Americans Try To Guess The Meaning Of Australian Words

“Most of what I know about Australia I learned from Finding Nemo.”

BuzzFeed Australia sent our US colleagues Sam and Kristin a list of common Australian words to see if they could figure out their meanings. Turns out they’ve got a thing or two to learn.

Kristin: Cool, let’s start with aggro.
Sam: I thought aggro was, like, a hillbilly farmer.
Kristin: That’s wonderful.
Actual definition: Aggro. Short for aggressive, used to describe someone who is really angry, e.g., “This guy ran into my car and I got so aggro.”

Sam: Arvo is like a wild Australian aardvark.
Kristin: I thought it was, like, short for announcing that you are arriving. Like, I am arvo. I AM ARVO.
Sam: Wait I can see that. It’s sassy, and classy!
Kristin: And when you leave, you are like, I AM OVRA.
Sam: Yup. Sounds about right.
Kristin: NAILED IT.
Actual definition: Arvo. Short for afternoon, e.g., “Yeah I’ll get it done this arvo.”

Sam: Bloke is totally a dude, right? Bloke is like THAT guy. Everyone knows at least one bloke.
Kristin: Bloke is basically the same as dude. It’s like a bro. You bloke out.
Sam: I feel like it is sort of condescending in a way?
Kristin: Like you’re saying, “THIS asshole.”
Sam: Yup exactly.
Actual definition: Bloke. A man, e.g., “He’s a top bloke.”

Kristin: What is a bludger? I feel like that’s a Quidditch thing.
Sam: I mean, there is the Harry Potter version. We all read Harry Potter. STOP TRYING TO FOOL US, AUSSIES.
Kristin: We have books here too, Australia.
Actual definition: Bludger. A lazy person, e.g., “Get off Facebook and do some work, ya bludger.”

Kristin: OK, what is a bogan?
Sam: I feel like it’s a nice way of saying booger?
Kristin: HA I was gonna say.
Sam: Sorry, my nose was a bit congested with some bogans.
Kristin: It’s short for toboggan?
Sam: Is there snow in Australia?
Kristin: No. That’s like asking if there is snow in hell.
Sam: It must be about boogers then.
Kristin: Watch, there is totally snow in Australia.
Sam: There must be.
Sam: But I refuse to acknowledge it as an ignorant American.
Kristin: LOL.
Actual definition: Bogan. Someone with no class or taste. The Australian version of a red neck, e.g., “Wollongong is full of bogans.”

Sam: I have to cheat, I think I know what budgie smugglers are.
Kristin: Budgie smuggler sounds like their version of turd burglar. Am I close?
Sam: I think it’s Speedo?
Kristin: HA. Does budgie means penis? It’s a penis smuggler?
Sam: Arggghhhh me mateys. We’ve got a lot of DICK aboard… I read that in Captain Barbossa’s voice in my head. It’s amazing. Try it.
Kristin: NO.
Actual definition: Budgie smugglers. Men’s Speedo-style swimwear, e.g., “Our prime minister is fond of budgie smugglers.”

Sam: OK let’s do carked it.
Kristin: Is that like dead?
Sam: Maybe? Actually, that sounds good.
Kristin: Like, he carked the bucket?
Sam: I was thinking like “corked it”. As in stopped drinking wine.
Kristin: Or maybe it’s nailed it.
Sam: OooOOOOoooh.
Kristin: CARKED IT.
Sam: Yeah that sounds right. Either you died, or you did something really well.
Kristin: Yeah, you carked it.
Actual definition: Carked it. Died/dead, e.g., “I need a new phone, this one has carked it.”

Kristin: A clacker sounds like the way you’d describe a person on a first date. That did not go very well.
Sam: Ooooo so kind of like “clunker”.
Kristin: Like, I am swiping left.
Sam: Yup.
Kristin: On this clacker.
Sam: I could totally see that.
Actual definition: Clacker. Anus, e.g., “My clacker was on fire after eating that chilli.”

Sam: Dag is like damn right? Like dag gum it.
Kristin: Dag is totally damn.
Sam: DAG IT. Yeah.
Kristin: Or it’s dog if you have one of those Australian Boston accents.
Sam: That sounds about right.
Actual definition: Dag. An untidy or uncool person. Someone who looks like the matted, dirty wool around a sheep’s bum, e.g., “Is she wearing Ugg boots at the movies? What a dag.”

Sam: Derro. Is like a cute way of saying hello?
Sam: Like you would say it to a baby.
Kristin: Derro is how you say hello to a puppy.
Sam: Yup.
Actual definition: Derro. Someone who is lower class and perceived as trashy, e.g., “No you can’t bum a smoke, you derro.”

Kristin: Dunny has to mean vagina.
Sam: I feel like dunny has a MEANING so yes. I was going to go with, like, when you’re a shitshow drunk, but vag makes more sense.
Kristin: It’s vag.
Sam: Total slang.
Kristin: I bet a lot of these are vag.
Actual definition: Dunny. Slang for toilet, e.g., “I beat level 365 of Candy Crush while I was on the dunny.”

