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How to Sling Slang

Your Quick Guide to Aussie and British Slang

G’day, cobber. It may seem barmy, but folks around the world really do use slang like this. In fact, every English-speaking country has its own vocabulary full of slang terms. So, before you take a trip to Australia or England, make sure you know your destination’s local slang. (You definitely don’t want to get stuck in a chocka-block sounding like a bogan.)


Turns out the “land down under” should actually be called the “land of abbreviations.” You can always count on Australians to chop a word into a shorter, savvier version of itself. In fact, the first Aussie slang term you can think of is probably g’day—an abbreviation for good day, or the Australian way to say hello. Here’s a list of others that you may not be familiar with:

  • avo avocado
  • barbie barbecue
  • brolly umbrella
  • brekky breakfast
  • choccy biccy chocolate biscuit
  • rellie/rello relative
  • runners running shoes
  • sunnies sunglasses

Outside of their abbreviations, Aussies are also known for their funny-sounding terms that, to American English speakers at least, have no reasonable explanation for meaning what they do.

  • bogan redneck (but can be used toward your friends when they’re acting strange)
  • bludger a lazy person
  • cobber a very good friend
  • crook angry or ill
  • deadset true
  • dunny toilet
  • galah a not-so-bright individual (named after a particularly dull bird)
  • larrikin someone who’s always up for a laugh
  • rooted tired or broken
  • sheila a woman
  • snag a sausage


And now for our friendly British counterpart . . . our other half . . . our sister country. (After all, we do share the same roots and a bunch of DNA.) British slang can throw you a curveball if you aren’t prepared for it. Though you most likely know that fish and chip refers to battered fish and french fries, you may need a translator if you hear the following words in a British conversation:

  • bagsy the British way of calling shotgun
  • bog toilet (meaning bog roll is the British equivalent to toilet paper)
  • barmy bonkers or crazy
  • cheesed off displeased or annoyed
  • chock-a-block a bustling busy place
  • dishy attractive or good-looking
  • flog to sell something
  • full of beans energetic, bouncing off the walls
  • Her Majesty’s pleasure spending time in jail
  • lurgy a cold or flu
  • scrummy delicious
  • yonks a very long time

Of course, there are other countries that speak English besides the US, Australia, and England, but this guide should give you a good head start. And if it doesn’t . . . please don’t be cheesed off for yonks.

Jenna Palacios