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Australian regionalisms


Word Map is mapping Australian regionalisms - words, phrases or expressions used by particular language groups. Add your regionalism or search to see what others have contributed.


Do you pack your port or your suitcase?
When going to the beach do you wear your cossie, swimmers or togs?
Do you say peanut butter or peanut paste?
What does dink mean? - (The regional meaning of ‘dink’ is ‘to ride your bike with someone else on the back’.)

What is a regionalism?

It’s a word, phrase or expression used by a particular community in particular parts of the country. For instance, the small fish called whitebait in New South Wales and Victoria is called anchovy in Tasmania, while blue swimmer crabs in New South Wales are called blue manna crabs in Western Australia.

Below is a list of the Advanced Search categories:

Aussie Slang
Australian Slang

Aussie Slang

The Australian language (Strine) is truly unique. It had its beginning from undesirable British subjects shipped to Australia as convicts and native-born inhabitants known as Aborigines. Introduction to this strange new land was often difficult and played an strong part in the formation of Australian sayings.

Among the convicts many served strenuous labour task constructing roads and government buildings. Others were assigned to toil the harsh land under the watchful eye of a soldier. Along with the Aborigine, and his indigenous culture, came a diverse discovery of unusual wildlife, plants, minerals, and for the elusive metal - gold.

In the year 1851 news of immense gold finds in the state of New South Wales and Victoria led man adventurous individuals away from the safety and shelter of the city to seek fame and fortune in the outback. Isolation and little law enforcement consequently bought about much greed and bloodshed among the miners. Only a small minority eventually gained wealth.




Erstellt: 2014-02

Australian Slang
What is the difference between slang, colloquialism and regionalism? (W3)


Susan Butler from Macquarie Dictionary tells all ...

Australians have always had a love affair with slang. The early convicts, settlers and military all spoke the slang current in their home country, Britain of the 18th century, and this was transported with them to the Great South Land, starting a tradition of "Australian slang" that is still very much with us today.

Slang is an unruly beast and to generalise about it is difficult. The differences between "slang", "colloquialism" and "jargon" are not clear-cut. In the expressions "turf slang", "student slang", "political slang", "kids' slang", "skater slang", etc., the term "slang" may be replaced with "jargon". The term "Australian slang" is often loosely used to refer to what is simply "Australianism", that is, a word coined in "Australian English". And the borderline between "slang" and "regionalism" is often obscured by the fact that so much of both exists in the spoken rather than the written language, in informal rather than formal contexts.

Slang is sometimes described as language with its shirtsleeves rolled up. It is a relaxed - deliberately so. Speakers of slang know that they are among friends where the use of slang is often a sign of solidarity. To be successful slang needs to be vivid, humorous, ever-changing and sometimes vulgar.

American English heavily influences today's slang in Australia. In some instances we are conscious of this, but often we quickly forget. Who could do without some common words as "floozy", "gobbledygook", "jinx phoney" and "stooge"? Words which have been with us so long that most people could not spot them as "Americanisms". Such recent arrivals as "wimp", "geek", "dork" and "wuss" are commonly used by the younger members of the community and are not considered by them to be Americanisms. In another ten years who will know or care about their American origin?

Slang can be limited in the community of speakers who use it. Particular activities can give rise to such a special community. Surfers use terms like "gnarly" and "rad", racegoers use expressions like "bet London to a brick", and "mudlark".

But slang can also be limited by the generation of speakers - "children's slang" differs from "oldies' slang", and by the particular region - cobber though dated on the mainland is still alive and well in Tasmania and often shortened to cob.

It is at this point that regionalism and colloquialism overlap - "cobber" is a regional colloquialism. It is informal language but limited to a particular region of Australia.

So colloquialism may be limited to relaxed and informal occasions in a general or a special context, but regionalism is limited by geography, by the physical boundaries of the language community which has created it.

Aboriginal English (W3)

"Aboriginal English" is the name given to the different forms of the minority dialect spoken by Aboriginal people in Australia. It is an important marker of ethnic identity.


Aboriginal English
(written by Diana Eades)
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Macquarie Concise Dictionary
Book of Slang
Australian English

Macquarie Concise Dictionary permits you to look up any word in the concise version this popular Australian reference work. (Australia's leading online dictionary)
Since it was first published in 1981, the Macquarie Dictionary has become firmly established as the record of Australian English. Many smaller and specialised dictionaries, as well as thesauruses and other reference works have contributed to Macquarie's reputation as Australia's leading language reference publisher.

The Macquarie Book of Slang is a complete record of the informal side of Australian English. It therefore necessarily includes items which are explicitly sexual or coarse or offensive.

War of Words

The new millennium, or the noughties, to give it its slang designation, ushers in a new era of Australian slang. A battle royal is underway. The media-driven influx of American slang is relentlessly battering against the bastion of traditional native coinage.

This linguistic tussle, this very real war of words, is documented in the Macquarie Book of Slang. "Bikie slang", "skater slang", "surfie slang", "schoolyard slang", "rhyming slang", "geek-speak", "cop-speak", "kids'-speak", "teen-speak", plus all the old-time classic dinkum Aussie slang expressions are to be found in the Macquarie Book of Slang.

This comprehensive repository of current slang is an indispensable tool for parties on both sides of the engagement. New American borrowings are listed side by side with new words born of traditional Aussie linguistic innovation and humour. Which words to revile and which to love? Well, that is in the lap of the reader!


Listed below are some articles about Australian English written by Sue Butler, Publisher, Macquarie Dictionary.



Informationen zu Australiens Tierwelt
Australien Slang









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