Australians have lots of common slang words or sayings that often sound peculiar to those coming to live, visit or study English here. Aussies are very unique in both their English dialect and the many phrases and sayings they have to communicate and it will take some time to get used to. But if you are already here or you are considering going to Australia to learn English as a second language, try using some of these sayings to make you feel more Aussie!

Fair Dinkum – “Fair Dinkum” is a very old, very typical Aussie saying meaning “that’s right!” or “that’s the truth!” It is not very commonly used by younger Australians today, but you might still hear it said here and there, especially in rural areas. It’s also sometimes used as a question, “Is that fair dinkum?” meaning “is that really true?”

BYO – BYO is a common Aussie term that stands for “Bring Your Own,” implying that if you want something you will need to bring it yourself. This is commonly used for restaurants and parties, e.g. “Bring your own grog” meaning that you must bring your own alcohol to drink, because no one will supply it for you. You can almost BYO anything in Australia! – BYO sausages, BYO beers, BYO camping gear. Remember this term the next time you see this abbreviation.

Far out – This saying is an exclamation, similar to saying “Wow!” or “Oh my goodness.” It’s often used to comment on impressive or shocking things. For instance, you could say, “far out that’s a big banana!” or “far out, I didn’t see that car coming towards me!” Far out is also commonly substituted for swear words, but it’s acceptable to use because it is not actually swearing: “You mean we missed the start of the movie? Far out!”   

That sux (or sucks) – This is probably one thing they won’t teach you in your English courses! Sux is a common slang word among Aussies, meaning something is bad or unfortunate. For example, if someone told you they had just lost their dog, you might say “that sux mate.” Aussies sometimes also use it as a derogatory term: “He sux as a soccer player because he always misses the ball.” Unless you’re familiar with it, you will have to be careful using this term so that it doesn’t insult or come off too negatively and offend someone.

Stiff Cheese, Mate – Stiff cheese essentially means “too bad!” For example, if a friend showed up late to a party and missed out on pizza, you might say “stiff cheese!” Again, it’s best to only use this saying around your friends and those you know.

Don’t get ya knickers in a knot – This is a humorous saying that means “don’t get agitated or annoyed” at something. If you were spending a lot of time in the bathroom, for instance, and your flatmate was getting angry at this, you might say to them, “I’ll be out in a minute, don’t get ya knickers in a knot!”

Up the creek without a paddle – If you are “up the creek without a paddle” it means that you are stuck in a difficult or hopeless situation. Imagine that you are on a boat, sailing down a creek, but without a paddle. How would you get back to where you need to be? That’s the meaning of ‘up the creek’!


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