To a foreign ear, the Aussie lingo would sound all but indecipherable. A garbled mouthful of elongated letters and a high pitched twinge to every word. It’s not as simple as it looks. But for us native speakers the local language is thrown into every conversation, a little release of your inner bogan. So put your Vegemite to the side and be patriotic in every word you speak.
The phrases and terms are so undoubtedly Aussie, you’d think they were branded like cattle. Our convict heritage leads the language to be a little rebellious now, but at the time even more so. What rapscallions. The list is expansive, but if we missed a scorcher, please let us know. Sure there’s fair dinkum and dinky-di, but that’s entry level stuff. Go on pour yourself a shoey and get knee deep in a list of legendary phrases, to use more regularly.
Bag of worms
A wriggler or fidgeter, someone who can’t sit still. e.g. “Sit still, you’re moving around like a bag of worms”
An obvious point. e.g. “Even Blind Freddy could see that.”
The business. e.g. “Getting down to business. A descriptive term with a bit of pizazz.
Boots and all
Wholehearted, entirely, completely. e.g. “Jono wasn’t kidding about leaving town, he left boots and all”
He hasn’t got a brass razoo
Something of absolutely no value, utterly worthless. What is a brass razoo exactly? Look not too sure.
Let’s have a Captain Cook
To have a look, just like our founder before us. e.g. “Can’t find your keys? Let’s have a Captain Cook.”
Something truly excellent, an ace shot in backyard cricket perhaps.
Flat out like a lizard drinking
To finish something as quick as you can. You may wonder why the lizard is drinking, but don’t concern yourself too much.
Grinning like a shot fox
A smug smile. The fox may have just raided the nearest farm or who knows what mischief. Imagine that perky little grin.
Game as Ned Kelly
Eager as the first larrikin himself, a courageous move ahead.
To do the Harold Holt
To disappear out of nowhere, like Prime Minister of Australia, Harold Holt once did. Seriously. e.g. “Has Rachel done the Harold Holt? I can’t find her”
An exclamation of surprise or sheer size. It means more than your favourite childhood band, The Hooley Dooley’s
A bid farewell. The French have au revoir, and we have all but jargon.
Not the full squid
Someone who lacks intelligence or isn’t all there. Are squids particularly unintelligent? Discuss.
Wine or any other alcoholic tipple. Pour the plonk, pass the plonk, neck the plonk, whatever suits you.
To continue to party on. e.g. “We raged on til the next day.”
The genuine article, the absolute truth. It sounds like a didgeridoo has been dissected and chopped into small enough pieces for conversation.
When someone is looking particularly good, or they’ve scrubbed up beyond their usual standard.
Defeated, perplexed, unfathomable. Not madeup, although you may think it is.
A person who is extremely surprised or stunned. Shock, horror, awe.
Vomit, up chuck, whatever you like to call it. Have you ever heard of a more colourful term to describe it.
Tickle the tonsils
An alternative to wetting the palette, either digesting information or food. Whatever you please.
Two pot screamer
A person who has two beers and they’re drunk. A quality alternative to one beer bandit.
Hit the turps
Drinking rapidly and a lot. Never too many terms in Australian vernacular for getting on the piss.
Useful as an ashtray on a motorbike
Not very useful, some would say a complete waste. It kind of speaks for itself, but it’s creative nonetheless.
Work. Can also be used to describe hard work, as in “hard yakka”.