Having grown up in Australia, I sometimes take our weird and wonderful lingo for granted. Sure, every culture develops its own unique slang; I thought I had learned Spanish until I turned up in Spain to discover that people have a ‘language within a language,’ countless funny and often rude idioms and phrases that they just don’t teach you at school.
Australia is the same. You haven’t truly experienced Australia until you’ve had a chat with a random bogan in a bluey, durry in hand while smashing down a tinny in his stubbies and thongs. If you’re lucky, he might let you help yourself to the contents of his esky, chuck a snag or two on the barbie and discuss whether he reckons the pies have got a chance of winning the flag this year. (Pro tip: the pies are a bunch of sooks and sheilas, catters all the way mate).
Needless to say, when foreigners come into contact with all this nonsense it can be a bit of a head-scratcher. The internet is providing tons of opportunities for a bit of cross-cultural education, and it’s always fun trying to help the uninitiated try to decode our unique way of speaking. Need proof? Scroll down below to check out some Tumblr users who were just fair dinkum stumped by it all, and needed an explanation. What do ya reckon? Let us know what you think in the comments!
In order to help you with the short intro above, here are a few definitions:
Bogan: An uncouth or unsophisticated person regarded as being of low social status, similar to your American redneck, but used in a slightly more good-natured way.
“Check out that fella with the mullet. What a bogan!”
Durry: A cigarette, usually of the Winny Gold or PJ 30s variety. But never menthols. That shit’ll give you cancer.
Tinny: A can of ice-cold beer, often a VB, Tooheys, Swan Lager or XXXX, depends on what state you’re in. But never, ever a Fosters.
“Hey Macca, ya got a spare durry mate? I’m fangin’ for one over here.” “Yeah righto Robbo, hold me tinny and I’ll grab ya one, ya bloody scab.”
Bluey: A blue singlet, traditionally made by the brand Bonds, that you can wear to just about any occasion in the summer months. Often also referred to as a ‘wife-beater,’ but this term has become increasingly frowned upon.
“Bloody hell Charlene, I’m down to my last 6 blueys! Grab us a pack next time you’re in town will ya?”
Stubbies and Thongs: Completing the bogan uniform are apair of short, tight shorts, perfect for showing off those chicken legs and accentuating the beer gut. And no, not a G-string (G-banga), thongs are footwear that are otherwise known as flip-flops or, hilariously, ‘jandals’ if you’re a kiwi (New Zealander).
“I’ve busted a plug on me thongs again, anyone got any gaffa tape?”
Esky: A portable, hard-plastic cooler that comes in a variety of colours and sizes, and is most useful for chocking up with ice and beer. Also makes a great makeshift chair at the cricket or footy.
Snag: A sausage. A staple at any normal BBQ (barbie), often wrapped diagonal-wise on a single piece of white bread and smothered in tomato sauce. A few grilled onions thrown on top if you’re feeling particularly gourmet. Other barbie favourites include: rissoles, which are basically burger patties with a few breadcrumbs mixed in; steak, T-bone is a favorite cut, and a bit of salad on the side. Contrary to the popularized saying ‘chuck another shrimp on the barbie,’ that must be happening in another part of Australia coz I never saw a shrimp at a barbie in my life.
Pies and Catters: Collingwood and Geelong football clubs. Australian football is the national sport, one that has to be watched to be understood. It’s physical, fast-paced and full of action, and the players wear basically blueys and stubbies (see above) in true bogan style. Teams fight it out each season to win the championship (flag), culminating in Grand Final Day (think superbowl) which stops the nation as two teams go toe-to-toe in front of 100,000 people at the magnificent MCG, an iconic stadium in Melbourne. The Pies (Collingwood) are a historically successful team that everyone loves to hate, kind of like the Dallas Cowboys or Manchester United of the AFL.
Fair Dinkum: or ‘fair dinks’ for short (we love to shorten everything at every opportunity), this versatile phrase is used for emphasis, surprise, or confirming that something is true. I would use it most often in the same way you would say “seriously?”
“Did ya hear Jonno got busted rootin Daryl’s missus?!”
“Whaaat. Fair dinkum?”