Glossary of Australian Terms
This glossary almost only contains words I learned during my
trip or in preparation for it. (This means several words, like
"shiela", aren't listed. I only listed "g'day" because I figured no
list of Australian is complete without it.) It is by no means
intended to be comprehensive and I am not looking for submissions.
Corrections, however, are always welcome. Thank you.
- ABC store
- Something completely different from here in Alabama. ABC stands
for Australian Broadcasting Commision, so the store sells items
related to the shows they broadcast (e.g. Thomas the Tank Engine,
Bananas in Pyjamas, Sesame Street, and Barney).
(In Alabama, ABC stands for Alabama Beverage Control, so an ABC
store is a state-run liquor store.)
- The #1 mossie repellent in Australia; a
- Counter-clockwise. I think America is the only English speaking
country that doesn't use anti-clockwise. (At least we're
- Aussie (pro. oz-ee)
- An Australian or something Australian.
Example 1: The train was full of Aussies.
Example 2: I fell in love with Aussie meat pies.
- banana (pro. buh-nahn-uh; similar to pajamas)
- Just a different pronunciation from the U.S. (buh-nan-uh). You
need to know this to make more sense of the title of the children's
show called "Bananas in Pyjamas". (It's a
- Barbecue grill.
- The hood of a car.
- The trunk of a car.
- French fries. Also called "hot chips" to distinguish them from
- Generally, a live chicken. Can also refer to chickens in other states, but will
then be preceded by "dead," "frozen," etc.
an Australian who stumbled across my page, for clearing this up for me.)
- cockie (unsure of spelling)
- Cockatoo. They're all over the place.
- cossie (pro. coz-ee)
- Bathing suit. Derived from "swimming costume."
- didgeridoo (pro. did-jer-ee-doo)
- Aboriginal instrument made from large hollow branch that's been
cut to about three feet (one meter) long. The player covers his mouth with
one end and blows, letting his lips flap gently. Makes a sound unlike
anything else I've ever heard. One of mankind's earliest wind
- doner kebab (pro. don-er kuh-bob)
- A gyro sandwich. (See also kebab,
Example: There's an Australian novelty song which says "I hope
your chooks turn into emus and peck your dunny down."
- fillet (pro. fil-it)
- Just a different pronunciation from the U.S. (fil-ay).
- A part of a road that is intentionally lower to allow flood waters
to cross at a known point.
- gaol (pro. jayl, same as in the U.S.)
- Garbage man or garbage.
- Hello. Literally "good day". Who doesn't already know this?
- Hungry Jack's
- Burger King.
- Usually refers to a doner kebab, not a shish kebab.
(See also doner kebab,
- Kellogg's Rice Bubbles
- Kellogg's Rice Crispies
- Curb (noun). As in the step up at the side of a street.
- A small building or stand that serves fast food (i.e. meat pies,
hot dogs, hot chips, candy bars, etc.). Also called a "food kiosk."
- A soft drink (i.e. carbonated) with lemon flavor. Sprite says
"lemonade" on the side of the can Down Under. What Americans call
lemonade, Australians would probably call "lemon squash." I didn't
think lemon squash tasted quite the same as lemonade, but it was good.
- Mazda (pro. Maz-duh)
- Just a different pronunciation from the U.S. (Mahz-duh).
- meat pie
- Ground meat (usually beef) with sauce served in a small pie crust.
The crust is similar to that of chicken pot pie.
- Mega Drive
- Sega's name for their Genesis video game system outside the U.S.A.
- minced meat
- Ground meat.
- mossie (pro. moz-ee)
- diaper (short for napkin). (See also serviette.)
- One vehicle passing another. Aussies use this instead of "pass". (I
realize it means the same thing in the U.S., but we don't use it as
Example: In Australia, instead of "Slower traffic keep right,"
it's "Keep left unless overtaking."
- Mild derogatory term for someone from the U.K.
- Line. I realize it means the same thing in the U.S., but we
hardly ever use it.
Example 1: You stand in a queue to get movie tickets.
Example 2: A traffic sign reads "Don't queue across intersection."
- road train
- A truck cab hauling two or more trailers. (A "tyre" ad I saw said the world record for a road train
is 29 trailers.)
- rock melon
- 'roo bars
- Large metal bars put on the front of cars to keep them from being
destroyed if the driver hits a kangaroo ('roo). Mainly used in the
- A traffic circle. They're everywhere in Australia. Cars in the
circle have right of way, followed by cars approaching from your
right. (Keep in mind they drive on the left, thus going around the
- Napkin. (See also nappy.)
- shish kebab
- Meat & vegetables on a skewer grilled on the barbie. Same as in
the U.S. (See also doner kebab,
- Starfox (a game for the Super Nintendo).
- tall boy
- High boy (a piece of furniture).
- Same as in the U.S., but can also mean dinner.
example: Aren't you going to eat your tea, mate?
- Same as in the U.S., but usually means the bathroom or restroom.
Unlike Americans, Australians don't mind being perfectly frank and
saying, "I'm going to the toilet." (And when do you ever see a bath
in a public restroom?)
- tomato (pro. toe-mah-toe)
- Just a different pronunciation from the U.S. (toe-may-toe).
- tomato sauce
- Ketchup (or catsup, if you prefer). I'm not sure what Aussies
call what Americans know as tomato sauce.
- white ants
- Sure, you've heard the name but do you have any idea what one
looks like? Wombats are herbivorous, burrowing marsupials.
They're about the size of a pig, covered in short, brown fur, with
only a stub of a tail. Their heads are oval and they have
very thick skulls. Each of their paws has sharp
claws used for burrowing. They are generally harmless unless
cornered. There are three types: common, northern hairy-nosed, and
- yoghurt (pro. yoe-gurt)
- Yogurt. Every time I saw it spelled this way, I thought of a
caveman in pain.
Return to Lee's Australia page.
Author: Lee K. Seitz
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2006