Australians Are Explaining What A "Bogan" Is To The Rest Of The World And I'm Cackling
"A well-kept mullet and a packet of smokes, his mates will tell you that he's a real top bloke."
If there's one thing that Australians are known for, it's our colourful and often confusing slang that the rest of the world have no idea about.
One of our most popular slang words has to be "bogan", but with such a flexible definition depending on the context, it's confused expats like u/bellicbrostaxis, who is a Canadian that has been living in northern Victoria for three years.
In a Reddit thread, they described their confusion at the word "bogan" being used to represent several different groups of people.
"I've had multiple incidents of people just screaming at me on the street for no reason, trying to pick fights and generally just being what I would call 'white trash'. My problem is, no one says white trash in Australia. You have the universal term 'bogan' that, in my view, encapsulates your loveable, salt of the earth, true blue, dimwitted, but good-natured Aussies, which I love, but also the mean-spirited assholes who tend to be intolerant, hostile, drug-addicted criminals who are just the worst of the worst."
"Calling someone a bogan doesn't carry the same negative connotation as trash does and anyone exhibiting antisocial behaviours can be immediately absolved by just chocking it up to being bogan."
To help clear things up, they asked Australians to define exactly what a "bogan" is and if it matched up with their explanation. Here's what the Aussies said!
1. "Bogan is an informal class category, but it's more about cultural class (education, tastes, vocab and accent, etc.) rather than economic class. It's not necessarily an ethnic category either, though to some it might come with connotations of whiteness. We don't really have an equivalent of 'white trash'."
2. "Bogan — a term of endearment for a person who is simply living their life. A bit rough around the edges, not usually with the times, somewhat uncultured, but generally friendly. Loves a good swear."
"Derro — someone who either through misfortune or poor decision making is living above their means or below the poverty line. Generally disgruntled at people outside their small circle, though will be okay in short convos. Sees those in a better financial situation as elitists. Durries and grog come before other bills.
Feral — rough, usually acting like everyone owes them something and will actively seek confrontation if in the mood for a fight. The kind of people to swear at old ladies. Usually found in groups to make them seem untouchable. Does not give a fuck about society or those around them that they affect. Definitely spits gollies in public places.
Drop-kick — good for one thing only.
Adding 'fucking' into any of these creates a negative effect."
3. "A lot of people seem to have confused 'bogan' and 'yobbo'. To put it another way, Kath and Kim are bogans, but they're not yobbos (or ferals or derros for that matter)."
5. "It’s a mentality and behaviourism thing. It's not bound by race or socioeconomic status (though the majority are indeed lower to middle income). I'd say it's closer to 'ghetto' as an insult over 'trash', which would be what we Aussies would call a 'derro'. You can be wealthy/rich, but still act and talk like a bogan."
"Crude and/or crass, generally set in a close-minded mentality that's on the regressive side, heavy into sports and sinking the piss. If they have money, it falls into nouveau riche — the Kardashians would be bogans for sure."
6. "Bogan is the Schrödinger's cat of Australian sociology; unobserved, a bogan is both a good and honest, salt of the Earth individual who deprecates their own worth and aspires only to be comfortable in their own simple existence without the need to worry about the plight of others, lest it rock their simple but comfortable life.
"[They're also an] easy-to-anger victim of a world out to get them specifically, endlessly in search of validation of their antisocial and completely selfish behaviour, knowing every good thing that comes their way they are owed and everything bad that comes their way is because some other cunt just has a problem and can't leave shit alone, ya know?"
7. "Being a bogan means you drive a Commodore or Falcon, drink VB and wear flannel. It doesn't mean you're a dickhead. Though plenty of people like that are dickheads, but plenty of BMW drivers or craft beer drinkers are dickheads too."
8. "He's the king of fashion in his neighbourhood with his ripped blue jeans and a flannelette shirt."
10. "His real name is Darren, but his friends call him Dazza. His girl's name is Sharon, but you just call her Shazza."
11. "A well-kept mullet and a packet of smokes, his mates will tell you that he's a real top bloke."
12. "Flannel wearing, bricklaying, VB drinking, cigarette smoking, AC/DC listening, Holden/Ford ute driving, wholesome individual."
14. "Bogans are salt of the Earth, kind and loveable people. At the same time, they can be raging, drunken racists with no self-control, who'll yell out the window at random people as they drive down the street."
"There's bogans that are uncultured but nice, and bogans that are dickheads."
15. "In the late '80s and early '90s, it used to be a term of endearment — more associated with larrikins, kinda like Poida. I don't think people used to be offended being called a bogan as much, maybe a tiny bit embarrassed and perhaps associated with fashion sense just as much as behaviour. It definitely has negative connotations now. It's almost synonymous with white trash."
16. "I've always seen bogan as a more derogatory term. There's the old, true blue, Akubra wearing, always ready to give you a hand Aussie stereotype that I think has been overlapped with the word bogan in the past. But I consider those people as more larrikin than bogan."
"Characteristics of a bogan (obviously generalised, but you're not gonna find a bogan who doesn't fulfil at least four of these dot points):
• Low socioeconomic status, lives in a unit or dilapidated house.
• Strong, harsh Aussie accent.
• Limited vocab, uses 'youse' instead of 'you'.
• Throws loud parties/plays loud music (especially when camping).
• Lots of cars in their front yard for whatever reason. Bonus points if there's a couch on their front verandah.
• Drives a Ford Falcon, Commodore or a ute of some kind. Possibly all three.
• Goes out in public wearing ugg boots and trackies in winter (usually women) and/or thongs in summer (both men and women).
• Big family.
• Likes a chat and a laugh and generally open with strangers."
17. "The only true Bogan in my eyes is Poida from Full Frontal. He is the quintessential Bogan."
Note: Reddit responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.