Aussie slang: Top words, phrases, rhymes, and similes

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Aussie SlangThe larrikin spirit manifest in our unique lingo is still going strong. However we are also growing and maturing – as reflected in the relinquishment of outdated slang that comes across as unrefined and perhaps vulgar.

Our iconic national slang is by no means disappearing; it is being reinterpreted with a new sophistication, and without the cringe. It is normal for language to evolve over time; to shift meaning or spelling, to be lost, reinvented and created anew.

Our language and sense of humour provide insight into who we are as a people, and say a lot about our Aussie spirit. Phrases or sayings identified in our survey as encapsulating the Australian spirit included: “you little ripper!”, “she’ll be right, mate”, “no worries”, “I’m a happy little Vegemite” and “good on ya mate for having a go!” Of course, anything ending in “mate” is well regarded!

Here are our Top 5s and the percentage of Australians who use these words and phrases:

Top 5 best Aussie words

Top 5 most love Aussie phrases

Top 5 Aussie Rhyming Slang

Top 5 Aussie Similies

There is a self-conscious cringe factor which sets in with phrases like “dinky-di”, “crikey” and “Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi oi oi!” When asked why they wouldn’t use some Australian slang, the most common response given by respondents in our research was because it was unrefined or “ocker”.

Other commonly mentioned reasons were that it was rude and offensive, old-fashioned and that respondents simply didn’t know any or what they mean. Other less mentioned reasons included that it was too “bush” and that it just didn’t suit them.

Why we won't use some Australian slang...

Word Up by Mark McCrindle: A lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st CenturyFor more information on Australian slang and communication, check out Word Up: A Lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st Century by Mark McCrindle, director of McCrindle Research.

Click here to purchase the book.
Click here to visit the website.
Click here to visit our resources page to download and read excerpts of this book and other books.

How to speak Stralyan / Aussie slang [INFOGRAPHIC]

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How to speak Stralyan | Australian language | McCrindle ResearchG'day from the McCrindle Research team! If you're an Aussie, we hope you had a fantastic long weekend.

Last week we posted about a fantastic little downloadable PDF on How to speak Stralyan (Two syllables - that's right!). People loved it so much, we decided to turn it into one of our more easy-to-digest-on-a-screen-infographics!

So c'mon then, scroll down to check out our little ripper of a chart. Share it with your friends and family for a laugh, or add these to your lexicon if you don't already use some of the terms listed!

Click here to download the PDF file or click the infographic below to download the high resolution image file.

How to speak Stralyan | Australian Slang Language Infographic | McCrindle Research

Phrases and Symbols that Define 21st Century Australians

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Australian symbols, words, phrases | McCrindle ResearchFrom the distinctive flash of green and gold at a sporting match, to the friendly “G’day mate” offered to a neighbour or friend, Australia has numerous symbols, phrases and icons that define us as a nation. But which of these really count to the everyday Aussie, and which have become just a distant stereotype of an Australia long-gone?

In this study from McCrindle Research, Australians spoke about which flags, symbols and language they are proud of, and which have fallen from grace.

“Mate” and “Arvo” come up trumps

Our national spirit is tied strongly to our words and phrases. And it seems that our unique Australian words are not only iconic, but well regarded by Australians. Top of the list was “mate” at 65.6% extremely/very proud of this word, 2nd was “g’day” (60.7% extremely/very proud) followed by “arvo”, “tucker” and “snags”.

Top 5 "best regarded"
Aussie words

  1. Mate
  2. G'day
  3. Arvo
  4. Tucker
  5. Snags

Top 5 "most uncomfortable"
Aussie words

  1. Cobber
  2. Sheila
  3. Strewth
  4. Dunny
  5. Crikey

However of all Australian terms, “arvo” is the most used by Australians (73.2% use this term) followed by “g’day” (71.1%).

“Our unique language is still a strong part of our national brand. From our colourful language to our unique humour, the Aussie lexicon is one of fun. Only in Australia is a redhead called “Bluey”, and a stranger is called “mate.”

However there is some well recognised local slang that Australians feel uncomfortable using. The top 5 words which Autralians hesitate to use, are “Cobber”, “Sheila”, “Strewth”, “Dunny” and Crikey”.

We have affection for iconic Aussie phrases with “No worries” a clear winner (73.7% extremely/very proud), followed by “G’day mate“ (71%) and “She’ll be right” (56.7%).

Many phrases were well known and well regarded but considered too ocker to be used in general speech, and topping this list was “not within coo-ee” (just 12% of Australians have used this phrase), “woop-woop” (13% use this term) and “dinky-di” (18%).

