There are several websites you can peruse, and books you can buy, to learn Australian slang. While these tend to vary in breadth, depth, and quality, most are certainly worth a quick squiz (i.e. a brief look). What keeps Aussie colloquialisms fresh and lively, to me, are not only the terms themselves, but also the way they are mixed and matched by various individuals and groups of people. Of course, as in any country, phrases and their usage will differ from region to region.

 

When I visit some new place whilst travelling round the country, or when I attend a local dinner with a few fresh faces in the crowd, I carry a small notebook and pen in my handbag. This is because, even after eight years living here, I still catch people saying things I haven’t heard before – things that often leave me laughing, even days later.

 

Here are a dozen of my favourite Australian phrases, with definitions and examples of usage given after each one.

 

1. A few sheep short in the top paddock – a bit stupid. Example: “Once you get to know ‘im, you can tell he’s a few sheep short in the top paddock.”

This fellow may be said to be "a few sheep short in the top paddock," and no wonder, if he regularly uses the flock to make hats! (Image source)

This fellow may be said to be “a few sheep short in the top paddock,” and no wonder, if he regularly uses the flock to make hats! (image source)