X is for eXpletives, Y is for dunnY, and Z is for zzzzzz : Australian Lingo

Saturday 29th of April is the last day of the A-Z Challenge and as I’m a little behind this will be a Triple Treat.

I hope we have all gained something, anything, from this series of posts and I apologise for the brevity of some. Several books have been devoured in the early hours of the morning to provide a better understanding of Aussie lingo though as always Life gets in the way and I haven’t been able to focus as much as I had initially planned. Admittedly I’m also slowing down as I slink gingerly into old age.


X is for Expletives : If nothing else you’ve learned that Aussies are loud, colourful and inventive. I’m not going to delve into the world of profanities, at which we as a nation excel, but refer you once again to ” Rooted, An Australian History of Bad Language” by Amanda Laugesen. Bad language has been used in all sort of ways in our history : to defy authority, as a form of liberation and subversion, and as a source of humour and creativity.

Just take my word for it….or read the book.

Y is for dunnY ( Allow me some poetic licence please)

The word “Dunny” is Australian slang for toilet or outhouse. 

My favourite Aussie insult has to be ” I hope all your chooks turn into emus and kick your dunny down”.

Z is for zzzzzz.

It’s been a long month and I’m retiring. Good night.

Demystifying Australian Language

W is for They’re Are Weird Mob by John O’Grady : Australian Lingo

Who knew you’de get a book review as part of my entry into the A – Z Challenge. Yes, it’s a tenuous connection to the Letter W, but the alternative was an explanation of one of Australia’s favourite slang words, Wanker, so I’ve opted for the lesser of two evils.

They’re A Weird Mob was released in 1957 and was a big deal in its day.It was also required reading for the New South Wales High School Certificate ten years later – adding to the reasons why even the most attentive senior school students wag class.

O’Grady wrote under the pseudonym Nino Culotta, who is the lead character in the novel. Giovanni ‘Nino’ Culotta is an Italian who comes to Australia as a journalist, employed by an Italian publishing house, to write articles about Australians and their way of life for those Italians who might want to emigrate to Australia. Unfortunately, the job falls through and Nino accepts a position as a labourer on a construction site and is introduced to hard yakka(work) and all that entails : cups of tea, swearing, and a lot of beer.

The book was made into a movie in 1966 and the narrator begins with ” Australians live down under. Like flies on the ceiling they never fall off.” Some of it is funny, some of it makes you cringe. I wasn’t a fan in 1976 and my view hasn’t changed, although critics tend to think otherwise.

Both the book and the movie focus on the misunderstandings caused by miscommunication. Nino’s English is learnt from text books, the Australians’ not so. I like to think it is a story about an Australia long since gone….

Demystifying Australian Language.

V is for Verse : Australian Lingo


Theres an original Aussie lingo

That out there one can hear~

Most of all when you are in the country

And places like that you love so dear~

RIPPA RITA , An aussie bush expression of rejoice~

When something really goes so well

And usually not by choice~

FAIR DINKUM means simply for real

Are you fair dinkum mate~

STRUTH another real Aussie expression

A bush word for something that you hate~

Just a few words of real Aussie lingo

You might hear now and again~


When they reall do need rain~

STONE THE CROWS you’ll hear them yell

When something happens by surprise~

Often in the country

When they can’t believe their eyes~

HOWZ ZAT a bloke will often call out

when he manages to do something better than right~

And very indeed proud of himself

Without trying to skite~

RIGHTIO dad will call out to mum

When she hollows don’t forget to get the bread~

TOO FLAMEN RIGHT he’ll say back to her

When she says well … did ja get it ted~

YA GREAT GALLOOT is what they’ll call you

When you do something really wrong~

So much original Aussie lingo

They should put it all within a song~

SHIELA’S are of course suingle women

Who often are as well called BIRDS~

All this fantastic Aussie terminology

How I miss all these words~

Ocker’s are usually blokes in shorts and thongs

They call thongs Japanese riding boots~

CODJA’S are older blokes

Sometimes they call them COOT’S~

COCKIES are blokes that own properties

STRIKEN A BLOW is a term for work~

BLUDGERS are those that don’t like do do it

And being lazy is to of course SHIRK~

All that age old aussie lingo

I miss it so I do~

Can’t wait to say HOWZ YA GOEN MATE

And G DAY to a mate or two~

It’s all got a sound of it’s own

One gets used to it in life~


Is what they call a wife a wife~

( Was’nt game to use spell check lol )

Terrence Michael Sutton

Copyright 2018

Demystifying Australian Language

U is for Useful As : Australian Lingo

Firstly, I’m 24 hours late with Letter U though this was by choice. The 25th of April is ANZAC DAY in Australia and New Zealand, a day which my upbringing deems to be one of respect and solemnity. My old Da had a history embedded in War War 2, and my first job was with the Repatriation Department better known these days as the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. So April 25th for me entails a lot of Vera Lynn, getting up early for the Dawn Service, some time out for reflection, a quiet tear, and yeah, maybe a plonk or two…..

So U for Useful As is an extremely common phrase indicating just how useless a person or something can be. Some of these phrases have a rural theme and some an anatomical theme. And some are downright disgusting so we will not go there…….

My favourite is as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. 

