Australia is a huge landmass for a country of 23 million people, so it’s not surprising that there are subtle differences in how language has evolved in various states.
Most colloquialisms developed in previous generations – before telecommunications and the media helped spread trends more uniformly the nation – but persist today.
According to Macquarie Dictionary editor Sue Butler, slang terms are now far more uniform across Australia thanks to the media. The same goes for business terms, of which a majority – for example, ‘fiscal cliff’ – have been traced back to the US.
Via the Macquarie Dictionary, here’s how people express five ideas totally differently in each of Australia’s states and territories:
(Mildly derogatory) A person, generally from an outer suburb of a city or town and from a lower socio-economic background, viewed as uncultured; originally typified as wearing a flannelette shirt, black jeans and boots, and having a mullet hairstyle.
New South Wales: Westie, referring to the western suburbs of Sydney
Queensland: Bevan, from the male name; Bev-chick
Western Australia: Bog
Australian Capital Territory: Booner, thought to come from the US word boondocks; Charnie bum, derived from the Canberra suburb of Charnwood
Tasmania: Chigger, from the Hobart suburb of Chigwell
Victoria: Scozzer; Mocca, used predominantly in the Melbourne region
A large, mild-flavoured, pre-cooked sausage, usually sliced thinly and eaten cold.
New South Wales: Baron sausage; Byron sausage; Empire sausage; Windsor sausage
Queensland: Belgium sausage; Windsor sausage
Western Australia: Polony; Pork fritz
Tasmania: Beef Belgium; Belgium sausage
Victoria: German sausage; Pork German
South Australia: Bung fritz; Fritzl
(Derogatory) A 4WD vehicle owned by someone living in an urban area and rarely, if ever, used for off-road driving. Derived from Balmain, a harbourside suburb of Sydney.
Variants (all named for wealthy suburbs in the states' capitals):
Sydney region: Bronte buggy; Double Bay tractor; Balmain buggy; Mosman tractor; Turramurra tractor
Brisbane region: Kenmore tractor
Perth region: Dalkeith tractor
Victoria: Toorak tractor
Adelaide region: Burnside bus
Any of various plants having spiny heads or fruit, found throughout Eurasia and widely introduced elsewhere.
New South Wales: Cat head; Cat's eye; Goat's head
Queensland: Goat's head; Bullhead; Three-corner jack
Western Australia: Doublegee
Victoria: Prickly jack
South Australia: Prickly jack
To convey as a second person on a horse, bicycle, or motorcycle.
New South Wales: Double; Bar; Dinky-double; Dub
Queensland: Double; Bar; Dub
Western Australia: Dink; Dinky; Double-dink
Australian Capital Territory: Dinky-double; Dink
Tasmania: Dink; Double-dink
Victoria: Dink; Double-dink
South Australia: Dinky; Donkey
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