9 Australian Phrases You Need to Survive the Outback
Are you planning a vacation in the land down under? Visiting Australia is something you have to cross off your bucket list. If you master these Aussie phrases you are certain to have a fabulous time and make lots of new Aussie friends.
This word can mean so many things. It can mean ‘how are you’ or ‘hello’. Some people say it when they make eye contact with another person on the street. This is the most common Australian slang word you will hear while visiting.
When you pronounce this word it isn’t ‘good day’, or even ‘geh-day’. You have to cut the “g” sound short and emphasize the “day.” Make sure that “day” is drawn out. It sounds similar to “daaey.”
Master this word, it’s guaranteed that you’ll make many friends!
This word just means ‘friend’. Aussie’s add this to the word ‘G-day’. For instance, “G’day mate” means “Hello, friend.” You can use “mate” in many other ways. A typical reply when you ask someone how their weekend was, they might say an Aussie is “Maaaate.” Used in this way, it means, “OMG! I can’t even start to describe how awesome it was.”
If you make eye contact with a stranger, simply nod your head and say “mate” as a simple, casual greeting. This is a friendly way to acknowledge them.
- How ya going?
This just means, “How are you?” the word ‘Ya’ means ‘you’. The word ‘going’ is an adjective for how you are feelings. The person is really asking how you are feeling, or how your day is/was. A common sentence is a phrase like “G’day mate! How ya’ going?” It is meant a s a friendly greeting.
Who doesn’t think of this word and smile? “Crikey” is an exclamation. Most Australians grow up hearing this word. The word is used as an exclamation of surprise or bewilderment. It can also mean “wow!” For example:
“Crikey! Did you see the size of that snake?”
Used mostly by older generations, “Crikey” became popular again when the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, became famous.
There’s another Australian word that means the same as “crikey.” “Streuth” is pronounced like “Strooooth.” It’s an exclamation of shock. For example:
“Streuth! You were nearly attacked by a shark?!”
- Fair dinkum
Some Australian English has origins in China. “Dinkum” originally came from a Chinese dialect and can be translated to mean “true gold” or “good gold.” There were many Chinese people searching for gold in Australia in the 1800s.
“Fair dinkum” is a verb or an action word. or something we do. You say “fair dinkum” when you want to state a fact or truth. For example:
“It’s true mate! Fair dinkum.”
“Fair dinkum! That is a lot of gold.”
- Heaps good
The word ‘very’ has been replaced by the younger generation with “heaps.” So, this phrase literally means “very good.”
It shows that something you have done, eaten or achieved is very, very, very good.
Adults and seniors understand this phrase, but it’s most commonly used by Australians aged 10-20.
Mary: How was your vacation?
John: It was heaps good.
- Fully sick
The word “fully” means “completely” or “entirely.” Aussie’s would say “I fully understand the math equation.” Also the word “sick” just means to the fullest extent.
“Fully sick” means “This is great!” or “very good quality.” Most surfers use this phrase when they talk about the ocean. For example:
John: The surf were fully sick today!
Mary: Fully sick!? How big were they?
John: They were at least 4 foot. Man, I caught so many fully sick waves!
- True Blue
This phrase is one of the most important ones in the Australian vocabulary. It means “the real thing.” The color blue represents loyalty and truth. So the phrase “true blue” describes something as genuine, real and honest.
If you master these Australian English words and phrases, you’ll have no problem speaking to any true blue Australian. They will be happy you studied the culture and language—they’ll definitely invite you to their next barbecue and introduce you to their mates!
Ready to plan your dream vacation?