1. “Yeah, nah.”
The first part is a simple acknowledgement that the speaker understands what the other is saying, and that he or she fully grasps the context within the topic. The second part is to establish personal opinion after previously establishing your acknowledgement. To others, you can’t make up your mind.
“What’s a…cap-see-umm?” your British/American/Canadian/not Australian Subway sandwich maker will ask. “Oh, you mean green peppers!”
Yes, the actual word for these is capsicum, but the memo never made it out of New Zealand, India or our fair land. Peppers it is, then. Worst case scenario: just point and grunt.
Shortening every word longer than one syllable is natural linguistics in Australia. The barbeque, which coincidentally was shortened to BBQ to get rid of those pesky five letters when writing texts to mates, will not translate in our native tongue. The anatomically incorrect Mattel toy has more resonance worldwide for “Barbie” than it does for an ‘arvo with mates on a Sunday.
4. Bottle shop
It’s hard enough explaining to others how we got away with a drive-thru alcohol dispenser, considering everyone understands the concept of drink-driving as bad, but using this term conjures up a room full of oddly-shaped glass bottles, with none of God’s nectar in any of them. A bottle shop is usually a supermarket, corner store or bar by any other name.
In times of boredom, bored people or those keen on procrastination will doodle away, sometimes for as long as they can. While it’s basically our childish name for ‘penis’ – others go for ‘dong’ or ‘weeny wee’, splurting out that you’re looking at your doodle will not make anyone else besides you laugh. On the other hand, you can shout it out and no one will care.
In the US, a schooner is the size of a pint – or larger. It’s also known for being a type of ship. It will get you no further in ordering a smaller beer at the bar, but it will make you sound like you’re wishing for a boat at a watering hole. In Europe, you tend to find drinks measured in ‘cl’, or centilitres – such as 33cl, and 50cl. Add a zero, and you have ‘ml’ – millilitres. Hold on, why are you asking for half a pint? This is European beer!
Everyone’s made the mistake of slipping on a good pair of thongs – Carl Barron has a great bit on this – but flip-flops are the right way to talk about double-pluggers. Thongs are for those wanting the bare minimum of waist coverage, and just enough thread to stick out the back of short shorts.
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