Top 5 "best regarded"
Aussie phrases

  1. No worries
  2. G'day mate
  3. She'll be right
  4. Too easy
  5. Fair dinkum

Top 5 "too ocker"
Aussie words

  1. Not withing coo-ee
  2. Woop woop
  3. Dinky-di
  4. Stone the crows
  5. You beauty

The ubiquitous chant “Aussie aussie aussie – oi oi oi” split Australians, but overall was rated more positively (45.5% proud) than negatively (37.5% uncomfortable).

“As Australians we love our iconic phrases and particularly those that communicate our down-to-earth attitude and community values. From the relaxed “no worries” to the generous “too easy”, and anything ending in “mate”, our favoured phrases radiate warmth.” Mark McCrindle, Social Researcher

“However there is a self consciousness and even a cringe factor which sets in with words like ‘cobber’, ‘sheila’ and 'stone the crows’. We have affection for our quirky language but this is balanced with a 21st Century sophistication,”

As further evidence of embracing our language, Australians are pushing back on the Americanization of spelling. Less than 1 in 20 Australians (4.5%) embrace American standard spelling (color, organize, center etc) with almost 4 in 5 Australians (79%) strongly or significantly opposed to the trend.

The proud Aussie flag and the problematic Southern Cross

We love the flag (79% of Australians are extremely or very proud of the Australian flag) and the “Australian Made” symbol (67.1% very/extremely proud) but have mixed views on the Southern Cross symbol. Both the Australian Aboriginal Flag and the Boxing Kangaroo had a larger proportion of Australians who were proud of them, while 1 in 4 Australians (23%) were “slightly” or “very” uncomfortable in the use of the Southern Cross. Only the Eureka Flag had a higher “discomfort rating”.

“Australians have always been proud of their nation, but in an understated, assumed-not expressed manner. Of recent years this patriotism has been more visible, particularly seen through a fond embrace of the Australian flag.”

“Yet it is not surprising that in this land of the “fair go” symbols which articulate exclusivism rather than belonging decline in popularity. The Eureka Flag has long been viewed this way, being joined more recently by the Southern Cross,”

Our Icons in order of “most proud”

1. Australian Flag

Australian Flag | McCrindle Research

2. Australian Made

Australian Made | McCrindle Research

3. Australian Aboriginal Flag

Australian Aboriginal Flag | McCrindle Research

4. Boxing Kangaroo

Boxing Kangaroo | McCrindle Research

5. Southern Cross

Southern Cross | McCrindle Research

6. Eureka Flag

Eureka Flag | McCrindle Research

Books by Mark McCrindle: Word Up, The Power of Good, The ABC of XYZ [CHRISTMAS SPECIAL]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's that? Less than a month to go before Christmas? While we're sure we're not the only ones wondering where 2012 went, we know you'll appreciate this!

From now until Christmas, we've pulled down the prices of all three of our books on sale. You can grab The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations, The Power of Good: True stories of great kindness from total strangers, and Word Up: A Lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st Century, all by Mark McCrindle

Buy one book for $25
Buy any two books for $35
Buy all three books for $40

Shop online now or call the McCrindle offices on +61 2 8824 3422 to make an order! Kgo!
(bulk orders are taken over the phone)

Christmas Special | McCrindle Research Books: Word Up, The Power of Good, The ABC of XYZ

Download & print: How to Speak Gen Z - The alphabet according to Generation Z [RESOURCE]

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Speak Gen Z slang language | McCrindle ResearchPeople have been inventing slang forever, and while some slang words last for centuries, the slang lexicon is always changing. Each budding generation comes up with its own language or languages, generally used among peers.

Last week we blogged and shared our latest resource on language and generations - a set of (virtual) flip-cards titled, How to Speak Gen Z: The alphabet according to Generation Z. It was such a hit, we decided to make it into a printable resource for you!

Click here to download the PDF

For more information on youth slang and language, Mark McCrindle has written a book titled Word Up: A Lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st Century, which boasts such chapters as Influences on 21st Century Language, Literacy and the New Generations, and Youth Slang.

These chapters and more can be downloaded from our Free Resources page here.
For more information on Word Up, click here to visit the website.
To purchase Word Up, click here to be taken to our online store.

How to Speak Gen Z: the alphabet of Generation Z on flip cards [INFOGRAPHIC]

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to speak Gen Z: The alphabet according to Generation Z | McCrindle Research

We are in the midst of a generational landmark, as the first of Australia’s “Digital Integrators” (Generation Z) commence their final school exams.

