Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Time for the Aussie word list definitions

A few days ago, we ran a list of words that Max had obtained from various helpful Australian bloggers. Several of these words, I have later discovered from you, are common British usage as well. None are common usage in America, as far as I have ever heard.

Those of you who submitted comments to that post had the ones you did all correct. But since I have never run a complete list of the "answers" for each line item, I will do so now. (The "answers" or "definitions" are given in "American.")

gag, gagging - This means eager, as in "wanting to do something very much".
gob - mouth, piehole
powerpoint-an electrical wall recepticle
brick shithouse-A large, muscular well-built man. (Almost always means the opposite in America: "An exceedingly curvacious woman".

cactus - not working. "My microwave is cactus". I think this is sort of like Claire's usage of the word "pants", but not quite.
heaps - a lot
Tall Poppy Syndrome - Refers to the Australian trait of liking to take pompous people down "a peg or two".
pot-a 285ml glass of beer. Used in Victoria. Other names elsewhere.
wag, wagging - to truant. (Americans would call it "skipping school".
A over T: Arse over Tits; Arse over Tea Kettle (To stumble and fall awkwardly.
Cark it - to die
Cossie or cozzie - short for "costume"; most commonly a swimming costume (swim suit or bathing suit in America)
Dag-a piece of shit that hangs off a sheep's bum. Said of a bloke. Can be good natured or disparaging.
Dunny-a toilet.
“a bit more choke and you would have started” - Said as a mild admonishment to someone who has just loudly broken wind in public.

Yonks-a long period of time.
Ute - "utility" (a pickup truck). In America, a Ute is an Indian, a certain Indian trible State of Utah named after them.
Stunned mullet-used to describe a person who's mouth is agape or who is otherwise unresponsive to outside stimuli.
Spit the dummy-to get very upset about something.
spunk - Semen.
Franger-a condom.
Goog-an egg. Rhymes with "good."
Holy snapping duckshit - simply an exclamation of surprise
jack-to be sick and tired of something. (I think this is akin to my own favorite "bugger this for a game of soldiers" or "can't arse this."

SFA (Sweet Fanny Adams)--but what does it mean?? (It means to be doing nothing; absolutely nothing.)
Rice Bubbles - What an American would call Rice Krispies; a dry breakfast cereal.
pull the pin-to stop an activity; to withdraw support.
pash - short for passionate. (One Aussie told Max tha many used this to describe what Americans call "French Kissing.")
pissing down - Raining hard
poof (or poofter) - male homosexual
nappy - diaper
sheila - opposite of bloke (since American's don't use "blokes", a "sheila" is Australian for "female".
Bogan-low class; what Americans would call "Trailer Trash."
cunning stunts -The Aussies are exceedingly fond of spoonerisms. This particular example is too vulgar to define here. You can figure it out if you now what a spoonerism is.

And that's it! For this list anyway. Thanks for playing!



  1. SFA? Sweet Fanny Adams? I always think of SFA being Sweet F**K All, but there you go. Or maybe you were just being polite, Max? (Thanks for being nice about me else-thread, by the way - sorry I've been gone so long.)

    I haven't heard 'franger' and 'pash' in years (despite me being in the UK, one of my teenage friends was from Oz so I knew these ones).

  2. Catherine, you are right of course. Sweet Fanny Adams is a euphemism for the SFA which REALLY means what you said. But you know how reluctant Max is to swear (shudder!) Last time he got so bad he drove all his good friends away. Since it appears he may be getting a second chance by one of them, he certainly doesn't want to start saying fuck again. Just wouldn't do. I don't know. The lady he is most interested in getting to return was very very smart, but pretty tough too. So you never can tell. Max might still get that second chance he has been hoping for.

    How did you do overall, besides the ones you mentioned? Did you know quite a few? I have a bunch more of course. Maybe I'll give you a private test.

    Happy S.G. day. (It's soooo cool that you came back. I will be civil. Promise.) :)

  3. One I don't see that used to make us giggle when I was backpacking, is thong.

    We'd be going out clubbing, we'd get to the door and the guy would say "Sorry, no thongs allowed, I can't let you in".


  4. I am surprised by how much Aussie influence there must be in my life, for quite a few the expressions are used in my home. (I believe I have told our little Max to shut his Gob on occasion as an example.)

    That being said, it is St. George's Day that interests me the most. For not a book, nor a rose has appeared in my life today.

    Ah well, I find hidden books everywhere.

  5. I'm not really convinced that these are purely Australian. Gob for instance - is that originally Australian? I remember that from my childhood which was pre-Botany Bay....

    Am I just splitting hairs here?

  6. You may be right of course. I read somewhere once where Australia had some sort of language connection with Great Britain. At one time or another. Not sure how much... :)

    Yes, even as they were giving me their words, they would always say, "Now, this one might not be strictly Aussie..." Of course they said it "Ozzie". This strikes Max as funny, for private reasons as well, because his real last name has caused people to call him "Ozzie" all his life.

    Pre-botany bay indeed.

    Do you know anything much about the "transporting" of criminals or debtors to Australia? What time period it was done in? And how they were able to get away with it, what with the constitution and the Magna Carta and little things like those? Of course, I ask also because of your mention of Botany Bay.

    I ask because my first American ancestor, in 1637, came to America by way of Barbados, and I have heard that Barbados was an object of transportation for a time as well. To work in the sugar fields etc.

    Perhaps I drift a little too much off topic.

