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The basics
Australia: Once you arrive

Common confusing Aussie slang explained

Studying in Australia? Aussie slang left you bewildered? We’re collated a few of these terms to help you out here.

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Each country will have adapted the English language to make it theirs, infused with their own cultures and with it, their own set of slang, that non-locals would have a tough time comprehending. Australia is no different. Here is a list of slang that are used by Aussies that may leave you scratching your head in confusion.


As crook as Rookwood- When you first hear this term, it sounds as if they’re describing someone who is a criminal or a crook. What the term actually means is that someone is seriously ill. "Crook" being really sick, at death's door, and Rookwood being the biggest cemetery in Australia.

Drongo – Someone who is crazy or a fool. The term was derived from a racehorse of that name in the 1920s, which never won a race out of 37 starts. 

Face like a dropped pie – Someone who’s face is ugly.

Firies - Refers to firefighters. 

Fit as a Mallee bull – Someone who is very fit and strong and in good physical condition. The Mallee is a region in Victoria, South Australia - a dry area where an animal would need to be tough and fit in order to survive. 

Full as a centipede's sock drawer – This is a strange one. The origins of this particular phrase is uncertain, but it generally means that the person is very full.

Go troppo – It means to go crazy. The term was first used to refer to people thought to have become a bit bizarre from the tropical heat in places like Darwin.

She/He played a Barry – Someone who did something really badly. Barry is short for Barry Crocker and rhymes with shocker. He sang the theme tune for the Australian soap- Neighbours

Kangaroos loose in the top paddock - Eccentric or not very smart.

Knock up – Meaning wake up. This could lead to some misunderstandings if a fellow flatmate or your host family saying: “I would knock you up in the morning.” One might think that said person is trying to get them pregnant.

Like a mad woman's breakfast – Something that is all over the place or messy. 

Macca's or Mackers - McDonald's.

Mouth like the bottom of a cocky's cage – This is used to refer to a dry mouth, often as a result of heavy drinking and or smoking and a cocky is a cockatoo.

Neck oil - Beer.

Spit the dummy – To have a sudden tantrum.

Stone the crows – An expression of amazement.

Thongs - Flip-flops.

Tucker - Food.

Two-pot screamer - someone who can't hold their drink. A pot is a half-pint glass.

Woop woop – An isolated place.

We hope that some of these explanations will help in deciphering the interesting and colourful terms that the Aussies use! 


Photo credit: visualhunt.com

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