It's the friends you can wake up at 4.00 a.m. that matter.

~ Marlene Dietrich ~

That Funny Aussie Way Of Saying Things

May 16th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 31 secs

What is it about Aussies that's so funny?

What is it about Aussies that’s so funny?

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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