Sam: Firies. That’s, like, diarrhea or like BAD farts after you have dairy.
Kristin: Yeah, it means fiery poops. I have the firies.
Actual definition: Firies. Short for firefighters, e.g., “Quick, put some lipgloss on, those firies are hot.”

Sam: Franger. Is that like a cowboy version of Frasier?
Kristin: That’s penis, right? Same thing.
Sam: Omg. Yes. Franger + dunny.
Kristin: EXACTLY.
Sam: Check out that kid’s franger!
Kristin: WHAT?
Kristin: You basically just said, “Look at the dick on THAT child!” NOTE TO AUSTRALIA: I DO NOT ENDORSE THAT SENTENCE.
Actual definition: Franger. Slang for condom, e.g., “Better pack some frangers, I’m feeling lucky.”

Sam: Grog. I mean…
Kristin: Well, that’s rum.
Sam: We both drink.
Kristin: We know what pirates mean.
Sam: I’m not fooled.
Kristin: Anything relating to pirates, we know all about.
Actual definition: Grog. Alcohol, e.g., “We can stop at the grog shop on the way to the party.”

Sam: What the fuck is a k’noath? I feel like it is BAD.
Kristin: Is it a snack?
Sam: You’re going the oats direction? It just sounds weird. Idk.
Kristin: I am actually afraid it has like a really important meaning and if I say “it’s a vagina” then I will be sent to writer jail.
Sam: This is the first one where I’m like whut.
Kristin: I bet a k’noath is a very important snack.
Sam: Let’s just use that as our cover story. It’s like toast with Vegemite. People will buy that.
Kristin: There we go.
Actual definition: K’noath. Short for fucking oath. Used to express enthusiastic agreement, e.g., “Damn Kerry’s mum is hot.” “K’noath.”

Kristin: Macca’s is McDonald’s.
Sam: You know this, right?
Kristin: We know all about McDonald’s. We got that pretty much on lock.
Sam: Duh.
Actual definition: Macca’s. Short for McDonald’s, e.g., “She bought me Macca’s, I’m gonna marry her.”

Sam: Old fella.
Kristin: No joke.
Sam: I feel like this is what a lot of blokes call their dick.
Kristin: I think this actually is penis.
Sam: Wow love it.
Actual definition: Old fella. Slang for penis, e.g., “He flopped his old fella out!”

Kristin: I actually know the meaning of on the piss so I will let you go.
Sam: Um, is this like a pissing contest?
Kristin: Yes, Sam. It’s totally a pissing contest.
Sam: Ok.
Kristin: A pissing contest you have with your friends. It’s an annual holiday.
Sam: Like, is it when things are going shitty?
Kristin: You COULD say that.
Sam: Like GD it I’m sucking at school, my grades are on the piss.
Kristin: It does have a lot to do with when things get shitty.
Sam: That’s my guess.
Kristin: Perfect.
Actual definition: On the piss. To go out and drink alcohol, e.g., “It’s Friday, let’s get on the piss!”

Kristin: Pash?
Sam: Is that like when you’re high. “Let’s go smoke a J and get way pash.”
Kristin: I was gonna say it’s like a rash.
Sam: Oh. Ew. Yeah. Totally. Yuck.
Actual definition: Pash. To kiss passionately, e.g., “Abby and Jordan totally pashed behind the sheds at lunchtime.”

Sam: Omg RACK OFF like…
Kristin: That’s jerk off, right?
Sam: That’s totally it. Everyone racks off.
Sam: This is it. We’ve found the decoy. It’s rack off.
Kristin: Watch, it means you got something cool off the rack at the store or something.
Sam: Probably.
Actual definition: Rack off. Go away/fuck off, e.g., “Hey wanna go out with me?” “Rack off!”

Sam: Ripper is totally a huge fart.
Kristin: It’s totally a fart.
Actual definition: Ripper. Something good or exciting, e.g., “I won the lotto!” “You little ripper!”

Sam: Root. Like is this not the root of a tree maybe?
Kristin: Root is to look for? Like, I rooted around for a snack?
Sam: I would buy that. Root for some frangers.
Kristin: You are looking for dicks?
Sam: Always.
Actual definition: Root. To have sex, e.g., “Wanna root?”

Kristin: Salvos sounds like a wizard.
Sam: Maybe a sloppy wet kiss?
Kristin: It’s probably a type of shoe.
Actual definition: Salvos. Short for the Salvation Army, used to describe both the organisation and the charity stores it runs, e.g., “I picked this dress up for $2 at the Salvos.”

Kristin: Servo?
Sam: Waiter. Duh right?
Kristin: Maybe it means surfing? They like surfing right? I don’t really know.
Sam: Yeah but I feel like they spell it correctly? I feel like it’s an abbrev.
Kristin: Most of what I know about Australia I learned from Finding Nemo.
Sam: I mean, same. Plus Steve Irwin, God rest his soul.
Actual definition: Servo. Short for service station, e.g., “We need to stop off at the servo, the fuel light is flashing.”

