9 Australian Slang Terms that Make Horrible Things Sound Fun

In a recent conversation, I realized that Australians seem to use a lot more slang than Americans. Here are some Australian words that would sound fun to an outsider, but aren't.

Mignon Fogarty
2-minute read


A few weeks ago, I was a guest on the Newbie Writers podcast, and one of the hosts, Damien Boath, is Australian. Over the course of our conversation, I came to realize that Australians can make anything sound fun. They seem to have cute nicknames for even the most horrible, gross, and annoying things. There are cockies in the dunny, mate sounds fun, right? It's not. Here's a sample of Australian slang:

1. Cockies.




Just looking for a photo made me nauseated.




2. Mozzie.



Some people call them the most dangerous animal in the world. Australians call them mozzies.


3. Dunny



I wonder whether other languages have cute nicknames for the toilet. I suppose potty sounds fun to people who don't speak English.


4. Bingle.

bingleA car accident.

Accident sounds so negative. Sure, maybe you ran over a kid's trike, but it was just a bingle. Apparently there's an Australian insurance company called Bingle Insurance. Maybe someone should start Crash Insurance in the US.



5. Bluey

blueyA traffic ticket.

Maybe Americans do this too. I remember hearing someone say he "popped a dooey," and having no idea what he meant. Turns out a "dooey" is what you get when driving under the influence, a DUI ticket. Not funny.


6. Bounce

bounceA bully.


The first thing that comes to mind when I hear bounce is a bouncy house. Fun! In Australia a bounce is a bully. Not so fun.


7. Liquid laugh.

liquid laughterVomit.


When you've been drinking all night, I suppose anything can sound fun.




8. Aussie Salute.

australian saluteBrushing away flies. 

OK, I do laugh thinking of people swatting flies. I once saw a hilarious interview on CNBC of some important business guy giving an interview near a water trap on a golf course while being attacked by bugs. They were probably mozzies, but it was still funny.



9. Wowser

wowserA boring stick-in-the-mud.


If an Australian told me we were going out to dinner with a wowser, I'd be psyched. I'd be wrong.




Sources: Damien Boath and http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian-slang.html

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.