Australian slang is an important part of our every day vernacular – it’s what makes this nation a “bonza” place.
To the outsider, it must seem like a second language, but just in case there are some identity issues – especially given the citizenship debacle that plagued federal politics recently – the team at The Land has provided readers with a refresher on a few Okker-isms.
The team has been like a ‘dog with a bone’ scouring the country for the best quintessentially Australian sayings.
We’ve taken them from across the state, including during visits to shearing sheds at places like Wellington in the Central West where the back-breaking work had a few of the crew as “sweaty as a shearer’s armpit”, as well as from pubs like the Wallabadah hotel along the New England Highway where we “blew the froth off a couple”, literally.
The sayings describe everything from characteristics of people, like the “cut of someone’s jib” to the weather, and whether we are hungry or not.
Then there are colloquialisms including “too right”, “you little ripper”, “she’ll be right mate”, “I wasn’t born yesterday”, “I didn’t come down with the last fall of rain” and “no worries” that we seamlessly throw into everyday conversation.
Many have even made it into the pages of the dictionary. So when you, our readers, are throwing a ‘prawn on the barbie’ for Christmas lunch, here is a list of some of the best we have come up to laugh about around the dinner table. Doesn’t get any more Aussie than that.
- Ankle biter – Small child.
- A few tinnies short of a slab – Not very bright.
- A roo loose in the top paddock – A bit daft.
- All sizzle no sausage – Pretty disappointing result.
- As flash as a rat with a gold tooth – Dressing ostentatiously (very smart).
- As the crow flies – A distance measured in a straight line.
- As useful as tits on a bull – The person is not very useful
- Better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick – It’s better than nothing.
- Catch you round like a rissole – See you later.
- Cost big bikkies – When something is expensive.
- Couldn’t run a chook raffle – Unorganised/useless.
- Crook as a dog – Unwell.
- Daggy – Scruffy (not what hangs off a sheep’s backside), or not cool.
- Emu parade – Clean up
- Fair shake of the sauce bottle/fair crack of the whip – Give someone a chance.
- Fit as a mallee bull – In good physical health.
- Flat out like a lizard drinking – You have been working hard.
- Get some shut-eye – Having a sleep.
- Happy as a pig in mud – Extremely happy.
- Happy little vegemite – A happy person.
- Having a Barry Crocker – A person is having a shocking day.
- He ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed – Not very bright.
- He is carrying on like a pork chop – Behaving silly.
- He kicked the bucket – He died.
- Hit the frog and toad – Let’s get going.
- I’m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the rider – Really hungry.
- Keen as mustard – Very keen or eager.
- Knee high to a grasshopper – Very small or young.
- Knuckle sandwich – A punch in the face.
- Like a shag on a rock – Abandoned or lonely.
- Looks like a drowned rat – Wet/drenched.
- Lower than a snake’s belly – Someone who has no moral standing.
- May your chooks turn into emus and kick your dunny down – I want you to have some bad luck.
- Not playing for sheep stations – When someone plays too competitively.
- She can talk underwater with a mouth full of marbles – Someone who talks a lot and doesn’t shut up.
- So windy it will blow a drover’s dog off the chain – It’s windy.
- Spit the dummy – Acting like a child.
- That’s a chip off the old block – A person who resembles their parent.
- Tickle me pink – Something someone has said or done has delighted a person.
- Two shakes of a lamb’s tail – When you do something quick.
- Up and down like a dunny seat – Constantly changing your opinion.
- You can’t put in what God left out – Clearly you are not born with a natural talent.