Your Guide to Australian Slang for QIP Sydney

AustralianWhiteIbis gobeirneTo everyone that’s attending QIP, welcome to Sydney!

Since I’ve already had to clarify a number of the finer points of Australian slang to my fellow attendees, I thought I would solve the general problem and simply post a helpful dictionary that translates some uniquely Australian words and usages into standard American English.

Also, this thing on the right is called an ibis. It’s not venomous.


Flat white – Try this at least once while you’re here, preferably prepared by a highly skilled barista at one of the better cafes. It’s similar to a latte or to a cappuccino without the foam, but there are important differences.

Long black – Australian version of the Americano, a bit stronger and with crema. It’s the closest you’ll get to a cup of filtered drip coffee, if that’s your thing.

Short black – If you want a standard espresso, order a short black.

The Beach

Thongs – Sandals, or flip-flops. The highest level of dress code in Australia is “no thongs”.

Togs – Swimwear.

Esky – A cooler; the place where you store your beer to keep it cold while you’re getting pissed at the beach.

Pissed – Drunk; the state that a nontrivial fraction of people are in because it’s legal to drink at the beach.

Sunnies – Sunglasses.

Mozzy – Mosquito. Usually not a problem at the beach because there is almost always a breeze.

The Pub

Schooner – (SKOO-ner) A medium-sized glass of beer.

Jug – A pitcher of beer.

Shout – To buy a beer for someone, or a round of beers for your table.

Skol – To chug a beer. Usage: “Hey Robbo, if you skol that schooner I’ll shout you a jug.”

Hotel – In addition to the standard meaning, a hotel is a particular style of pub. It usually has high occupancy and a limited beer selection (though this is starting to improve as craft beer is finally catching on here).


Football – see “Footy”.

Footy – Rugby. It comes in several varieties, with League and Union being the two most popular varieties.

Gridiron – American football. Not generally watched much down under.

Cricket – An inscrutable game that takes 5 days to play. I think the only way you could like this game is to have the British invade, conquer your land, and occupy your territory under their colonial yoke for at least a few generations. That seems to be how everyone else got into it.

Rooting – Do not make the mistake of saying that you are “rooting for team X”; in Australia, rooting is slang for having sex.


Arvo – Afternoon.

Bickie – A cookie or biscuit.

Brekkie – Breakfast.

Fair dinkum – The closest translation is probably “for real”. It’s used to express the sentiment that you’re not deceiving the listener or exaggerating your claims.

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8 Responses to Your Guide to Australian Slang for QIP Sydney

  1. Bloody Yank says:

    Crikey! Throw another shrimp on the barbie mate.

    • sflammia says:

      Oh yeah! I forgot: prawn is Australian for shrimp. It was a big controversy here when Paul Hogan was seen in an ad saying “shrimp” instead of “prawn”.

    • John Sidles says:

      Good on `yah, Steve! Heaps of quantum-groms (including me) have been frothing for QIP updates … shakka for this post (and further ones?) brah!

  2. Dave Bacon says:

    Also my fav: “ta”

  3. Tom says:

    Steve, your homeland meets all your criteria for being a cricket loving nation. So you must be missing something. My suggestions for possibilities are “taste, subtlety and due regard for the sublime.” Otherwise, you just end up with baseball.

  4. mick says:

    *drinking at the beach is actually mostly illegal in Sydney.
    You missed “no worries” – which pretty much is used to indicate a level of worrying that goes from literally no worries to something of the order of quite a bit of concern.
    Eg, Q: “Could you move this hand-sized huntsman spider outside?”
    A: “Sure. *gulp* no worries.”

    • sflammia says:

      Re: drinking at the beach, yes, technically illegal on the sands, but e.g. at Coogee it is legal to drink in the park area 3 meters from the sands until (I think) 7pm. And enforcement is very relaxed if you’re being civilized.

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