you’re studying English in the UK. And just like British-English, there are some pretty interesting (and useful) phrases in the Australian English dialect.

You can expect to make friends with locals when you’re studying English in Australia and a normal part of a social life is to have a drink or two and socialize. So when one of your Aussie friends approaches you with a question “Want to grab an amber fluid?” note that he/she is asking you if you would like to ‘Grab a beer.”. Now it appears that Aussies don’t shorten everything since ‘amber fluid’ is longer than simply ‘beer’. And where other would you grab that ‘amber fluid’ than in a ‘boozer’ commonly known as a ‘pub’.

Sometimes, if your friends are not available to have a drink with you, you can have a ‘drink with the flies’ or to put it otherwise, you can drink alone. This might not be the best way to do so, however, it’s still a ‘beaut way’ (great way) of spending a hot afternoon on the beach. You can sit on the beach, enjoying your ‘grog’ (another phrase for liquor or beer) and enjoy the view. Also, make sure that you wear your ‘bathers’ (swimming costume) or ‘budgie smugglers’ (men’s bathing costume) so you can go for a swim every once in a while.

At night you might see a group of people gathering around a ‘bush telly’ which is another phrase for ‘campfire’ and enjoying a ‘cook barbie’ meaning chicken barbeque that somebody brought in their ‘esky’ which is a food/beverage container for picnics/barbeques.

We mentioned that you should have your bathers/budgie smugglers when on the beach. Also, a pair of thongs and togs won’t hurt either. Under ‘thongs’ we don’t mean women's lingerie; among Aussies, the phrase ‘thong’ can also refer to cheap rubber backless sandals. And as for ‘togs’ that is also a similar phrase for a swimsuit.

During your studies in Australia, it might be advisable to visit some of the bigger cities like Sydney or Melbourne which fall into the ‘big smoke’ category since they are big cities.

These are just a few terms and phrases that you might find useful when among Aussies, however, you will most likely hear more and different ones that are not included here. If you do, make sure to write them down so you can use them as a reminder because Australian slang can be quite extensive.


Damian breen
Damian Breen Managing Director

Damian spent some 22 years living and working in various different countries in Africa and the Middle East, for several different leading international airlines, in senior country and regional manager roles.