Posts Tagged ‘slang’


It’s hard to believe, but I have been living in Australia for a little over 2 years now. Where has all the time gone? It has taken some work, but I do believe I am finally getting the hang of living here.

Father knows best

In my opinion , Oz is a lot like America in the 1950’s, only tech savvy.  It’s a much slower pace most of the time, everyone is very friendly, and you can take most people at their word. The Aussie motto is “No worries Mate”, and they mean it. When I first got here, even though it is a different country, for me there was only a little culture shock.  Thanks to the fact that Australia is an English-speaking country (for the most part) and the fact that we get a lot of American TV here, Oz is a lot like the States.  Most Aussies could understand me, I just had to work on understanding what they were saying. Besides the Aussie accent, they do have their own lingo here that was rather confusing to me, until Gene, my own private personal interpreter, would translate.


The first time I heard that a man was “nursing” a child, I thought for sure Aussie men were very different from regular men.  I wanted to see this special male breastfeed a baby.  As it turned out, in Oz, to be “nursing” someone means you are taking care of them.



Since we are on the topic of babies, a nappy is a diaper, not a short amount of sleep, and asking a baby about his/her dummy is not a question about their intellect, but instead a discussion about their pacifier.

parramatta club

If we are going to a hotel, in most cases that means we are going to a pub to drink, but it can also mean a place we could get a room for the night.  A “club” is not only for dancing, like it is in the States, but instead it is the Aussie version of a VFW hall, only a whole lot better.

slot machine

They always have a café, and most have “poker machines”, or “pokies”, which are what Americans call slot machines. I am not really a fan of these clubs, but Gene really loves them. You can get a really cheap meal, but in my opinion, all the food in all the clubs are all the same.

WildLife Place 021

Since my move here, we have had only one visitor from the States, and that was my BFF Mary, from Detroit.  In her infinite wisdom, she summed up Oz in one word.  Adequate. This is the perfect word to describe Australia.  I am not saying that being adequate is a bad thing.  Aussies get just what they need, and usually no more.  That is one reason we go food shopping 3 to 4 times a week. Why buy extra when you can make another trip to the store and get it fresh?

Unit sweet Unit

Unit sweet Unit

A lot of things are much smaller than I was used to.  Take housing.  This is a photo of our “unit”, or townhouse. There are a lot of “units” (or apartments, condos, or townhouses) everywhere, and they keep building more.  There are single family homes, but the majority of them are what we in America would call small.  Like us, it is very common to have only a one car garage, (not a 1 ½ car) even if you are a two car family.  I just want to know where they keep all their stuff.  One of Gene’s sisters’ lives in what I call an “American” house. For Aussie standards, it is large, with big front and back yards. I say it is just about right.

macca's sign

Their serving size are also much smaller here.  A large drink at “Macca’s” (pronounced mack-ers) would be considered a small in America.


I had to get use to everyone driving on the wrong side of the road, and all the roundabouts.  It is very strange to sit in the front seat of a car on the left side, and not have a steering wheel in front of me.  I have driven a little here, and I am not a fan of how narrow most of the lanes are. Again, the adequate thing. I keep saying I just need to get out there and practice, but for once in my life, I am enjoying having my own personal chauffeur. I just can’t get Gene to wear the little hat that goes with the uniform.



When I’m asked what I miss most about the US, my first answer is always Taco Bell. Yeah, I know.  It should be family and friends, which I do miss, but I also miss the fact that I can’t just go through the drive thru any time of the day or night to get one of my favorite foods.  I have reserved myself to the fact that Oz is not a place for Mexican food, so I make it at home when I get a craving to make a run for the border.  I do Skype with my family and friends, so in some cases, I talk to them more now than I did when I lived there.

tomato sauce


Oz tom sauce

Another thing I miss is being able to find certain things in the stores.  One example is tomato sauce.  To an Aussie, tomato sauce is ketchup, and American tomato sauce does not exist in Oz. To compromise, I’ve learned to substitute tomato puree instead.

I also miss the fact that not every store gives you a bag for your purchases.


One thing that I will never understand, is their electrical outlets, or what they call power points.  For some reason they turn off the power points when they are not in use.  I am assuming that Aussies think the power may leak out when they are not looking, so they turn them off.

T2 006

They have wonderful tea shops that I frequent quite a bit, and my tea collection has grown to 60+ teas.  Aussies still look at me funny when I tell them my drink of choice is Ice tea, but I am hopeful that one day they will realize that they there are other ways to have your tea besides white (with milk) or  black (no milk).

rainbow lor.

Cockie & bridge


I also love the fact that there are beautiful animals here.  There are all kinds of birds all over the place, and my favorites are the rainbow lorikeets, and the cockatoos.

All dressed up for that night out!

All dressed up for that night out!

I also love the fact that fairy penguins also call Oz home.  They are the closest thing to a munchkin here, so they fit right in.

Koala Park 17

One of the things I really enjoy doing is going to some of the wildlife parks, and have lunch with some of my truly Aussie friends.  That’s something I never got to do in America.

winter car

Some things I don’t miss are having to be at work, and bad weather. Sydney has pretty mild weather, and never gets snow, so that makes me a VERY happy camper.  When I moved here, I was thrown into an early retirement, because I was not allowed to work.


Now I spend my days doing what I want to do, and not what a boss thinks I should do.  I like this way much better. Here’s a photo of me and the girls at one of the knitting groups I belong to.



Nice weather makes taking public transport not seem like a bad thing.  Instead of driving a car, I do take the buses and ferries to get where I’m going, and I also do my fair share of walking. I guess now that I have the time, I don’t mind leaving the car at home.  That would have never happened back in the States.  That, or living in a house without a heating system.  Even when I lived in Las Vegas, smack dab in the middle of a desert, we had a furnace, and we used it.  Here, we don’t have one…  Yet.

Fiji 169

I gave Gene one winter to see if I could handle it being cold in the house, and the answer is no.  So to put off getting a heating system this year, Gene is taking me on trips while it’s winter here. I must admit I like his way of thinking.

I have gotten use to this lifestyle, and I will be the first to admit, I am really enjoying it here.  It is a slower pace, everyone is laid back, and it is a very peaceful place to live.  I do miss America at times, but that’s what the airlines are for. For now I plan on staying here as long as possible, and enjoying my new life.  Gene and I do love to have visitors use our guest room, so if you are so inclined, feel free to plan a trip down under. We would love to show you around all the places that are on my “What to show visitors” list.  And if you’re lucky, my truly Aussie friends or our munchkins will fit you into their busy schedules.


No worries Mate


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Living in a different country can take a little getting used to at times.  When you want something that you are used to, and just can’t find it here, it can be a little frustrating.

The three things that come to mind are Taco Bell, (my Favorite place to eat) NyQuil, (my favorite nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, best-sleep-you-ever-got-with-a-cold medicine), and tomato sauce. You do what you can to get the fix for the things you miss. I cook Mexican at home but it’s nowhere near what the bell offers, substitute purée for tomato sauce, and I smuggle NyQuil back to Oz in my checked luggage when I make trips to the States.

Christmas morning in Oz!

One great thing though, just like Christmas morning,  there is always something new to discover.  Besides kangaroos and koalas, Oz has quite a few pretty nifty things that I have not found in America as of yet.

Remember how Goldilocks broke into the 3 bears’ house and ate all their breakfast?  Well, the story must have taken place in Oz, because we have porridge here.  Yes, honest to goodness porridge.  I will admit that it is a lot like oatmeal, but it is different, and taste really good.   Instead of just oats, it’s made from a hearty blend of oats, barley, rye, and linseed. I will admit though, when I have it for breakfast, I do keep an eye out for mama bear, just in case.

Now I know that hamburgers are as American as, well hamburgers, but the Aussies put a little different twist on them.  In a lot of the little dinners that are all over the place, you can get a burger with “The Works” which is short for “Works and Jerks” which is an Aussie expression that is used around here quite a bit. (It means the whole enchilada) What you get is a hamburger patty on a bun that has bacon, tomato, lettuce, tomato sauce (that’s what Aussies call ketchup), fried onions, aioli (a garlic mayonnaise which is really good), beetroot (or just beets in American), a fried egg, and a  slice of pineapple.  If you want cheese on that, it will be “Tasty” cheese, which is Aussie white cheddar.  As with almost every other meal, chips, or what Americans call fries, usually come with the meal. I have had more than one of these wonderful burgers, and I will admit that like their cheese, they are quite tasty.

Now not to be outdone, McDonald’s has gotten into the act. Like everywhere else in the world, Australia does have McDonald’s.(Which by the way is called “Macca’s” pronounced “mack-a’s)  Being the Savvy business-clown that Ronald is, he likes to cater to his customers. Since Australia is the leading producer of wool in the world, we have a lot of sheep here.  So, Aussies tend to eat a lot of lamb. Therefore, it only makes sense to have lamb on the menu.  What doesn’t make sense is that they don’t call it the McLamb.  They call their lamb burger a “Lamb Taster”, and it’s a really big seller here in Oz.  The only things missing are the pineapple, cheese, and bacon. And the wool coat of course.

They also have a Lamb Taster wrap for those times when you have a craving for just a little lamb instead of a whole sheep.

Another great meal is a kebab, which is sort of like a Turkish burrito. They cook beef, chicken, and lamb on huge spits, and shave the meat off as orders are placed. The kebabs usually have meat, cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce, tabouli, sauce, (like ketchup, BBQ, hummus, or my favorite, garlic) all wrapped up in flat Turkish bread, and then grilled in a sandwich press.  It is a lot like a Gyro, but having it all wrapped up, it’s a lot easier to eat.

Sweets are a big deal here in Oz.  The unofficial national dessert of Australia is Pavlova, which is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian/Australian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. Way back in the 1920’s, a New Zealand chef created the dish for Anna during one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand.  It is Very sweet, and the Aussies just love it.  It is way too sweet for my taste, but they are very pretty to look at.

Seeing how Aussies are really into really sweet desserts, (that would be my guess as to why they call them “sweets” instead of desserts), their version of Aussie apple pie makes perfect sense.  They have what is known as apple charlotte.  Basically, it’s apple pie with frosting on the top crust.

Again, not my favorite, but Gene just loves it.

Now, we must not leave the kiddies out.   Here they have what is known as Fairy Bread, but don’t let the name fool you.  Kids take this bread VERY seriously.  So serious in fact, that restaurants are even serving it.  If you are short of your daily requirement of fat and sugar, this is a great way to get it into your system and build your levels up.

What they do is spread butter on bread (pretty thick I might add), then put some kind of sugar sprinkles (or “hundreds and thousands” in Aussie speak) on top of the butter.  I recall a long time ago, my mother made me some of this type of bread, but we just called it “The bread with all the pretty colored sprinkles on it” bread.  When I asked where the peanut butter and jelly was, all I got was a weird look.  Seems they don’t have those kinds of sandwiches here.  They will have either peanut butter, OR jelly (or as they call it, jam) sandwiches, and they think it’s gross to mix the two. Wonder what they would think of peanut butter and banana sandwiches….

Need something to wash down all these Aussie finds?  How about a cup of bubble tea?  Being a tea drinker, I thought I had heard of most kinds of tea before.  This was one I hadn’t, so I had to try it. There are only a few places that sell it, but there is one stand at the mall that carries them.  It is a Thai drink, and this is one place that they sell fresh brewed ice tea.  You pick what type of ice tea you want, and then they add the bubbles.

The “bubbles” are really tapioca pearls, and can be a lot of different colors, but so far, I have only seen them in black.  The straw is really fat, so you have no trouble sucking up the bubbles while you are drinking your tea.  I will admit that this tea can be a lot of work because the bubbles are rather chewy, but it is good.  This was the first time I ever had chunky-style ice tea.

So, as you can see, I am adapting quite well. I am finding new things to love, and trying to find replacements for the things I can’t find here.  If  I don’t find replacements, I can load up when we make our yearly trip back to the States.  As for now, I hear the fairies calling, so I must stop to make them some bread.  Now where did I put those hundreds and thousands ….

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Even though I am a foreigner living in strange land, the fact that English is the national language in Australia makes life a lot easier than if I moved to say, France.  I speak the language, sort of, and most Aussies understand what I am trying to get across to them on the first try. When I first came to this wonderful country, I will admit that I did have some trouble understanding some of the Aussies because of their accents.  Now keep in mind that most of them thought MY accent was really neat.  I tried to explain that since I was from the Midwest, I don’t have an accent.  Aussies do.  Speaking like someone from the Midwest is the perfect way to speak because it is very easy to understand. It is classified as a “non-accent.” According to professional broadcasters, it is known as “Newscaster accent” or “Television English”.


As proof, I bring up the fact that Walter Cronkite spoke in this non-accent.  Now who wouldn’t believe “The most trusted man in America”?  The only response I would get is “Walter who?”, and a look of “Let the American think what she wants. She’s the one with the cute accent.”  I have since learned that there is no way I will be able to enlighten all of Oz by myself on this subject, so I have just dropped the it. I have decided that this is just one battle not worth the fight.

Like any new area that you may find yourself in, you will hear expressions that are very common.  For Oz, that would be things like, “G’Day mate,” “How ya goin’ Mate?” and “No worries.”  This type of slang is easy to figure out even if you have never heard it before.

Once you get in with the locals, you will begin to hear all kinds of sayings that you never knew existed. After a while, I noticed some patterns emerging.  When Gene introduced me to some of his sons, I noticed that all of their names ended with an O.  I thought that this was a family thing, but I was informed that they did have regular names, but often times Aussies will add an “O,” or a “y” to the end of names.   Kevo, one of Gene’s sons, informed me that in Oz, my wonderful new husband Gene, is known as Geno. Kevo’s brothers Davo and Stevo whole heartily agreed. Thoughts of high school locker rooms ran through my mind, but I just let it go. I soon found out that there was a lot more to the changing of words than just names.  Aussies will shorten words, then add a “y” (or an ie) to them, making them what I call “cutesy.” One Aussie expression that Americans have heard (Thanks to Crocodile Dundee), is “Shrimp on the barbie.”  A barbie is a BBQ, but a real Aussie would put some kind of thick juicy meat on it, not shrimp, or as they would call them, prawns.

