19 Australian Phrases That Confuse Americans

Australia is a culturally diverse country known for its stunning landscapes and surfing spots. It attracts over 9.5 million tourists annually, but visitors may find some local slang confusing.

1. Yeah Nah

teen thumbs down

Contrary to what you may be thinking, the classic ‘yeah nah’ means no, and not to be confused with ‘nah yeah,’ which means yes.

2. She’ll Be Right

guys enjoing themselves

Stand still for a short time in Australia, and you’ll undoubtedly hear this phrase thrown around.

Meaning ‘it will be fine’ it’s a favored expression by many Aussie natives. 

3. Fair Dinkum

woman cant believe what she just heard

One of the more unique phrases, fair dinkum is often used as a question or statement.

Questioning means, ‘honestly?’ while a statement means something more to the tune of ‘that’s the truth.’

4. You Beauty!

woman men taking pciture

Made popular by the hit kids’ show Bluey, ‘You beauty,’ simply means ‘this is great!’

5. The Five Fingered Discount

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A term that is a little more obscure, is if someone has received a five-fingered discount, it means they’ve slipped an item out of a shop without paying. Not something to be proud of!

6. Mate’s Rates

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A term that’s leaked its way across the pond, ‘mate’s rates’ refers to receiving a discount for services.

7. A Cashie

rich kid

Commonly used in conjunction with ‘mate’s rates,’ a cashie refers to a job done ‘off the books,’ or ‘cash in hand.’

8. Galah

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A beautiful pink bird that frequents many parts of the country, a galah is often used as a term for someone who is being silly, often affectionately.

9. As Mad As A Cut Snake

woman frustrated

Assuming the regular person has never seen a snake cut in half, let us just assume it’s enough to make the reptile spitting mad.

This phrase is often used for someone in a similar state of frustration.

10. Chucking A Sickie

sick man

A term that’s made its way to Australia from England, chucking a sickie means to take a sick day off work, though you are not actually feeling unwell.

11. Doing A Shoey

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Shutterstock.com / cristiano barni

Popularized in 2016 when Australian Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo celebrated his podium finish by performing a champagne shoey.

Just like it sounds, the alcohol is poured into the shoe, and drunk enthusiastically back out.

It’s objectively unappealing, but any Australian would defend it with vigor.

12. Having A Sticky Beak

french women

This means to have a close look at something and often carries sneaky connotations.

13. Having A Yarn

telling stories

If you’re an Australian getting together with friends, you very well might be prepared to have a yarn. That is, to have a good conversation together.

14.  No Dramas, No Worries, No Stress, All Good

boy similing joking

A variety of phrases that all mean one thing:It’s fine.’

15. Pulling A Swifty

student messing

Though the country is full of Taylor Swift fans, this term doesn’t actually have anything to do with the musical icon. Pulling a swifty means you’ve tricked someone.

16.  Good Onya Mate

couple reaching out to embrace

This is one of the phrases you want headed your way. ‘Good onya mate’ just means ‘well done!’

17.  Chuck a U-ey

man and teen in car laughing

One that may bemuse foreigners, chucking a u-ey refers to making a u-turn in your vehicle.

18.  Carrying On Like A Pork Chop

girl tantrum

If you’re feeling a little over-dramatic today, this might be a phrase for you.

To ‘carry on like a pork chop,’ means you’re throwing a bit of a tantrum.

19. Bloody Ripper

Have a Great Weekend or Have a Nice Weekend

A very frequent favorite for those who live down under, ‘bloody ripper’ means ‘awesome.’

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While the country may have a myriad of unusual sayings, it shouldn’t be a deterrent from visiting. According to U.S. News, Australia is the #1 Friendliest Country!

This article was produced by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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