Strine - Australian Terms Explained

We reckon that of all of our readers, most of you galahs come from some place else in the world. You're also probably wondering what some of the phrases the kids say actually mean. Then welcome to School Spirit's very own glossary of Australian words and phrases where we will do our best to explain the language as best we can to drongos like you.

What is Strine?

Strine is the Australian language, basically. We Aussies tend to shorten our words, say them faster, and not open our mouths too much. Rumour has it that this is because to open your mouth too far when talking the flies can get in, but that's another story. The word Strine actually comes from the word 'Australian', it's just said faster and becomes 'Strine'. Got it? No? Bugger.

An entire volume was written about Strine by the author Afferbeck Lauder, which is another Strine term. It's a non-de-plume the author used, and it means 'Alphabetical Order'. Try it. Saying alphabetical order fast and you get Afferbeck Lauder. That's what Strine is. Now...on with the explanations and definitions, ya dopey galoots!

We will add to this list as required when we think we've used words in the comic we think might need explanations. If you find any other terms yourself that you would like an explanation for, feel free to either email us or leave a message in the forum. We'll see what we can do.

Strine words and definitions
Avagooweegend In long winded English, 'Have a good weekend'. Who needs those unnecessary letters and spaces?
Bath The everyday tub of water in which you clean yourself. To give somebody a bath, though, does not necessarily mean washing them. It does mean cleaning them up, though, as in belting them in a game or a fight. To come out in front by a large margin. 'I'm gonna give you a right bath, mate!'

The diminutive form of the word 'biscuits'. Anzac bikkies, Tim Tam bikkies, chocolate teddy bear bikkies...the phrase 'tough bikkies' implies the same as 'too bad, put up with it'. We do not have 'cookies' in Australian. The day we do is the day we've officially given in to American television.

Boomer An adult male kangaroo, generally a very big one. Santa Claus is rumoured to exchange his reindeer for six white boomers when he delivers presents Down Under.
Box, The The television. It's shaped like a box. Often called 'the Idiot Box', the Box is an even shorter term for it.
Buckley's Buckley's chance or none. To have Buckley's is to have very little chance of success. In 1802 an expedition left New South Wales to reach Port Phillip Bay in present day Victoria with 300 convicts. One of the convicts was William Buckley. On Christmas Day, 1803, he and two convicts escaped. They starved and were never seen again. Until 1835 when a wild man was found with W.B. initialled on his body. William Buckley had somehow survived living with aborigines for 32 years and had all but forgotten how to speak English. His name lives on as a reference to any pursuit that has a forlorn or slim chance of success or survival.


Usually a term of endearment, but can also be used when angry.     'You little bugger!'     'I'll thump the bugger!'

It can also be used as a verb, meaning to damage something, or to go somewhere. 'Oops...buggered it up.'     'Bugger off!'

There is also a mysterious place called 'buggery', which Australians might tell you to go to if you annoy them too much.

Captain Cook Captain Cook officially discovered the east coast of the Australian continent in 1770 and claimed that entire coast for England, although other parts of the country were discovered as early as 1606, by the Dutch, no less! Therefore, he is a prominent figure in our history. He was killed in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) by the natives. In rhyming slang though, his name means something different. To 'have a Captain Cook' is to have a look. It can also be shortened as in 'have a Captain's'.
Champers Champagne, or, if you're really feeling familiar, bubbly. Pronounced with a soft 'ch', not a hard sound.
Chook Specifically, a female chicken. Chooks also refer to the entire flock, roosters and chicks included. Usually called with the repetitive phrase of 'Here, chook chook chook chook chook!' Any elderly lady can also be referred to as a chook. In this case, the term can be endearing or mildly insulting.
C'mon Another example of the Strine habit of contracting words. The short, quicker way to say 'come on'. For those who are familiar with tennis, you've probably heard Lleyton Hewitt shout it out whenever he wins a point, game, set, match, bet or fight...heh...go little Lleyton!     'C'mon!'
Cornstalk Not in common usage much now, but this used to be an early term for a colonial (anyone from Australia). Australian born, Australian bred, Long in the legs and Thick in the head. Also a generally tall person with light hair.
Digger The quintessential Australian soldier. Folklore has it the name arose because the ANZACs were forced to dig their own trenches under heavy fire when landing at Gallipoli in 1915, hence the name 'Digger'. There are references to diggers in the earlier Boer War as well. The name could have come from the gold era of the 1850s as well. The digger is brave, resourceful, cheery, and above all loyal to his mates, and will follow a man who leads with character, not class. To earn the nickname 'Digger' is generally high praise indeed.
Drongo A foolish person incapable of carrying out any task they are given. This term also closely resembles a 'galah'.

