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Illustrated Dictionary of Australian English


sacred site
a place of spiritual significance
They may be hills, rocks, waterholes, trees, plains and other natural features of the landscape, ranging in size from a single stone or plant to an entire mountain range. In coastal and sea areas they may include features which lie both above and below water.
Some are obvious, such as ochre deposits, rock art galleries, or spectacular natural features. In other instances they may be unremarkable to an outside observer.
They are recognised and protected as an integral part of the national cultural heritage, under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act.

 aboriginal australia
a person from western australia
Either born in WA, or regards it as his or her home.
salute ∼ the great australian salute
to brush flies away
Also known as a barcoo salute or bush salute, it is the waving of one's hand in front of the face at regular intervals in order to prevent bush flies from landing on it, or entering one's nose or mouth.
a plant that grows in saline areas

A familiar sight over large areas of the dry desert country of Australia, it is a sprawling grey-blue shrub growing up to 3m high.
It is a long living plant, growing strongly after periods of summer rain, producing long tassels of flowering seed heads.
Aboriginal Australians collect the seeds to grind and roast to make damper.
saltwater crocodile
 The swamps, rivers and estuaries across the north are home to one of the biggest, fiercest — and perhaps most misunderstood — predators in the world.
Crocodylus porosus are the world’s largest living reptile, growing up to 6m long and weighing up to a tonne.
Protected since 1970, the population is around 100,000 in the NT alone and probably more than 150,000 Australia-wide.

aussie diminutive
the salvation army
The Army's purposes are:

 The advancement of the Christian religion …
of education, the relief of poverty, and other charitable objects beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole.

It is also the nickname of their op-shops. Let's go down to the salvos.
founded by william booth in 1865
sanga ∼ sanger, sambo
a sandwich
aussie diminutive
 A highly seasoned sausage, boiled and consumed at fairs, fêtes, agricultural shows and sporting events. Often covered in dead horse and served on a slice of bread or in a bread roll.
Also known as a cheerio.
aussie diminutive


rascal, mischievious person
school of the air
a system of schooling for children in rural and remote areas
 Pioneered in Australia in 1951 to supplement correspondence education. Teachers use high-frequency, two-way radio to broadcast lessons and communicate with students. Email, the internet, video, and fax are also used today.
It remains the most important means of education for children who have no access to school.
1a 285 ml glass of beer in queensland
2a medium glass of beer in south australia
 This word is understood around the country.
For more information see
beer, middy, and seven.
a flannie-clad, mullet-sporting yobbo
Australia-wide known as a bogan
Qld: bevan
NSW: westie
Tas: chigger
vic slang
instant lottery ticket
Played by scratching the ticket to reveal a prize (if won).
screamer ∼ two pot screamer
a person who has a low tolerance of alcohol
a spectacular overhead mark

Regarded by many fans of aussie rules as the epitome of skill.
aussie rules
a brief men's swimming costume
See speedos for a full set of synonyms.


secret business
ceremony and ritual that is open only to a particular group
The word business in this term is from Aboriginal English, and means ‘traditional Aboriginal lore and ritual’, and is recorded from 1907. Secret business is first recorded much later in 1986, and from it have developed terms with a more specific reference. Secret men's business for ceremony and ritual that is open only to men, and Secret women's business for ceremony and ritual that is open only to women. From the late 1990s the terms transferred into standard aussie english where they are used jokingly in non-Aboriginal contexts.

Kingswood driving is secret men's business – just like pushing a shopping trolley straight is secret women's business.

 aboriginal australian english
septic tank ∼ seppo
an american person
rhyming slang: septic tank for yank
petrol station
a seven fluid ounce glass of beer
 Throughout the country when you order a beer  you will get a seven fluid ounce glass.
See beer, schooner, middy and glass for more information.
sexual intercourse
shaggin' wagon
a panel van
 Usually set up with padded velvet, soft lights and stereo, for purposes of seduction.
See panel van for more information.
shag on a rock
someone isolated, lonely, exposed
Everyone pissed off and left me like a shag on a rock!
of poor quality, unenjoyable
The movie was shithouse.
shit house
sheep shagger
a new zealander
aussie slang first recorded in 1894
sheep's back on the …
a reference to the wool industry

The source of Australia's colonial prosperity, started by the squatters.
a girl or girlfriend, a woman
Derived either from Sile, an Irish girl's name, or Sile, Gaelic for an effeminate man or homosexual. The first written use of the term appeared in a 1928 edition of the Monitor, which reported on a Saint Patrick Day street brawl in Sydney.

…many a piteus Sheila stood wiping the gory locks of her Paddy.

