Updated: Mar 31, 2020
“It was chockers at the barbie do this arvo, mate!”
If you didn’t understand that, don’t worry. Australian slang is very difficult to understand, even for other English speakers. Because Australia is an island separated from other English-speaking countries by thousands of kilometers, over the years, Australians have developed their own way of speaking, which includes a very colorful vocabulary! Below is a list of some common Australian slang words and phrases, and how to use them.
Chockers. This word means very full or very crowded.
Example: Let’s leave the party early. It’s chockers in here!
Arvo. This word is short for “afternoon”.
Example: I think they’ll arrive this arvo, but I’m not sure.
Bogan. This is a term used to describe an unsophisticated or uncultured person. Bogans are similar to “rednecks” in the United States. They have lots of national pride, bad hygiene, bad manners, and are not very smart.
Example: There are way too many bogans in this store!
No worries/She’ll be alright. Australians are known for being very laid back and relaxed. These popular sayings just mean that you shouldn’t worry; everything will be fine.
Example: No worries about that exam, tomorrow. She’ll be alright.
Bruce/Sheila. These are actually proper first names, but for Australians, a “Bruce” is a man and a “Sheila” is a woman.
Example: Hey, look at that Bruce over there! He must be popular with the Sheilas.
Crikey! Saying the word “Crikey” shows you are surprised or amazed about something.
Example: Crikey! The supermarket is completely out of Tim Tams, mate!
Oz. No, we’re not talking about The Wizard of Oz. Australia is kind of a long, complicated name. For this reason, Australians often proudly shorten their country’s name to “Oz”.
Example: Do you think you’ll go home to Oz for Christmas?
This is very far from a complete list, but if you try to use a few of these phrases when speaking with an Australian, you might gain a new “mate”!