Sam: Sheila is totally chick.
Kristin: Oh really?? HAHAHA.
Sam: Like, a good-looking chick.
Kristin: OH MY GOD. I thought it meant kangaroo!
Sam: HA.
Kristin: This is what I get for going to Outback Steakhouse. I was going to be like, I KNOW THIS ONE, FROM THE BATHROOM SIGN AT OUTBACK.
Actual definition: Sheila. A woman, e.g., “I heard you got yourself a sheila.”

Kristin: Spit the dummy sounds like something that if I searched for it on Tumblr at work I would get fired.
Sam: Probably. I mean, is it a blowjob?
Kristin: I was gonna say vomit? So…tangentially related.
Sam: It involves some sort of bodily emission.
Kristin: Spit the dummy is NSFW.
Actual definition: Spit the dummy. To display anger, similar to throwing a tantrum, e.g., “Greg spit the dummy when he saw what happened to Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones.”

Kristin: Strewth? I don’t know, french fries? One of these is french fries.
Sam: It’s such a weird word.
Kristin: It sounds like a drunk person saying truth.
Actual definition: Strewth. An exclamation meaning “for real” or “it’s the truth”, e.g., “Strewth, I thought I’d never see you again, mate!”

Sam: Sunnies is like the cute Australian word for sunglasses orrrrrr boobs.
Kristin: Those are sunglasses.
Actual definition: Sunnies. Short for sunglasses, e.g., “These sunnies really suit your heart-shaped face.”

Kristin: Swimmers are…feet?
Sam: I’m TEMPTED to say sperm.
Kristin: OH.
Sam: Actually I could see feet!
Kristin: I’m glad you repped for sperm, though.
Sam: Yeah. Just gotta put that out there.
Actual definition: Swimmers. Short for swimsuit, e.g., “I look ***FLAWLESS in my new swimmers.”

Kristin: Ok thongs. I actually know this one, so I am curious what you think it is.
Sam: This is sandals, right.
Kristin: …yes.
Sam: I feel like Aussies need to change the word for this.
Kristin: AGREED.
Sam: While at the pool a few years ago a mom came up to a group of us guards and asked if we had seen her thong and we started crying and she had no idea why.
Kristin: YOU SEE.
Sam: Like, c’mon, Aussies.
Sam: Not kewt.
Actual definition: Thongs. A form of footwear; what Americans refer to as flip-flops, e.g., “I’m gutted, my favourite pair of thongs wore out.”

Sam: Trackie daks?
Kristin: Skid marks? Or shoes?
Sam: Let’s go with that, bc I think I know what these are.
Kristin: It means skid marks.
Actual definition: Trackie daks. Tracksuit pants; what Americans refer to as sweatpants, e.g., “Nah I’m not going out, I’ve already got my trackie daks on.”

Kristin: A tucker is a nice dog.
Sam: Ugh.
Kristin: Or someone who…tucks?
Sam: I was going WAY into left field. Um. Yes.
Kristin: Ok, we’ll go with a nice dog.
Sam: Good call.
Actual definition: Tucker. Food, e.g., “That was some good tucker.”

Sam: Up yourself is, like, clean up?
Kristin: I think it means go fuck yourself. ONE OF THESE means go fuck yourself.
Sam: OoooOOOoo. Yeah like this one has ATTITUDE for sure.
Kristin: Or it means vomit? To be fair A LOT OF THESE sound like the word for vomit.
Actual definition: Up yourself. A snob or narcissist; someone who really loves themselves, e.g., “All he does is post selfies, he’s so up himself.”

Kristin: Ute?
Sam: A cowboy?
Kristin: I was gonna say an idiot.
Sam: Yeah it’s some sort of man. “Stop being such a UTE”.
Kristin: Some sort of stupid, foolish man.
Sam: Yeah I could see that. A level below a bloke.
Actual definition: Ute. Short for utility vehicle, e.g., “You’ve got a ute, can you help me move on the weekend?”

Kristin: Wag means jerk off.
Sam: Is that, like, a wife and girlfriend?
Kristin: Right?
Sam: Or a dog?
Kristin: AH.
Sam: OHHHH – wag off! Yeah? I think you’re right.
Actual definition: Wag. To ditch school, e.g., “I’m grounded, Mum caught me wagging.”

Sam: Woop Woop?
Kristin: Is that the sound a kangaroo makes? Or is it sex?
Sam: Maybe? I was going to say a party?
Kristin: OH. That is the mature adult definition. Or it’s a nice dog.
Sam: I feel like it’s sex, a party, or sex you have at a party.
Kristin: Yeah, it’s something gross involving other humans.
Actual definition: Woop Woop. Really far away, in the middle of nowhere, e.g., “I’m not going to Trevor’s house, he lives in Woop Woop.”

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Jenna Guillaume is a senior editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney.
Editor, 2009 Prom King of New Canaan High School
Senior Editor, Hugmaster General
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