14 Words You’ll Start Saying When You Move to Australia

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G’day Mate.  How ya going!? 

I’ve been living in Australia for about one month now, and it’s weird how quickly I’ve been able to adapt to the local vocabulary.  I love the Australian accent, and sometimes saying these words may sound wierd without it , but I’ve still picked up quite a few.  If there’s one main rule about “speaking Australian” is that you basically just try to shorten every word as much as possible.  It’s pretty fun, and actually correlates with the culture here; laidback, relaxed, and focused on having good times.

If you move to Australia, definitely plan on adding these to your vocabulary. 


To start off with the list, I got to mention that it’s rare to even hear an Australian pronounce their full country name.  I often catch myself pronouncing every letter in Australia, and quickly realize how that’s not necessary.  Just shorten it to STRAYA!


Coming from America, the only situation we ever say “cheers” is at the beginning of sharing a round of drinks.  That is definitely NOT THE CASE in Australia.  We say CHEERS for so many different social scenario’s.  It’s a way of saying thanks, understanding, drinking, and also a way of saying hello and goodbye.



Might quite possible be the most obvious one on the list — when you move to Straya, you’re going to start saying mate.  You can try to fight it, but it’s going to happen.  I’ve already caught myself send it in Facebook messages to friends back in the States, and they were to quick to laugh and judge me for the use of this vocabulary addition.


Short for afternoon.  It’s that simple.  It goes back to the cardinal rule of Australian language.  Why would you say the whole word for afternoon when you can just say “arvo” in half the time.  “Oi mate, how ya going this arvo?”


Australians use the word “heaps”….well, HEAPS.  I’ve slowly stopped saying “a lot”, “many”, “hella”, and “tons”.  All of these words have been swapped with HEAPS.



The only way I used to say loose was if I was referring to a promiscuous girl (cue Timbaland music), or if an article didn’t fit right.  It didn’t take to long to realize that in Australia, loose has an additional meaning.  To put it simply, it means getting “drunk”, “wild”, and “out of control”.  For example, “last weekend Hamish got so loose, it was hilarious”.


Another word that might be well known around the world, but is never really used in American English.  When you’re around people saying it enough though, you’ll find yourself adding it into your diction.  “There’s no way I’m going out tonight, I’m knackered from working all day”.


This is just a short and fun word for “sunglasses”.  I think this one will stick with me for life.



Are you interested in going…?  “Yeah, I’m keen”.  This word basically means you’re down for something.  You’re interested.  You’re KEEN AS.


The first couple times I heard this, I had no idea what people meant.  But I did quickly learn that no one ever calls “McDonald’s by it’s full name!  If you’re looking for a BigMac, head on over to Macca’s!


You NEVER go for “breakfast”.  You just gotta shorten the word, and add a “Y”!


This one is specifically for me because I had red-hair, freckles, and pale skin — A.K.A — I’m a “Ginger”.  Australians do use the term Ginger as well, but of course they have created another term for us red-headed folk.  They call us “rangas”.  Which is short for…Orangutan!


Last but not least — arguably the harshest word in the English language, “Cunt” is used much more often here in Australia.  Coming from America (or anywhere else in the world), it can be a shock at first.  As an example, I even heard this word used in advertisement for a TV show!  I know just because you move here doesn’t mean you’ll start saying it, but I couldn’t make a list like this and not include this favorite Aussie swear word.

Check out the video to understand this a bit more!

Think I’m missing any words?  Let me know!

Share with your Aussie mates and backpacker friends!

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13 replies
  1. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    Haha I KNEW cheers, mate, and cunt would have to be on here… Haven’t been to Straya but have spent my fair share partying with Strayans in Europe ? Love this post! Cheers!

  2. Emily Hanks
    Emily Hanks says:

    haha yes these are all so true! I studied abroad in Australia during university, and I still have to stop myself from saying some of these around people from the US since they either have no idea what I’m talking about, or they hard core make fun of me. It’s been so nice being in the UK for the past month and a half, as I can actually use several of these without looking like an ass ;). Great post!

    • Jones
      Jones says:

      Yeah if I go back home to California and call people “mate” there will definitely be some judgment! haha. Yeah, a lot of these play out just fine in the UK. : ) Thanks for the comment!

  3. Ryan Biddulph
    Ryan Biddulph says:

    Wow on the C word Jones. Crazy. When we went through Sydney the kid at McD’s noted serving chips with my burger. Cheap guys I thought, serving potato chips with burgers. Strange too. Until I found out they were fries. Way neat post, thanks for sharing.


    • Jones
      Jones says:

      Haha yeah it’s a bit harsh I know! But it’s weird how it’s not that big of a deal here. It gets thrown around so much, lol. Glad you like the post man. Hope all is well in paradise : )

  4. Dharmendar Rai | institute for digital marketing
    Dharmendar Rai | institute for digital marketing says:


    hehe yes these are all so genuine! I concentrated abroad in Australia amid college, regardless I need to prevent myself from saying some of these around individuals from the US since they either have no clue what I’m discussing, or they no-nonsense ridicule me. It’s been so pleasant being in the UK for as far back as month and a half, as I can really utilize a few of these without resembling an ass..

    • Jones
      Jones says:

      Haha yeah seriously! If I go back to the States and say the word “mate” as much as I do here, my friends will completely judge the hell outta me! lol.

  5. Kam
    Kam says:

    Few others include: bludger, dole, peanut butter trail rider, starvin, chips, barbie ( bbq), maggotted,

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