20 ‘Australian-isms’ You Will Hear While Visiting Australia

I won’t claim that Australians created these terms, but for whatever reason they are common usage in casual conversation in Australia…and often completely baffling for the visitor to Australia.

Australian Slang

Some of them can be considered Australian slang, while others have actually become an officially recognized part of Australian English. Either way, your visit will be made far less confusing if you know the meaning of the following:


Bogan is definitely a derogatory term. But widely used, regardless. It refers to Australians who tend to be part of the lower classes, often involved in petty crime and drug use, who generally live in lower cost housing, sport mullets, and are often on social welfare. They are probably best likened to the American concept of ‘trailer trash’.

Crack Onto

Hit on someone. Yeah, its that simple. It would be used like this:

“During the party, Jeff was trying to crack onto Carol’s cousin”.


Ropeable means to be livid. Not just angry, but really angry.


Crook can be used in two ways. Firstly, crook is commonly used in English to mean a criminal – and it can be used that way in Australia too. But it also has a secondary meaning. Crook means to be ill and would be used like this:

“Sarah didn’t come to the wedding. She was crook’.

Cold one/Brewski

Beer or even an alcoholic drink in general…but it is more likely to apply to beer and cider. In fact there are lots of beer terms – depending where you are in Australia…in Sydney for example, a schooner is the most common size of beer you might order and a midi would be around half that.


Speaking of beer terms, to skull something is to quickly drink something…most often a beer.


Spud is the Australian term for a potato.


The Australian term for flip flops or jandals.

Rock Up

Turn up. It would be used like this:

“I rocked up to the meeting a full fifteen minutes late”.


Something badly made or in some way faulty. Here’s how it might be used:

“The faucet was bodgy”


A perfectly acceptable term to use to refer to an Australian person or to describe something an being Australian. Australians often use this term to describe themselves. it is pronounced ‘ozz-ee’.

A Shortened Form of Everything..

Australians love shortening words for some reason.

Often Australian-isms are just shortened versions of longer words. After all, why waste your time saying the whole word when you can just save your syllables…

Check out the following commonly used examples:


It has been a long time since I heard anyone use the term Macdonalds in Australia. Everyone calls it Maccas. even the Macdonalds advertisements on TV call it Maccas.


Short for afternoon


Short for service station, where you go to fill up your car.


Short for a utility van. A pick up truck


Short for orangutan, Ranga refers to a red-headed person and is definitely derogatory. This Australian slang seemed to gain a lot more common usage during the period when Australia had a red-headed Prime Minister.



If you order a dish without meat, you might be asked if you are vego. Vego is a general term Australians often use for Vegetarians and Vegans.


Short for suspicious, and used in the same way as the full word.


A piece of chewing gum


Refers to the Salvation Army. On the same note, St Vincent De Pauls is known as Vinnies. Both of these organization’s second hand clothing stores refer to themselves by these names  – not only the general public.


There you have it. If you plan a visit to Australia you will definitely hear at least some of the above Australian-isms. What Australian slang terms do you know? Let us know in the comments

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