    Catherine, if you are there, I suspect you know a little about this subject too. I sense your lurking presence this morning. :)

  7. Debbie-Yes, and Max has shut his gob. At least as much as he can and still run a blog. :)

    But he has vowed to become more friendly to the nice lady, in hopes she will still visit. And, if he can't actually talk, he will still be able to peek at her thoughts as she comments. Better than nothing at all, he thinks.

    Please do continue to visit, Debbie. Ok? :)

  8. Petutlant Pup,

    Did you know that ???? with no accompanying text can show up as a blank screen? I learned that by mistake yesterday. Maybe blondes are blank, maybe they just have to many questions?

  9. Max, you seem to be under the impression I know a lot of things. I don't. Sorry... (Although I can tell you that transportation from elsewhere in the British Empire to Australia took place at the end of the 18th century and throughout much of the 19th).

    Anyway, a lot of the Aussie slang you listed is pretty common in the UK and Ireland too. However, I'm not sure whether that's because they got it from us in the first place (probably at least some of it) or because we've all been watching too many Australian soap operas over the past 20 years.

    Caroline: heee, thongs! That one always makes me giggle. Pathetic, I know. :)

  10. @Debbie-Happily the blank ones don't come across in the comments. Or I know what you'd be doing right now. :) But, yes, the do seem to come across in that email thing. Stop doing it! (Just kidding.) :)

    @Catherine- Ok, now I'm thinking that the thongs in question are not those little rubber shoes with the thing between the toes. So give. One of you. Don't just leave me hanging like that--what the heck is it????

  11. Stop making me learn!

  12. @Canucklehead-Thank you for your brevity. (And I know I speak for us all.) Hell, that was even halfway pithy.

    Now please go away again.


  13. Are you just winding us up? Is a thong not part of the American vocabulary? Knowing you now better than I knew you then, I suspect all you want is to lure a young innocent into giving you a graphic description. I'm neither so count me out :) :)

  14. @a-Well, yes I knew what it meant, at least to an American. But the ladies seemed to be mysterious and giggling about "it" or "them" so I started to think it might be something else. It wasnt. So now of course I am puzzled a why it was being considered an Aussie or British word. It it is a word in 183 countries, I don't think it qualifies to be Aussie.

    Are you here to start trouble today, by the way, aged one?

  15. @Caroline-Why did the word thong make you giggle?

    @Catherine-Why does the word thong make you giggle?

    See a.- don't tell my there isn't some underlying joke here (although Caroline has already told me separately that it is just what we thought it is.)

  16. perhaps little max, it is you they see in the thong....

    close your eyes, breathe deep and slow, picture and imagine dear little max thonged and happy. Imagine him chewing on your best shoes.......

  17. Ye gods, perhaps I am going to cause trouble :)

    The joke is that in Britain a thong is an undergarment, and a very brief one at that. The thongs you folks and Australians know seem to be footwear of the type we call flip-flops.

    You know all this. I know you know all this. Why do I feel the need to explain? I was never a teacher. :)

  18. @a: is a Florida thing to wear thongs on our feet, thongs that peer above the pant waist and walk with a thong in our heart.....

  19. a.-Yes, it was the underwear connection that made them giggle. I tortured it out of Caroline earlier.

    That begs the question of why so many countries use that word but brits think it's australian. And so, apparently do Australians.

    Can we please just talk about thong bikinis and women's underwear in general if you don't mind? The rubber Hong Kong shoes known now as flip flops are revolting. I think I shall post pictures of some of the more interesting thongs for tomorrow's post, as those garments apparently are connected to words. Please start sending me pictures. Must have models in them though. Thanks. :)

  20. There are parts of the world, like the one I live in, where they're called "tanga". It's quite a common word among the latin based languages, I suspect.
    thought you'd be interested to know, maxi dear. I mean, for your words collection and stuff.

    Also, on a more personal note, i totally despise them.

  21. Yes, I admit to being juvenile and giggling at underwear connections.
    That's all I'm admitting though.

  22. @Marmelade-If you despise them, then from here forward they shall not exist. Not in Max's mind, not in the entire universe. Throughout the Spanish-speaking world, starting at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning, those people will not be able to remember the name for the things on their feet that they are wearing.

    So shall it be written. So shall it be done.

  23. i was not talking about the flip-flops ...

  24. @Catherine-That's far from all you'll admit. That's what Caroline said at first, too.

  25. @Marmelade-Max probably wouldn't mind if the other thongs disappeared too. :) :) :)

  26. max the cheeky ... you sure know how to make a girl blush ...

  27. @Marmelade: I remember tanga-style briefs being sold in the UK (though I don't remember seeing them in ages) - they had a proper 'middle' piece but only had string-like bits to go over the hips. If that makes sense.

  28. catherine - i know, it's a torture! and i don't find it at all sexy. ew.
    believe it or not, there are men wearing it too. i've seen some on the beach. they make my stomach revolt.

    am i too virulent?

  29. Colon, thank you sir! And thank you for your visit. As you have probably guessed by now, I have become quite addicted to that delightfully direct Aussie way with words. And I continue to try and ferret them out. As you can see from the other comments, however, the Brits continue to claim authorship for most of them. No matter. It is enough for these American ears simply to be allowed to enjoy the music, whatever the source.

    The pictures on your blog are so interesting. I am enjoying the series of "schoolbook" excerpts on the duties of the policeman. (Are they only called "Bobbies" in London? Or everywhere?) Beginning to have some doubts, however. And a couple of the pictures of yourself are hilarious. I love the way your mind thinks, sir.



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