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.)
Aeroguard
The #1 mossie repellent in Australia; a household name.
anti-clockwise
Counter-clockwise. I think America is the only English speaking country that doesn't use anti-clockwise. (At least we're alliterative.)
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 near-rhyme.)
barbie
Barbecue grill.
bonnet
The hood of a car.
boot
The trunk of a car.
chips
French fries. Also called "hot chips" to distinguish them from potato chips.
chook
Generally, a live chicken. Can also refer to chickens in other states, but will then be preceded by "dead," "frozen," etc. (Thanks to MrKistic, 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."
dear
Expensive.
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 instruments.
doner kebab (pro. don-er kuh-bob)
A gyro sandwich. (See also kebab, shish kebab.)
dunny
Outhouse.
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).
floodway
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.)
Jail.
garbo
Garbage man or garbage.
g'day
Hello. Literally "good day". Who doesn't already know this?
Hungry Jack's
Burger King.
kebab
Usually refers to a doner kebab, not a shish kebab. (See also doner kebab, shish kebab.)
Kellogg's Rice Bubbles
Kellogg's Rice Crispies
kerb
Curb (noun). As in the step up at the side of a street.
kiosk
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."
laneway
Alley.
lemonade
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)
Mosquito.
nappy
diaper (short for napkin). (See also serviette.)
overtake
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 often.)
Example: In Australia, instead of "Slower traffic keep right," it's "Keep left unless overtaking."
pommie
Mild derogatory term for someone from the U.K.
pyjamas
Pajamas.
queue
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."
railway
Railroad.
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
Cantaloupe.
'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 country (Outback).
roundabout
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 roundabout clockwise.)
serviette
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, kebab.)
Starwing
Starfox (a game for the Super Nintendo).
tall boy
High boy (a piece of furniture).
tea
Same as in the U.S., but can also mean dinner. example: Aren't you going to eat your tea, mate?
toilet
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.
tucker
Food.
tyre
Tire.
white ants
Termites.
windscreen
Windshield.
wombat
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 southern hairy-nosed.
yoghurt (pro. yoe-gurt)
Yogurt. Every time I saw it spelled this way, I thought of a caveman in pain.

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Author: Lee K. Seitz (WWW, e-mail)
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2006