It is basically a bloke's word; women on the whole do not use it. Some men seem to think it is a neutral word, rather than a derogatory one, and formerly this may have been the truth, but nowadays women in general don't much like being called sheilas. Don't call me a sheila!
first recorded in 1828
dubious, underhanded
shoot through ∼ like a Bondi tram
make a hasty departure
 Two trams typically left the Sydney CBD for Bondi together, the first an express tram which would shoot through from Darlinghurst to Bondi Junction.
aussie slang since 1945
turn to buy
Usually a round of drinks.
an admonishment that one has more intelligence than another assumes
I'm not stupid, I didn't come down in the last shower!
show pony
someone who tries hard, by his dress or behaviour, to impress those around him


a period of sick leave, often one day
Usually with the implication that there is insufficient medical reason for the absence from work. Surf's up! I'm chuckin a sickie
boast, brag
to consume a drink – usually alcohol
Drunk in a single draught without taking a breath.
a carton of stubbies or cans of beer

Usually containing two dozen of either.
a veranda, porch, or outbuilding
Used for sleeping accommodation.
a cook's assistant or kitchen hand
a brief men's swimming costume
See speedos for a full set of synonyms.
a break from work for a smoke, coffee, tea, etc.

An institution symbolic of working culture, and even of workers' rights.
The Industrial Relations Commission has arbitrated cases of industrial action over workers' entitlement to a smoko, so nowadays even non-smokers can take a smoko break.
a sausage
aussie slang since 1941
one who is soft, inoffensive


spanner water
very cold water
Because, of course, it tightens the nuts, especially for icebergs.
aussie slang since the 1930s
a spectacular overhead mark

Regarded by many fans of aussie rules as the epitome of skill.

aussie rules
a brief men's swimming costume
There are a host of terms for tight-fitting (and revealing) men's swimwear:
sluggos, cock jocks, CJs, DTs, dick togs, dick daks, racers, scungies
See budgie smugglers for more. a trademark used generically
very angry
to vomit
someone employed to verbally encourage potential customers
caught doing something wrong
spit the dummy
have a tantrum
sport ∼ a good sport
fair minded person
a person of either sex who is regarded as sexually attractive
someone who settled on crown land
One of a group of rural landowners, either free settlers or ex‑convicts, who first took up Crown land in order to graze livestock without government permission. They gained its usage by being the first (and often the only) settlers in the area with a lease or licence and became rich and influential, especially on the sheep's back.  The term soon developed a class association, suggesting an elevated socio-economic status and entrepreneurial attitude.
By 1840 squatters were recognized as being amongst the wealthiest men in the colony of New South Wales, many of them from upper and middle‑class English and Scottish families.
Eventually the term came to refer to a person of high social prestige who grazes livestock on a large scale (whether the station was held by leasehold or freehold title). The term is still used to describe large landowners, especially in rural areas with a history of pastoral occupation.
Hence the term, squattocracy, a play on aristocracy.
See bunyip aristocracy for a related term.
colonial era term
squirrel grip
to grab and crush someone's testicles
To go the squirrel is the practice of gripping another player's testicles in a scrum, maul or tackle in either Rugby League or Rugby Union and is in common use throughout NSW, Qld and the ACT.
rugby slang
a look
Take a squizz at this.


accident, crash, fall
lots of something
Come over, I've got stacks of beer.
stack on a blue
become extremely angry
a nosy person
one who causes trouble
very pleased
I'll bet you're stoked with your new car.
originally surfie slang
stolen generation
aboriginal children who were taken from their families
From 1883–1969 thousands of Aboriginal children were placed in institutions or fostered with white families.
 aboriginal australia
perplexed, defeated, cornered
a fight or brawl
Hence, an argument or altercation.
Used by soldiers to refer to war or a battle.
WWI was commonly known as The Big Stoush.

aussie slang since the 1890s
god's truth!
Strewth! That bloke's got no strides on! a mild oath in strine
aussie slang and pronunciation
Do you have a Gloria Soame? What is an egg Nishner?
What are sex?
And can you tell me where checque etcher londger ray?
Professor Lauder knows the answers!
a short, squat beer bottle
 With a capacity between 330375ml.
See also Darwin stubby
a pair of short pants
1 very tired
2 broken
a seat
Bus driver welcoming a passenger:
Grab a stump!
in a bad mood, being difficult
suicide season
a feeling of oppression during the approach of the wet season
Afflicts residents of the top end during the build-up to the wet season and marked by an increase in heat and humidity, causing tension and irritability.
Also called mango madness or simply troppo.
people who go surfing
That bloke looks pretty suss.
suss it out
check something
Something's wrong, I'll go and suss it out.
1 the possessions of one travelling, usually on foot in the bush
2 the blanket-wrapped roll carried by a swagman
swagman ∼ swaggie
an itinerant worker or a drifter
it's the

Illustrated Dictionary of Australian English