'He did what? Aw, the silly drongo!'

Duck Yes, okay, it's a kind of water bird that goes 'quack'...but in cricketing terms, it means being dismissed without making any runs. Score a duck egg (or zero), and you are out for a duck. Suffer the misfortune or complete lack of skill to go out without making any runs on the first ball and you are out for a golden duck. Usually quite embarrassing. Fortunately it was not a feeling I ever experienced in my one year of junior cricket. Mind you, a high score of 18 and an average of about 5 is nothing to cheer about either, but at least when I went out, I had at least made something!
Dunny The toilet, the long drop, the throne, the holy seat, Parliament, the crapper, the thunderbox, the loo, the toot, the little room, and called the bathroom by Americans. I don't know why. Our bathroom is the place where you wash your hands, brush your teeth and get yourself clean. Strange ways, eh?
Fair Dinkum To be 'fair dinkum' is to be honest and true. It can also be used as an exclamation, or when enquiring about the truthfulness of a topic.    'Fair dinkum?'     'Yeah, fair dinkum!'    'Are you fair dinkum?'     'Yeah! He fair dinkum did!'
Galah A bird of the parrot family, mainly of pink and grey colouring resembling a cockatoo.  When used in regards to people though, it means foolish or silly.     'Did you see that galah? What a dill!'
G'day The great Australian greeting. G'day is simply a shortened form of 'good day'.
Goat An often fiery milk and wool giving animal similar to sheep, although they seem to prefer blackberries than grass. Any old person may also be referred to as a goat, not usually politely. Your goat is also something that the actions of others may get on, or cause to annoy you, and they should really stop if they don't want you to give them a hiding. 'Your nagging is really starting to get on my goat!'
Goog An egg. Usually used in the phrase 'as full as a goog'. You can also be called a goog if you are foolish or silly. It is usually used endearingly in this context. On a side note, an egg, while being a goog, can also be referred to as a bumnut.
Gutless Wonder Anybody who is particular disappointing, scared or weak-hearted, but who never the less has managed to survive despite his short comings. If you pull out of something you may be referred to as a gutless wonder.
Hooroo Goodbye. See ya later.
House Sports In many primary schools, house sports are held each year. There are four teams, and the children are assigned to each team for the duration of their time at school. The houses usually are coloued Red, Blue, Green and Yellow. Occasionally they are given names as well. Each year the House Sports are held and the winning colour House wins a pertetual plaque for that year. There name is engraved upon it, and they have bragging rights until the next House Sports are held the following year.
Howzat The generic cricketing term used to beg the umpire to give a batsman out. Apparently it's Strine for 'How's that?' but I've never actually heard a cricketer use that entire phrase.

'Howzat' is also a pretty cool song by the group Sherbet.

Jake Okay. Everying will work out for the best.     'She'll be jake.'
Lofty A short person. Obviously. What's wrong with that? Redheads get the nickname Bluey.
Mozzie Mosquitos. Those annoying little insects that whine in your ear when you're trying to get to sleep on warm nights and then take a hearty suck of blood from your body. Generally annoying is the common mozzie.
Oi! A quick holler or yell to get someone's attention. You should always have the exclamation mark at the end of any sentence beginning with oi!     'Oi! What's Davey Jones doing with an icy pole?'
Pong An unpleasant smell, although not really foul. There is a definite difference between saying something pongs and saying something stinks or reeks. And no, it is not a very early computer tennis game.
Pull your head in Stop making such a spectacle of yourself. To keep out of the spotlight before you do something you're going to regret later. Basically, you might be told to do this if you're getting a little too big for your britches...
Slab A slab could be several things. It could be the concrete base of a house or shed before construction, or a term for burying somebody (as in slabbing them or putting them into the ground with a headstone). More commonly though, a slab is a carton of two dozen beers. A slab is so much better than a six-pack, and looks better carried on your shoulder.
Snag The humble snag is simply a sausage. They are also known as 'bangers' and 'mystery bags' because you can never really be sure exactly what meat is inside them. A staple at any fair dinkum barbie, the snag is a favourite part of a meal, especially if you're a kid. 'Dead Horse' (sauce) is optional.
Struth! The great Australian exclamation.  A similar equivalent is 'stone the crows.' It's original meaning came from the contraction of 'God's Truth', hence the spelling.

It is strongest when said on its own, and loses some strength when put into a sentence.    'Struth!'     'Struth, I gotta go, hooroo.'

It is pronounced with a hard 'u' sound, not a soft one. As in 'strEWth'. Get it right.

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