Terris Little Haven

Retired Nurse | Family Oriented Parent | Living My Best Life In Georgia | Furry Pet Owner | Passionate Blogger | Tiny House Living Owner And Enthusiast


A Beginner’s Guide to Aussie Slang: 10 Tips for New Immigrants

Immigrating to a new country is a significant life event, filled with all sorts of challenges and opportunities. At first, the practicalities of the immigration process, such as securing a visa or residency, will take center stage. Whether that means searching for the best immigration lawyer Melbourne has to offer, obtaining criminal history checks, or filling out endless forms, these practicalities will take up most of your mental energy. 

Once these immediate concerns are addressed, however, there are other aspects of settling in that come into focus. One such aspect – often overlooked but crucial for feeling at home in Australia – is understanding the local lingo. This guide aims to help new immigrants decipher some of the most common Aussie slang terms, aiding in a smoother cultural transition.

1. G’day

This is perhaps the most iconic Australian greeting. It’s short for “good day” but is used any time of the day or night. When someone greets you with a “G’day”, you don’t have to respond in kind. You can if it feels natural, but you can also use whatever greeting you prefer. 

2. Arvo and Sarvo

This is short for “afternoon”. For example, if someone says, “See you this arvo”, they mean they’ll see you in the afternoon. Depending on the person, it may sound more like “See ya sarvo.” Australians tend to run words together, so you’ll need to get used to identifying the blended sounds. 

3. Barbie

No, we’re not talking about the doll here. In Australia, “barbie” is short for barbecue. An invitation to a “barbie” usually involves grilled meat, salads, and good company. So, you’ll generally want to accept!

4. Bottle-O

This term refers to a liquor store. So, if you hear someone say they’re going to the “bottle-o”, they’re probably picking up some drinks.

5. Fair Dinkum

This phrase is used to express truth or genuineness. If someone says, “She’s fair dinkum”, they mean she’s a genuine or honest person. It’s also used in the same way you’d use the question word “Really?” So if you’re surprised by something someone says and want to confirm that it’s true, you can say, “Fair Dinkum?”

6. Maccas

This is the Aussie term for McDonald’s. So, if someone suggests going to “Maccas”, they’re talking about the fast-food chain.

7. Sheila, Missus, and Old Love

This is an old-fashioned term for a woman. While it’s not used as commonly today, you might still hear it in some parts of Australia. Aussies also often refer to their wife or girlfriend as their “missus”. 

“Old love” can refer to any female of any age whose name they don’t know. “Old mate” is used in the same way and can apply to anyone of any age or gender. E.g. “Tell old mate to move his car so I can get into the servo.”

8. Servo

This is short for the service station. If someone says they’re stopping by the “servo”, they’re going to fill up their car with petrol.

9. Thongs

Don’t be alarmed if you hear someone talking about their “thongs” in public. In Australia, “thongs” refer to flip-flops.

10. Ute

This term refers to a pickup truck. The word “ute” is short for “utility vehicle”.

Understanding Aussie slang is a fun and important part of integrating into Australian culture. While it might seem confusing at first, with time, you’ll be speaking like a true blue Aussie. So, next time someone asks you to “bring your thongs to the barbie this “arvo,” you’ll know exactly what they mean!

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