A Definitive Ranking of Aussie Slang

What’s our most popular saying?

It is often hard to translate our thick Aussie accent, so much so, that most of the world is baffled with the obscurity of our slang.

Winston Churchill referred to our accent as:

The most brutal maltreatment ever inflicted upon the mother tongue of the great English speaking nations.

But slang, much like accent, appearance or even birth place is as much a part of what makes an Australian an Australia. It’s a chunk of our unique history that reflects the experiences our earliest Aussies had. From borrowings of Aboriginal words, through the British idioms the convicts brought, the gold rushes, bushranging and the World Wars our “slang” words describe our Australian character and forged our unique identity.

Australian slang is a mix of wit, rhymes and experience from bush and beach. Author, Sydney Baker believes that our slang is testament to our imagination:

(Australia’s) Greatest talent is for idiomatic invention. It is a manifestation of our vitality and restless imagination

It formed a sense of national identity, particularly during the first and second World War. You'll see below that much of our slang is through substitution, comparison and especially abbreviation.

So without further adieu, here is a carefully constructed ranking of our most used Aussie dialect, mate.

1.       ‘G’day’: an abbreviated Good Day

2.       ‘Uru’: roughly translated as: goodbye

3.       ‘Stoked’: a person is very excited.

4.        ‘Thongs’: referred to as Flip Flop everywhere else in the world, is a pair of sandals worn during summer.

5.       (bush) ‘Tucker’: food.

6.        ‘Uey’ : A U-turn

7.      ‘ Swag’: a portable sleeping unit, a bundle of belongings rolled in a traditional fashion, carried by travellers

8.       ‘Mad as a cut snake’: furious rage.

9.       ‘Like stunned mullet’: confused or dazed.

10.   ‘Couldn't blow the froth off a glass of beer’: a person is useless.


Uru, mates!

Related Articles

Discuss this article

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit