GLOSSARY of REGIONAL TERMS AND SLANG

All terms are Australian unless marked otherwise, e.g. (Brit.)

Click on a character below to see terms beginning with that letter.

A

ABC:
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

A4:
an international page size, 297 x 210 mm

All Blacks:
New Zealand international rugby team (distinguished by black shirts and shorts)

Anzac biscuit:
plain cookie made from oats, initially supplied to men of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps in 1915

Arthur or Martha (doesn’t know whether he’s):
confused

ASIO:
Australian Secret Intelligence Organization

B

beaut:
very good, wonderful

Behasa: (Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Malay)
dialect of the Malay language

bird: (Brit.)
girl or girlfriend

biscuit:
cookie

Black Watch:
Royal Highland Regiment

blimpish:
pompous, conservative, and intolerant

bloke:
fellow, guy

bludge:
to cadge something; also, loaf around

bolt-hole: (Brit.)
(from fox hunting) place of refuge or escape

bonzer:
tremendous, first rate

Buckley’s (chance):
almost no chance

buckshee: (Brit.)
soldier’s twist on the Arabic “baksheesh,” available free of charge

bugger:
n. or v. with wide variety of implications, but none today implying sodomy.
Examples:
going to buggery: deteriorating;
bugger off: see “piss off”;
old bugger: a colorful character;
buggered: exhausted or broken

bunyip:
mythical creature in the bush

bush, the:
the country, anywhere out of town

bushie:
country person

C

cane toad:
Queenslander

chook:
hen

chuck a doughnut:
create circular tire marks by spinning back wheels with steering on full lock

chuffed: (Brit.)
pleased, happy

clock:
to hit a person on the head

C.O.:
commanding officer of a regiment

cobber:
friend (see “mate”)

cockie:
farmer

codswallop: (Brit)
something meaningless or pointless

Colonel Blink: (Brit.)
ultra-shortsighted, blimpish (see entry above) cartoon character with clichéd retired-officer eccentricities

come the raw prawn:
feign ignorance or innocence, be disingenuous

cooee:
high-pitched bushman’s call (within cooee = within calling distance)

crack of the willow:
evocative sound of cricket bat hitting ball

crew:
organization, outfit, gang; see “mob” (no connection with the Mafia)

cricket batting terms:
duck, century, not-out, boundary, innings, dismissal

cricket bowling terms:
hat trick, no-ball, bouncer, leg break, Chinaman’s pitch, googly, full toss, wicket maiden

cricket fielding terms:
silly-mid-off, deep-fine-leg, square-leg

crikey: (Brit.)
expression of surprise = (Aus.) geez

cut snake, mad as a:
furious

D

Dan Dare: (Brit.)
1950s science-fiction hero in boys’ comics, equivalent to Buck Rogers in the U.S.; also, sarcastic term for clean-cut, phony hero

dinkum, fair dinkum:
authentic, true

dinki die:
authentically Australian

drink with the flies:
to drink alone

drongo:
an idiot or fool

dunny:
outside toilet, outhouse (without plumbing) = (Brit.) thunderbox

E

elevenses: (Brit.)
11 a.m. tea break = (Aus.) smoko

exeat: (Brit.)
(fr. Latin) leave to be away from boarding school

F

flat white:
double-shot espresso coffee with steamed milk, sometimes with a decorative feature etched into the foam

fly: (Brit.)
knowing, canny

fossick:
search, prospect for gold, etc.

