Get the Guff…Aussie Lingo 101

Australia stub

Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day mate!

A couple a sheila’s, through the bush telegraph, asked me to give them the guff on some Aussie lingo. There are lots of sheila’s out there with missionaries who are in the outback and have gone walkabout. They want to gobsmack their missionary when they get home with a real Aussie g’day.

It’s here that you will get the guff on some dinky di Aussie lingo. There are some bonza words and sayings that will definitely impress your mates. So, if you are within cooee of someone, sheila or bloke, and you’re not out the back o’ Bourke somewhere, then ‘ave a go, because she’ll be right once you practice a little. You may want to use the bush telegraph to let your cobba’s know about this, because it’s fair dinkum! But be careful you don’t get too ocker and come off sounding like a yobbo.

Did you get that?

If not then here is the translation:

This post was prompted by a couple of requests on the LDS Missionary Mums Email Group, to share some of the more common Australian terms – the lingo. Many of the missionary mums I talk with there have missionaries serving in Australia, and love to be able to welcome their missionary home with banners and signs with Aussie sayings on them.

So I thought it would be fun to share some of these sayings here. I have broken them down into two groups. Sayings that are more commonly used, day to day, and sayings that are used less, but are iconic in nature – unless maybe if you come from the outback.

However, let me preface this by saying that it is all purely in my opinion.

For those of you who don’t have missionaries serving in Aus, then you may just get a kick out of reading some of these. If you have an Aussie friend somewhere, you could even try one or two out on them.

More commonly used lingo:

Bloke – male, man, guy. “He’s a nice looking bloke”
Aussie (pronounced Ozzie) – An Australian. “I’m an Aussie”
Aus (pronounced Oz) – Australia for short. “I come from Aus”
Mate – friend, companion. “He’s me mate”
No Worries! – That won’t be a problem, all is good. “No worries mate, I can do that”
G’day – Hello. “G’day mate”
Buckley’s – You don’t have a chance. “You’ve got buckley’s”
All good – Everything is ok. “It’s all good here”
Arvo – Afternoon. “I’ll come over this arvo”.
Crook – sick or ill. “I am feeling a bit crook”.
Ear bash – talk too much. “That bloke can really ear bash”
Relo’s – Relatives. “All the relo’s are coming too”
True Blue – the real thing. “That story was true blue”
Dinky Di – the real thing. “He’s a dinky di Aussie”
Avos – Avocados. “I love a bit of avo on my sandwich”
Back o’ Bourke – a very long way away. “It’s way out the back o’ Bourke”
Bingle – car accident. “I got into a bit of a bingle today”
Gobsmacked – stunned, amazed, in awe. “I was totally gobsmacked by what she said”
Chook – chicken. “We’re having chook for dinner”
Crankey – angry, upset, annoyed. “He made me really crankey”
Footy – Australian football. “Let’s watch the footy”
Good on ya – Good job, well done. “Good on ya mate”
Macca’s – McDonalds. “Let’s go to Macca’s for dinner”
Shonky – a bit suspect, a bit dubious. “That car looks a bit shonky”
Snag – Sausage. “Snags for dinner tonight”
Barby – A Bar-B-Q. “Put another snag on the barby will you?”
Sunnies – Sunglasses. “I need my sunnies, it’s too bright”
Thongs – Cheap rubber backless sandals, flip flops, jandals (not underwear). “Will they let me wear thongs?”
Get the guff – Know what is happening, what’s the latest news. “If you want to get the guff, then ask me”
Togs – Swimming suit, swimmers, bathing costume. “I’ll just put my togs on”
Outback – The rural or country area. “He comes from the outback”

Less commonly used lingo:

Sheila – female, women, girl. “She’s a nice looking sheila”
Bonza – Great, fantastic. “I met this bonza sheila today”
Beauty Mate (ripper, grouse) – That’s fantastic, good job! “Beauty mate, all good”
Cobba – Friend. “He’s a cobba”
Fair dinkum – that’s the truth. “Was he fair dinkum about it?”
ave a go mate – Why don’t you try it out. “Just ‘ave a go mate”
She’ll be right – Everything will be all right. “She’ll be right once we get going”
Bush Telegraph – local gossip network, grapevine. “I heard it on the bush telegraph”
Gone walkabout – lost, or can’t be found, taken off. “I can’t find her right now, she must have gone walkabout”
Within cooee – within hearing distance. “Try to stay within cooee of me”
Ambo – Ambulance. “Someone call the ambo”
Galah – stupid, silly person. “Ah, ya silly galah!”
Hooroo – Goodbye, see you later. “Hooroo, see you soon”
Ocker – Someone so Australian that it even embarrasses an Aussie to be around them. “He’s real ocker”
Yobbo – an uncouth, sloppy, rude, person. “He’s a bit of a yobbo”

I finish this list of sayings with the suggestion that there are many more Aussie colloquialisms. I have not included all of them as you would probably get bored by the end of it.

If you have any others that you would like to add here then feel free to do it through the comment box below. If you think I got it wrong somewhere then I would be happy to hear about it too.

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4 thoughts on “Get the Guff…Aussie Lingo 101

  1. some of these are English, more than Australian, originally and actually blasphemous in origin – eg strewth is contraction of “God’s truth”, blimey is “blind me” or longer form “cor blimey” which was “god blind me” and crikey which is slang for Christ (which is why I told my family not to say it, especially when it got popular with Steve Irwin)

    • I guess that’s what I love about language in general. It really helps to define a country, its origins, its experience and its culture. So the fact that many of these words reflect English slang is a big part of that definition, since a large part of our history has its source there. I do know that some of those words (mostly those in the more iconic word list than the commonly used one) are derived from other words. But worldwide this is fairly common, and there are many words in our vocabulary today that are derived from other less savory words, which are used in our daily conversations. For the most part it is a personal choice as to whether we use them or not. But I have included the least offensive ones here to give a feel for the cultural surrounds of Australian colloquialism. I do appologise if I have offended you in any way. That was not my intention.

  2. **Please note an amendment to the above post:
    On further consideration, and for the benefit of those who may just choose to use some of these words on banners for their returning missionaries, I have decided to delete three of them because the origins of their meaning can be deemed offensive. The ‘For the Strength of Youth’ pamphlet states, “Good language that uplifts, encourages, and compliments others invites the Spirit to be with you. Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith, hope, and charity”. Even tho’ the meaning behind these three words have, to a large degree, been lost over the years, I believe that we do need to consider the source of them when determining whether they uplift, encourage and compliment others. So I apologise for including them in the first place, and hope that you understand the reasons for removing them.

    • But I will add one obvious one that I missed…NO WORRIES! Can’t believe I left that one out, probably the most used Aussie saying EVER!

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