5 Australian Phrases You’ll Want to Know

February 27, 2015
5 Australian Phrases You'll Want to Know

It’s no secret that Australians talk a little bit differently than the rest of the English-speaking world, but then again, don’t we all? They shorten breakfast to brekkie and afternoon to arvo. It seems long words just aren’t in their vernacular.  There are many Australian phrases that would have been helpful to know upon arriving.

During my two years in Australia I heard more than the usual “good on ya mate” and “How ya goin” and I eventually started associated the word thong with what you wear on your feet, instead of your bum. There were so many times where I’d be down at the pub for a Sunday session with a few Aussie friends and I would literally be blankly staring as they spoke to each other in a tongue as foreign to me as Finnish.

5 Australian Phrases You’ll Want to Know

1. Woop Woop

A place out in the middle of nowhere. It’s like telling someone they live in the boondocks. As in, “he’s not from Sydney, he lives out in woop woop.” These are the best people to know in Australia; they’ll teach you how to shake out your blanket before bed to check for spiders, as well as which snakes are poisonous as you hike through the woods.

2. First in Best Dressed

It doesn’t make any sense, but it means “first come first serve.” You’ll hear it at bar happy hours or from friends inviting you over for a barbie. Either way, you’ll wonder how this old English phrase, which actually refers to the fact that the eldest child (the first in) had the best clothes while the younger siblings were left with the hand-me-downs (and therefore not best dressed), still hung on in Australia.

3. Budgy Smuggler

A word I heard surprisingly often, it’s the name given to men’s Speedos. My favorites are the bright yellow and red seen at any beach in New South Wales. They’re the uniforms for the surf and lifesaving clubs. They’ve even gone as far as printing the names of the beaches on the back-side. It’ll give you an excuse to stare (not that you needed one in the first place).

5 Australian Phrases You’ll Want to Know

4. She’ll be right

This is probably my favorite and I quickly adopted it as a part of my vocabulary in Australia. You’re running late and you tell your boyfriend he needs to hurry up otherwise your friends will leave without you “She’ll be right,” he will frustratingly reply. It perfectly sums up the laid back attitude of Australia when a common phrase exists that simply means “It’ll be fine.”

5. Two-pot steamer

If you get called this, well, you’re being called a lightweight. Pots are what they call a small beer in Victoria and Queensland. I may have heard this a few times in my early days in Australia, but I was probably too busy dancing and singing, pot in hand, to notice. You’ve had a few beers and you’re shouting loudly across the bar, and then a few friends might jokingly call out “taxi.” You’re a two-pot steamer.

Have you traveled to Australia? How was your trip? Email us at [email protected] for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

About Laura Bronner

Laura Bronner is an American girl addicted to life abroad. After graduating from college she set off on what was meant to be a year of travel. That was four years ago. Since then she has lived in New Zealand, Australia and now calls South Korea home. You can follow along with her experiences on An American Abroad

One thought on “5 Australian Phrases You’ll Want to Know

  1. John Brommer
    March 3, 2015

    Love it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *