- Here is a list of Australian words that might be confusing to Americans. These are all things we have heard used in common speech.
- Apples - as in "She'll Be Apples"
"It Will Be Okay" - an expression implying that some work currently being undertook will be finished in a way beneficial to the parties involved. Also, possibly, meaning, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" without the musical connection.
See "Use In Anger"
The Afternoon - "I'll meet you in the arvo"
Canadian Bacon - Sliced pig meat that comes from a slightly different part of the pig than American bacon. It does not crisp up until it is burnt. When you order a bacon cheese burger at Hungry Jacks, you get a ham sandwich / burger combination. You can buy American Bacon from some butchers.
- Banana Bender
A Queenslader - a person from Queensland. Mildly insulting. About the equivalent of "Yank" for an American.
A container - generally for trash unless specifically prefixed by some other bin type, e.g. a storage bin.
A female without connotation to prestige, fairness or age.
A Cookie - unless it is a chocolate chip cookie, in which case it is a cookie, and not a chocolate chip biscuit. Cremes are cookies of the Oreo variety with a creme filling.
Small Pieces - as in "pick up the bits", the phrase "pick up the pieces" is not used.
Male, Man, Guy, Dude - A general term for an adult male or a male in his late teens. Not as friendly as "Mate" and generally used in the third person as in "That Bloke just spit on my car."
Trunk - specifically used when describing a car - the rear storage area.
Hood - specifically used when describing a car - the cover over the engine.
Suspenders (see Suspenders)
Mustang - a wild horse
The Home Depot of Australia. They often host Sausage Sizzles.
Pharmacist or Drug Store - either the person or the shop itself.
Drink Mix - Kool Aid and other powdered drink mixes are not found here. Instead you purchase liquid drink concentrate called a cordial.
Lawn Grass - rhymes with "pooch". This is a hardy, short grass that has branches that run along the ground. This does not have the vulgar slang meaning as the word does in the U.S., but saying "I need something that will kill the weeds on the front garden, but won't hurt my couch" still makes me blush.
A scone or small bread ball. Think of the cheddar biscuits at Red Lobster.
Chips - as in Potato Chips (or any similar type food)
A cup of coffee - as in "would like to stop for a cuppa"
A way to address an unknown child - same meaning as in the U.S., but actually used here informally.
- Dickey Bow
A bow tie - mainly an British term.
A woman. Generally old or unattractive.
Appetizer, before a meal.
Deductible - the amount that you pay for repairs before an insurance claim is paid.
Expiration - as in the expiry date is an expiration date
- Fancy Dress
- Fancy Dress Party
Costume Party - these are not held only at Halloween.
- Fancy Dress Shop
A Costume Shop - where you can purchase or rent a costume.
- Fairy Bread
No American Translation - White (Wonder) bread covered with butter and bright colored sprinkles (see Hundreds and Thousands)
- Fairy Floss
Cotton Candy - A spun sugar confection. Fairy floss traditionally has vanilla flavoring.
Female Genitalia - for Fanny Pack, use the term "Bum Bag"
- Foot Path
Sidewalk - Concrete pathway either in front of your house or through a park.
- Flat White
Coffee with a LOT of Cream - like a latte, but without foam (that's the "flat" part).
Australian Rules Football - Or possibly Soccer or Rugby (League or Union). It really depends on who you're talking to. It does not refer to American Football, which is called Grid Iron.
Two Weeks - a contraction of Fourteen Nights.
A hot dog - though not quite the same thing in the U.S. sense. These are like the Ambassador Sausages with a slight red coloring. Generally this term applies to the meat. In a bun it is a hot dog (but a sausage in a hot dog bun may also be called a hot dog by some).
Howdy, Hi There, Hello - a term used in greeting another person. This is not said as a good bye (as in "Have a g'day", in this case you would say "Have a good day").
Lawn or Yard. It is not just the grass, but the landscaping as well. It may include a verge.
Natural Gas - used as a motor vehicle fuel (as in the U.S.). Here Gasoline is called "Petrol" and not "Gas". Telling the clerk at the petrol station that you have $50 in gas might have you paying for the wrong pump. You probably had $50 in petrol.
A slingshot. These are illegal to carry as a concealed weapon I am told.
Good For You - both in a "You did a good job" sense and a "lucky for you" sense. I cleaned the coffee machine at work and was told "good on you".
- Grid Iron
American Football - As played by the American Football League.
To Rent - a Hire Shop is a rental shop.
- Hot Chips
- Hundreds and Thousands
Sprinkles - as in the colorful bits of sugar you might put on a doughnut or ice cream.
- Hungry Jacks
Burger King - at one point there were both Burger King and Hungry Jacks restaurants (though only Hungry Jacks in W.A.). At some point in the past the change was made to exclusively Hungry Jacks.
A cowboy and a brand of pick-up truck
Jelly - sweet mashed up fruit, spread on toast or a sandwich. Jelly has a different meaning here.
Gelatin / Jell-o. Because this has a different meaning, the Australians can be grossed out by the idea of a classic Peanut Butter and JELLY sandwich, though Bill Cosby might like it. See Jam.
A light jacket or sweater - not to be confused with a summer dress worn in the U.S. Men wear jumpers to work - kids and women wear them too.
- Kilo / Kilogram
Two Pounds (approximately)
- Krausky Sausage
Kielbasa - or Polish Country Sausage (not common usage in either country)
- Lady Finger
A small banana - they look like plantains, but are much sweeter.
Sprite or 7-Up like Soda Pop. A carbonated, sweetened lemon flavored drink.
- Lemon Mash
Lemonaide - a sweet, uncarbonated drink made from lemons. See Cordial.
Candy - of any sort. This is not limited to lollipops. A Jolly Rancher is a lolly.
- Long Black
A coffee drink - basic black coffee with no hit of sexual connotation.
McDonalds - the fast food chain. this restaurant just turned 40 in
IN the U.S., the entre or the main part of the meal. The main course.
Man, Dude, Buddy, Pal - An informal friendly (generally) way of addressing a person, whether or not you know their actual name.
Hour devours in an informal sense.
Diapers - for children.
- Nigel (Nigel No Friends)
Loner - something off on its own. Every heard of cows has a Nigel Cow, one that is off by itself.
Excuse me or say again (as in the U.S., but actually used here in common language)
Person with whom you are in a long-term relationship - this MAY be a spouse, but not necessarily. Australians have only around a 50% or lower marriage rate. Partners are given benefits and may be of the same gender.
Gasoline. Gas is a different product (natural gas) which is also purchased at a petrol station.
- Petrol Station
A Gas Station - you can also buy Gas at a Gas Station, but it is not the same as Gas in the U.S. - it is Natural Gas.
- Piss Taking
Provoking, teasing or chiding
Coitus - slang. As a verb to describe the general act. Also as a noun for your intimate partner.
When describing the path one takes between two points, use route (rhyming with shout). You CHEER for a sports team. The things on the bottom of a plant are roots as well, but in context you don't get people snickering.
A Sport Game - Similar to baseball, but played with cricket equipment.
- Royal Show
The State Fair - held in early October in Western Australia
Trash or garbage (as in the US). Trash is less commonly used in Australia as a term for discarded items.
- Rubbish Bin
A Garbage Can
Lettuce - I would like a sandwich with salad, means that you would like green leafy vegetables on your sandwich. Also can mean a salad in the American sense - as in a side to a meal.
Same as in America - a scarf is used to show support for a footy team. You wear a scarf with your teams name and colors on it to show support.
A female. Generally used without regard to age, but a slight implication of a common person not, for example, a lady, which is more polite.
- Shopping Center
A Mall. Don't call them Malls.
A Crescent Wrench
Similar to a hot dog and used when only describing the meat. May be called a hot dog (some disagree on this point) if served like a hot dog on a bun.
- Sausage Sizzle
Hot Dog Cooking - Generally seen as a fund raiser, like a Smelt Fry. Often stores (like Bunnings) will have a Sausage Sizzle right outside the door with the proceeds going to some charity that mans the booth. Compare with the Coke Hot dog Stands outside of a Cub Foods on a Saturday when it is nice out.
Garters - as in the underwear that holds up stockings.
Thanks - an informal way of saying "thank you" for some small favor, like holding open a door.
- Tasty Cheese
Cheddar Cheese - only without the orange coloring. It is white like mozzarella.
Flip Flops - open-top informal footwear worn to the beach or pool.
- Use In Anger
To use something well or to its fullest extent. I have only heard about this in the context of technology. This is opposed to tinkering with some technology for fun or on an open source project.
A pick-up truck. A shortened form of Utility Vehicle. Originally a vehicle like an El Dorado, but now more generically applied.
Vegetibles. As in "Eat your veg"
No American Translation - A brown veritable-based paste made by Kraft that is spread on buttered toast as a breakfast food. The key to enjoying Vegemite as an American is to put excess amounts of butter on the toast and then spread the Vegemite on as thinly as humanly possible and proceeding to eat the entire thing before your body has a chance to react. Although it is not made from powdered dried toad and mixed with a flavorless toothpaste, it looks and tastes like it might have been.
Easement - The strip of land between the sidewalk and the road that is maintained by the property owner, but owned by the city. It is common for people to park on the verge in Australia, which is nearly unheard of in the States.
Western Australia - the largest state in Australia - it takes the West third of the continent and is rich in mineral resources. It is not pronounced "wa", but rather the letters W.A.
- Wheelie Bin
A garbage can on wheels - like the kind you might have for your weekly garbage collection.
- Wind Screen
Windshield - specifically for use in cars.
- Winding Up
To provoke. The result of winding someone up is that they are all wound up. See Piss Taking.
An American or one who acts like one. Often you might be asked if you are Canadian rather than being asked if you are a Yank - mainly because Canadians can be offended if you ask them if they are a Yank, but generally the opposite is not true.Z
Zee - The last letter of the alphabet.