Mackers breakfast

In the morning, you eat “Brekkie,” and will get a strange look if you call it breakfast.

Calling the TV the “telly” makes me think I’m in England, but call it what you will, just like in the states, there is nothing on  worth watching most of the time.

When you go swimming, you don’t wear a bathing suit, you wear a “Cossie.”  It is short for bathing costume, and if you are a male, you usually wear your “budgy smuggler” under your Cossie to make sure your “budgies” don’t get loose, or fly away so to speak (wink wink wink).

Apparently, the Aussies have no idea how silly they sound at times.  Like Americans, they are huge sports fans, and take their sports very seriously. They play rugby here, which is sort of like the Aussie version of American football.  Only here it is called footy.  Yeah, you read it right.  Footy.  I thought it was a joke, but it’s very serious business.

Most of the players are big manly men, but they still cute it up and call it footy.

Yeah Team!

I just wanted to know if they had the players double as cheerleaders when they had to sit on the bench and wait their turn to play.

Last month we made one of our 4 yearly trips up north to see Geno’s son Mikey and his family. While we were on the road, a bunch of Aussie Hell’s Angels passed us.

A real Aussie Hell's Angel

I was very surprised and impressed to see that the grand daddy of all biker gangs had a branch here in Oz. It is a known fact that you can’t get anymore bad-ass than a Hell’s Angel.  Or so I thought.  Geno informed me that people who ride motorcycles are known as “Bikeys” in Oz.  Here you have a big burly biker type of guy that looks like he would kill you if you so much as looked at him wrong, and he calls himself a “Bikey.”

To me it sounds like all they needed is a pink leather jacket and a poodle skirt to wear on their way to the quilting bee.

Sandra Dee wanna be

I have also noticed that they have what I consider an obsession with bodily functions.  If you are a “Pisspot,” that means you get drunk a lot.  If you are pissed, you are either mad, or drunk.  If you are “pissed as a fart, nute, or parrot” that means you are drunk.  But then again, you may be “full as a goog,” which means you are drunk (What a surprise!)   Then again, if you “take the piss,” that means you are mocking someone. If you are not strong, you are “as weak as piss.”  (I have no idea how strong Aussie piss is.  Must be pretty strong due to all the beer they drink) If something is easy to do, it is “easy, peasy,” or “a piece of piss.” If you don’t want someone to annoy you, you tell him or her “Don’t give me the shits.”  If you screw up, you would say “Struth” instead of “Aw Shit!” So, as you can see, they are into bodily functions.  And drinking. And I didn’t even tell you about all the dirty sayings.

Now not all of their slang has to do with the body.  A power point is not a window’s program.  It is an Aussie power outlet.  A queue (pronounced “Q”) is not a letter, but a line you get to stand in.  When you order your tea or coffee, they want to know if you want it black or white.  In other words, do you want it with or without milk.  While you are at it, you might as well order a biscuit to have with your tea.  A biscuit is usually almost anything that is sweet to eat, like a cookie.  But then again, crackers are also considered biscuits.  What we know as biscuits in the US, don’t exist here except for dogs.

Not the king in Oz

The name Burger King was already spoken for over here, so we have Hungry Jacks instead, and McDonald’s is called Mackers by the locals. When you order your meal, they will only give you one serviette (an Aussie napkin) instead of a whole mess of them because most Aussies don’t really use them. (I’ve watched a lot of Aussies eat, and I still don’t know how most of them don’t use a napkin)

One of my favorite sayings by far is “Fair Dinkum” (dink-um).  It means, “Truth, it’s actual.”  If Walt Disney was an Aussie, I’m sure he would change the name of his theme song for his parks from “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” to “Fair Dinkum.”  Everyone uses this phrase a lot, and just like the kangaroo, its part of the culture. I have even heard little kids saying it.

So for the most part, I have gotten used to the Aussie accent, and most of the slang.  Occasionally a new word will pop up that I don’t understand, but that’s what I have my Geno for.  He’s my own personal interpreter. I have even been known to use some of this slang myself.  The last time I was at Starbucks, I ordered my tea white, and asked for extra serviettes to go with my biscuit.  So, to quote Lily Tomlin as Edith Ann, “And that’s Fair Dinkum. PPPPPHHHHHHHHHHHH.”

Edith Ann

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