A few years before my only sister died she decided to sell her car for a cheaper version of motor transport. As you do when the three racehorses are getting fatter and fatter and cost a small fortune in vet bills and upkeep. So she bought herself a pretty light blue motor cycle, underwent driving lessons, and gained her motor cycle licence. Sold the wretched thing two weeks later after discovering that you can’t smoke and drive a motorbike at the same time.

Useful as a dry thunderstorm.

Useful as a wether at a ram sale.

Useful as a sore arse to a boundary rider.

Useful as a pocket on a singlet.

Useful as a glass door on a dunny.

Useful as a third armpit.

Useful as a roo-bar on a skateboard.

Useful as a pork chop at a Jewish barbeque.

Useful as a letterbox on a tombstone

Useful as a submarine with screen doors.

Can you add any more?

Demystifying Australian Language

T is for Towns : Australian Lingo

But first, answers to last weeks Q for Quiz. How did you go? Can you be considered an honourary Dinky Di?

1  = Q

2 = S

3 = T

4 = M

5 = J

6 = O

7 = A

8 = H

9 = E

10 = B

11 = L

12 = D

13 = P

14 = R

15 = G

16 = N

17 = F

18 = K

19 = C

20 = I

So I guess by now you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that even our major towns and their suburbs have slang names. When my daughters graduated from University the first thing they did was pack their bags for work in the bigger cities. Brissie (Brisbane) was too small for them, and the Deadlands (Redlands) didn’t offer the employment opportunities they were chasing. Staying in their hometown of Clevehole (Cleveland) was never an option.

And yes, there are maps that use only the slang names of suburbs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

I know what you’re thinking : just when you think it can’t get any tackier it does.

Demystifying Australian Language

S is for Sheilas : Australian Lingo.

Platypus Man from https://64reflections.home.blog/ has asked why Australian women are called sheilas, and not Ednas nor Mary Beths. 

Thanks Platypus Man for sending me down another rabbit hole 🙂

A sheila is a slang word for woman. The name has its origin in a generic use of the common Irish girl’s name, in use since the 1830’s

While many Irish female names are saints’ names, there is no Saint Sheila. According to Diarrnaid O Muirithe, an Irish lexicographer, the name Sheila derives from Cecily, the English form of the Latin name of the virgin martyr St Cecilia. The Anglo-Normans brought the name to Ireland and in time it became in the Irish language Sile. In nineteenth-century newspapers there are references to the celebration of ‘Shela’s Day’ on 18 March in honour of St Patrick’s wife or mother. 

Sheila is basically a bloke’s word – women on the whole do not use it. Some men seem to think it is a neutral word, rather than a derogatory one, despite the fact it is often spoken in the same breath as a host of sexually charged slang words. From personal experience I believe it to be a term used by previous generations as it is not so common in todays world and certainly not by young men.

There is a school of thought that has the term sheila to describe a woman coming into use after World War 1 when a popular socialite called Sheila Chisholm formed a relationship with the man who would become George V1 ie Elizabeth’s father. At the time, both George and his brother Edward were having a busy time “sowing their oats”. The lady became quite famous in English society and was widely known in England and Australia as the “Australian Sheila”. She fell from grace when the Prince’s mother expressed her disapproval of the Prince’s association with a colonial.

Those damn colonials.😉

Demystifying Australian Language

R is for Roly Sussex : Australian Lingo

Roland Denis Sussex OAM is Emeritus Professor of Applied Language Studies at the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies of the University of Queensland, in Brisbane.

I’ve attended several presentations by Roly Sussex over the years – on occasion having even blogged about them- and have always found the linguist willing to share fascinating stories and knowledge whilst remaining the kind of bloke you would be happy to chat with over a wine at a barbeque.

In an article published in The Guardian dated 21st April, Roly shares some of the latest new Australian expressions being considered for inclusion in the Macquarie Dictionary.

The Macquarie Dictionary’s managing editor, Victoria Morgan states that “Each month we choose five from our words-to-watch list that have been submitted either by the public or by us.”

Roly provides the following terms selected for April : 

Gendy nooch – meaning gender-neutral

Cozzie liv – cost of living

Murder noodle – a venemous snake

Tiger Toast – toast with a topping of Vegemite and strips of cheese

Password child – a child favoured over their siblings, as shown by their name being used in a parent’s digital password.

In all honesty I’m leaning towards being appalled as opposed to acknowledging the creativity. What about you?

Demystifying Australian Language

P is for Prison Slang: Australian Lingo

Unsurprisingly, Prison slang is used primarily by criminals and detainees in correctional institutions. Many of the terms deal with criminal behavior, incarcerated life, legal cases, street life, and different types of inmates. 

Prison slang can vary depending on institution, region, and country. It can  be found in other written forms such as diaries, letters, tattoos, ballads, songs, and poems. Words from prison slang often eventually migrate into common usage, such as “snitch” and “narc”. 

Here are some examples of Australian Prison Slang :

Cellie – a cellmate

Dog – an informant

Screw – prison officer

Cockatoo – An inmate tasked with alerting other inmates that prison officers are approaching

Segro – segregation wing

I would just like to add that I know none of these terms from first hand experience.

Demystifying Australian Language