That Funny Aussie Way Of Saying Things
Funny is a relative thing. For starters, it depends where you live. For Australians, our unique way of calling a spade a bloody shovel is both confronting and endearing.
We pinched it, of course, from the Poms (which itself is an affectionate term apparently derived from British immigrants being called “Jimmy Pomegranates”, then “Pomegranates”, then simply, “Poms”). Rhyming slang was gladly borrowed from London Cockneys (no doubt through Cockney convicts who were amongst some of Australia’s earliest white settlers). The resulting lingo is a funny blend of British, classic Aussie, and a hint of beautiful Aboriginal irony.
Here are just a few to get your head around:
Aggro – angry
Bush telly – gazing at the stars in night sky
Chuck, chunder, or drive the porcelain bus – be sick or vomit.
Ding bat – a fool
Donk – car or truck engine
Drongo – a complete dimwit
Dunny – toilet
Esky – portable icebox usually associated with storing beer when travelling
Fair dinkum! – genuine; honestly
G’day – hello (even said at night)
Good onya! – Basic praise
Grog – beer or alcoholic drinks in general
Having a yarn – talking to somebody (while spinning a yarn is a polite way of saying someone is lying)
Icypole – popsicle
Journo – reporter or journalist
Bit of a rummin’ – a scallywag (can also be used as a termo of affection). Most likely to be heard in Tasmania
Ridgy didge – as in “genuine”
What a ripper! – That’s excellent
Do a yewey – make a U turn when driving
Out whoop whoop – out in the middle of nowhere
Hard yakka – hard work
Strine – Aussie speak
Wowser – spoil sport
Yobbo – an uncivilized male
White anting – like termites secretly destroying timber, white anting quietly undermines someone else’s integrity or the goals of a group
Ute – a sedan sized pickup truck
There are plenty more of course. But unless you’re Australian, this funny collection can certainly seem confusing. Like dialects and slang terms the world over, Australia’s sayings have a distinct character that reveals a different kind of mindset. While some use these terms more than others, you can’t be Downunder long before you hear locals slipping them in.
Generalizing wildly, I believe it’s fair to say Aussies are a pretty friendly lot and don’t tend to take themselves too seriously as a rule. That sense of humor and direct but dry style is no put on. Because that’s the way many Australians think.
Though we mostly live in towns and cities these days and get a daily dose of world events, there’s something about the Australian way of doing things that tends to put other people at ease. At least, I believe most Australians would like that to be the case (even when it isn’t always true).
Yet, as a nation who’s coat of arms creatures are no fiercer that a kangaroo and an emu, you can tell Aussies are far more interested in sport and the outdoors than governing too much. Perhaps that spirit is best expressed in the simple Aussie idea of, “Giving it a go”. No matter what you can or cannot do, Australians believe that absolutely everyone anywhere in the world should be encouraged and allowed to “Give things a go”. It may seem a funny theme but it typifies Aussie mindedness: that everyone deserves a fair go, ought to try new things, and do the best they can. So, as an Aussie myself, I encourage you to do the same. Pick up that positive message and give it go for yourself. Because there’s no harm in trying and everyone deserves a turn.
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