English is the official language of Australia, but when you travel Down Under for the first time, you might have a hard time understanding what the locals are saying. In addition to the Australian accent that might sound confusing to foreigners, there are a whole bunch of slang words, terms, and phrases that Aussies like to use. In a sentence packed with Australian slang, it can feel like you’re hearing a completely different language.
There are endless Australian slang words to become familiar with, but you should at least get to know the main ones, so the Aussies don't think you’re a tosser.
Check out these 10 slang words you’ll need to know in Australia.
10 Woop Woop
If you’re traveling in Australia, you will probably hear locals using the term "woop woop" sooner or later. Basically, this refers to any place that’s isolated or remote or any place that’s considered to be far away from your local area. So if you ask a local where your hotel is, and they say it’s in "woop woop", that’s really not good news.
This one is pretty easy to get your head around and start using while you’re Down Under. You can use it to substitute “in the middle of nowhere” when describing the location of a place.
9 Buckley’s Chance
Sometimes Australians will say that you’ve got "Buckley’s chance" or "Buckley’s hope" of doing something. That means that you’ve got little or no chance at succeeding at whatever you’re trying to do. You might hear that you’ve got "Buckey’s chance" of getting a table at a busy restaurant or "Buckley’s hope" of spotting a kangaroo in the Sydney city center. Sometimes, they simply just say "Buckley’s."
The term goes back to William Buckley, a convict who escaped his ship in 1803 and went on to be a peacemaker between European settlers and Indigenous Australians.
8 She’ll Be Right
It’s easy to get confused when an Australian says "she’ll be right." They’re not talking about a woman here, and the phrase doesn’t describe somebody being correct. This is actually just a way of saying that everything will be okay in the end. In this case, "she’ll" refers to everything, and "be right" refers to being all right or okay.
You might hear this is if you vent your worries onto an Australian. On the way to the airport, if you tell the driver that you’re scared you’re going to miss your flight, you’ll probably be met with a laid-back, “Nah, she’ll be right.”
A lot of first-time visitors to Australia are completely caught off-guard when they’re told to take their "thongs" off before getting in a pool or spa. But don’t fret! In Australia, thongs are flip flops. One thong is a single flip flop. You’ll probably hear the term used a lot, since Australia has such a strong beach culture and wearing thongs is the norm.
What Americans call a thong is called a G-string in Australia. So you can be alarmed if you’re told to remove your G-string, but not if you have to remove your thongs!
You’re bound to hear this one after just a few days Down Under. "Brekky" is another word for breakfast, although it has the same amount of syllables and isn’t actually any shorter to say. It’s less formal and more easy-going, which is a reflection of the typical Aussie approach to life.
So what will you find at a traditional Aussie "brekky"? Most major hotels have international buffets with classic favorites like eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, pancakes, and a range of pastries. And along with butter next to the toast machine, you’ll find Vegemite.
5 Tall Poppy Syndrome
Hopefully, nobody accuses you of having "tall poppy syndrome" while you’re in Australia. Also a term that is used in England, this means that you can’t stand it when the people around you are more successful than you. Think of a poppy that grows taller than the rest, and someone cuts it down so it doesn’t overshadow the others.
People who have this affliction tend to try and discredit or bring down anybody who they deem to be more successful than they are. It’s not a good look, and certainly not a compliment.
"Footy" refers to football, but not the kind that you may be thinking of. In the United States, football is American football. In Europe, it’s what Americans know as soccer. But in Australia, football or "footy" refers to Australian Rules Football. A rough contact sport, Aussie Rules Football features two teams of 18 players who each try to kick the ball between two posts on either side of an oval-shaped field.
Australians like to shorten words, so along with "footy", you might hear "avo" instead of avocado, "choccy" instead of chocolate, and "sickie" instead of a sick day.
When you first hear this term, you might think of a group of people who are bathing. But "bathers" actually refers to swimwear. It might be a bikini, a one-piece swimsuit, or any other kind of swimming costume.
Thanks to Australia’s beach culture, you will probably hear this term a lot. You’ll see shops selling "bathers" and hear people talking about how they love their new pair of "bathers." A "budgie smuggler" is a similar term you’ll probably hear (but hopefully won’t have to see), referring to tight speedos worn by a man.
2 Spit The Dummy/Have A Whinge
You won’t have a very good reputation among your Australian friends if you "spit the dummy." Like a baby spitting out its pacifier when it’s crying, "spitting the dummy" means you’re essentially having a tantrum about something. For example, some passionate Aussie Rules Footy fans may spit the dummy when their team loses.
"Having a whinge" is similar to "spitting the dummy." This means that you’re complaining about something, and usually, not in a very productive or constructive way. "Whinging" is whining, and is seen as obnoxious behavior.
1 No Dramas
Most Aussies are so easy-going that they’ve got a whole bunch of phrases just to describe how there’s no need to worry. "No dramas" is what you say to someone to show that there’s no problem. Drama here means a problem or something going wrong, and there’s none of that in this case.
You might thank someone in Australia for going out of their way for you, and they’ll respond with, “No dramas.” It can mean “don’t worry about it” or “you’re welcome” or “no worries” depending on the situation.