Mike's Australia HTML version
In the 200 odd years since settlement, Australian English and British
English have drifted apart. Words that met an untimely death in the old
country have remained alive in Oz . New words have been invented. I'll
stick to words and phrases that are so deeply entrenched that I have to
remind myself that my British and North American friends might not
understand what I'm saying. I hasten to add that I was born in the UK
and retain some memory of how English was spoken in that country.
Ocker: vulgar speech: sometimes faked by middle-class Australians
pretending to come from working-class backgrounds: developed to perfection
by former Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke. Based on Oscar, a vulgar
little larrikin in a 1960s TV series.
Larrikin: boisterous, often badly behaved young man. 19th century English
Galah: Stupid person. After the rosy cockatoo, famed for hanging upside
down in the rain.
Tucker: food. From early 19th century British slang.
Mate: Used by people trying to be friendly and people with a bad memory for
Thongs: sandals, flip-flops. Not to be confused with the North American "G-
Wowser: censorious person. Used of killjoys trying to stop you having a
Dunny: toilet. From Scottish dialect.