Born between 1995-2009, Australia’s 4.6 million Generation Zs are almost exclusively the children of Generation X, and they are truly the 21st Century generation, with the whole of their formative years lived in this century. This is best seen through the fact that Generation Z can best be described as digital integrators – being exposed to digital technology from their early formative years, they have integrated it seamlessly into their lives compared to adults - the digital transactors, who use technology in functional, structural ways, like a tool which they pick up to use and then put back down again.

While they are today’s children and teenagers, within a decade Generation Z they will comprise 12% of the workforce. While predicted to be the most educated generation in Australia’s history (90% expected to complete Year 12 in 2015), their unique way of communicating has caused debate on whether literacy standards are declining in the classroom as text-talk and “slanguage” (slang language) infiltrates the written word.

Their grandparents, the Baby Boomers, first brought youth slang into the spotlight with words like coolman and dude, but the youth of today draw from a larger repertoire of slang which is radically different from previous youth lexicons, compounded by new technology and opened up by a global youth culture. Generation Z could be termed the ‘cut and paste’ generation, having whole conversations using phrases they’ve picked up from movies, viral YouTube clips and other media they consume.

Here are just some of the thousands of words that have come into being over the last few years... welcome to the ABC of speaking Gen Z!

For more information on language in the 21st Century Mark McCrindle has written a book titled, Word Up; a Lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st Century. Visit the website here.

How to speak Gen Z: The alphabet according to Generation Z | Infographic | McCrindle Research

Slanguage (Slang language) in Australia amongst Generation Z

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Word Up, a lexicon and guide to communication in the 21st century by Mark McCrindle, McCrindle Research.

Slanguage Top 5’s

In Word Up we analyse slanguage in Australia and particularly amongst Generation Z. Here's a summary:

Top 5 Changed Slang words





Mighty fine

Disappointment or surprise



Very skilled or good looking



Cute or adorable


Male - usually a friend

Anyone, male or female


Lots of love

Laugh out loud

Top 5 blended words




Chill + relax


Confused + puzzled


The Twitter world


What's up - a greeting


Using the internet at work for non-work purposes

Top 5 overused slanguage











Fo' shiz

For sure

Literacy & the new generations [Word Up]

Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Literacy and the new generations: An excerpt from Word Up by Mark McCrindle

For as long as we can remember, there have been concerns about supposed declining literacy standards. Some blame teaching methods and, others, teachers.

More recently, the media have said technology is to blame, that too much texting has caused young people to frgt hw 2 wrt prprly. Has technology actually had a negative impact on literacy standards? If not (and if literacy standards have indeed declined), then what is to blame?

Concerns, Statistics and Comparisons

It’s not just parents who are bemoaning the state of education. Ninety-four per cent of respondents to one of our surveys said that young people’s spelling and grammar have deteriorated since their parents’ time. Nearly 70% of those respondents blamed education standards...

This chapter of Word Up, A Lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st Century covers:

Word Up: A Lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st Century | Mark McCrindle | Literacy, education, trends
  • The teaching of reading and writing: past and
    present comparisons
  • The reading wars: whole language vs. phonics
  • Back to basics: reading, writing and arithmetic
  • Public vs. private
  • Teacher literacy
  • HSC reading lists: past and present
  • Literacy in a digital age

To read more, click here to download this chapter of Word Up.
For more downloads visit the Free Resources page.

Cringing over cliches

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The word is out: Australians are so over clichés. There’s no question that we love to hate them. Yet having said that, we use them in droves, big time.

General Clichés 

You’ve heard them all before... perhaps you’ve even used them yourself? Either way, Australia has spoken and these are the clichés we love to hate.

1. At the end of the day  

2. Let’s do lunch 

3. It’s not rocket science 

4. 24/7 

5. Calling to touch base 

6. Bring it on  

7. Don’t get me started  

8. As you do 

9. Tell me about it  

10. Your call may be recorded for training purposes

Political Clichés

Politicians are rarely short of something to say, possibly because they are the 2nd biggest offender in terms of using annoying clichés. Here’s a page or two out of their lexicon: 

1. Working families  

2. Not ruling anything in or out 

3. No magic bullet 

4. Can I just say 

5. The jury is still out on that one 

6. Going forward  

7. No brainer  

8. Having said that 

9. Ballpark figure  

10. At this point in time

For more Top 10 workplace, youth and social cliches, check out the whitepaper on our resources page.

Word Up: A Youth Lexicon

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

To find out the meanings of these words, check out our Youth lexicon!

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