Monday, May 24, 2010

Slinging Slang in Oz

by carol

I'm sure I have read and heard every interview done by Alex O'Loughlin.  Part of what makes them a delight to read or hear is his use of Australian slang in conversation. I immediately open another window and start looking up definitions.

Oz slang is a creative wonder. While they are fond of shortening nouns, Aussies will also incorporate word substitutions or comparisons to often make long figurative phrases. And of course, they rhyme (another subject entirely!)

The words listed below (not necessarily used by Alex) are recent additions to the Australian Dictionary of Slang. Please be aware, some are a bit racy.

* SWAMP-DONKEY - A deeply unattractive person.

* BLAMESTORMING - Sitting round in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a Project failed, and who was responsible.

* SITCOMs - Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids or start a "home business."

* SINBAD - Single working girls. Single income, no boyfriend and desperate.

* PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE - The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

* 404 - Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found" meaning that the requested document could not be located.

* AUSSIE KISS - Similar to a french kiss, but given down under.

* OH - NO SECOND - That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake (e.g. you've hit 'reply all').

* BREAKING THE SEAL - Your first trip to the loo in the pub, usually after 2 hours of drinking. After breaking the seal of your bladder, repeat visits to the toilet will be required every 10 or 15 minutes for the rest of the night.

* MONKEY BATH - A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in, you go: "Oo! Oo! Oo! Aa!Aa!Aa!"

* MYSTERY BUS- The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night while you're in the toilet after your 10th pint, and whisks away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly packed with stunners when you come back in.

* ARSE ANTLERS - a tattoo just above the buttocks - having a central section and curving extensions on each side. (please note, we're not referring to any specific person here)

* SLUMMY MUMMIES - mothers of young children who have abandoned all care for their personal appearance, as opposed to immaculately-groomed YUMMY MUMMIES.

BOOMERITIS - sports-related injuries suffered by baby boomers as they keep playing sports well into old age.

Here's an article written by Australian Simon O'Brien with more insights into slang.

Aussie slang? She'll be right, mate

January 25, 2010

If you were concerned this Australia Day that we were losing our fair dinkum slang, fear not - our willingness to have a foul-mouthed, informal and friendly conversation with just about anyone will ensure we stay loveable larrikins, according to a linguistics expert.

Fears have grown in recent years of Australia's unique dialect falling by the wayside, pushed out by a hoard of big-haired, skinny jean wearing American and British TV personalities telling our tin lids that 'everything is, like, totes awes'.

Even before the arrival of American Idol and its ilk on our small screens, Australians had begun dropping words such as bonza and grouse from their vocabulary, shrugging them off as ocker relics of a bogan past best forgotten.

However, Roland Sussex from the University of Queensland's School of Languages and Comparative Studies said while Aussies were picking up some US pronunciations and words, our accent was largely intact.

"The Australian and English vowels are hanging in there very clearly and it's not just in people like Paul Hogan - it's right across the population - and I think the chances of us sounding unAustralian are pretty small," Professor Sussex said.

More importantly, Australians continued the use of three major attributes which made our speech unique, he added.

"In Australia, we use first names quicker than anyone else in the English speaking world," Professor Sussex said.

"For instance, I know that if you ring up and address me by my title, I'll think: 'That's very nice, but please can't we get away from that - it makes me feel uncomfortable'.

"Whereas if we were in England, America, Hong Kong or Singapore, for example, the title would be absolutely necessary until the senior person says: 'Let's give that up, my name is Fred'."

Secondly, Australians used diminutives - shortened version of words, which often suggest affection - more than anyone else, he said.

"These are like Bundy for Bundaberg, Brissy for Brisbane - BrisVegas for that matter - Gossy for Wayne Goss and wino and dero ... and so on. I have a database of more than 5000 of these, and all Englishes have them, but we use them more than anybody else," Professor Sussex said.

"To say 'hey mate, there's a mossie on your cossie' sounds slightly funny, but it's the way we talk to each other and if I said 'excuse me my friend, you have a mosquito on your swimming costume' you'd think 'what a toffy nosed idiot'."

Thirdly, Australians swore more than anyone else during conversations.

However, rather than causing offence, Professor Sussex said our language was admired overseas for its creativity - even if it did have foreigners trying to decipher it flat out like a lizard drinking.


  1. This shows thoughtful preparation and a sense of humor. Good job mate.

  2. Thanks for the compliment. It felt as good as the gold star Sister Mary Ursula gave me in 3rd grade!

  3. Thank you, Pam and Carol, for this very interesting and funny article.

  4. We're glad you like it. Be sure and come back.

  5. Wonder if Steve calling Mary-Ann, "Mar" (in Hawaii Five-0)and Marshall calling his brother Louis, "Lu" (in August Rush), was something Alex did (using 'diminutives') or if it was scripted that way?