Fourex:
iconic beer brand

G

gaffer: (Brit)
the boss; also, C.O. of a regiment

galah:
stupid person (from the Australian bird of that name, which is said to behave erratically)

golden bowler: (Brit. military)
early retirement with financial inducement

Gorbal: (Scottish)
person from a former slum area of Glasgow and home of razor gangs

gorblimey: (Brit.)
expression of astonishment

greenie:
conservationist (derogatory if used by an ocker; see “ocker”)

grockle: (Brit.)
Devonshire term for non-Devonian tourists

J

Jock: (Brit.)
Scotsman, soldier from Scottish regiment

K

kangaroos loose in the top paddock:
woolly thinking, silly in the head

kinoath:
you have my fuckin’ oath

L

larrikin:
frivolous, noisy, sometimes irresponsible young man

leg-pull: (Brit.)
practical joke or playful lie

M

mate:
friend, buddy; but if addressed to a stranger, it can be deliberately patronizing

mob:
organization, relations, tribe (Aborig.), group of people or animals

my oath:
abbr. of “You have my oath”; see “kinoath” for impolite form

N

NCO:
noncommissioned officer

no worries:
Leave it to me, it’s a “piece of cake” = “No drama, mate”

no-hoper:
loser

noises off: (Brit.)
theatrical reference to sounds offstage

not cricket: (Brit.)
unsporting, unfair, or dishonorable

not the full quid:
see “kangaroos loose”

O

ocker:
a crude Australian (implies Philistine)

outback:
arid inland area, often semi-desert

P

penny has dropped, the: (Brit.)
moment of realization or connection (like pressing Button A in old British telephone boxes)

pig’s arse:
nonsense, blarney, something unworthy

pillion:
passenger seat on motorcycle

pillock: (Brit.)
stupid person, fr. (archaic) pillicock = penis

piss off:
go away (can be either indicative or imperative)

plonk:
cheap wine, vin ordinaire

pom or pommy:
an English person (sometimes derogatory); also, pommy bastard

poofter: (ocker usage)
orig. homosexual, now pretentious/effete

pukka: (fr. Hindi)
classy, proper, authentic

pull the other one; it’s got bells on: (Brit.)
I don’t believe you (see “leg-pull”)

pulling (someone’s) leg: (Brit.)
see “leg-pull”

put the boot in:
punish a victim or compound an injury

R

R.O.: (Brit.)
retired officer, a ‘retread’ if re-employed by military

ratbag:
person who causes trouble (sometimes political), irritating person

raw prawn:
disingenuous person (e.g. Don’t come the raw prawn with me.)

ripper:
tremendous, great

roo:
kangaroo

root:
to copulate, or act of copulation (usage as for “screw”), (see entry for “wombat”)

ropeable:
furious

rough red:
a workaday red wine

Royal Dorset Regiment: (fict.)
like the Somerset Light Infantry, a county regiment with men traditionally enlisted locally

S

sauce:
alcoholic drinks, booze

scrub: (esp. in Queensland)
rainforest, as opposed to dry bush

secateurs: (fr. French)
pair of pruning clippers

sheila:
a dinki die Australian woman or girl (see “dinki die”)

singlet:
A-shirt, tank top, occasionally known as a “wife-beater”

skerrick:
a small amount

sleekit: (Scottish)
smooth, sly, or cunning

spitting chips:
apoplectic with fury

spunky:
physically attractive

sticky-beak:
one who is too curious about other people’s business, same as (Brit.) “nosy parker”

strewth:
oath, emphasizing a point (from “God’s truth”)

stubby:
small beer bottle

swag:
sleeping roll or bundle originally carried by a “swagman” (see “swagman”)

swagman (also swaggie):
swag-carrying itinerant worker (historical equivalent to American “hobo”)

T

timber-getter:
lumberjack

toff: (Brit.)
upper-class person

troppo: (person)
affected by too much time in the tropics

turps:
alcoholic drinks (illogically from “turpentine”)

togs: swimsuit, bathers

true blue:
truly Australian, loyal to traditional Australian values

U

ulu: (fr. Behasa Malay)
jungle

ute:
pickup truck

V

veggo:
vegetarian

view-halloo: (Brit.)
foxhunter’s call on sighting of fox breaking from cover

W

War House, the: (Brit.)
nickname for the Whitehall premises of the Ministry of Defense (MOD), formerly the War Office

wet, the: summer season of monsoon and cyclonic rainfall

whingeing:
complaining peevishly

wombat:
large, pudgy, nonbouncing marsupial much loved by Australians; also less affectionate term for man who “eats roots and leaves”