It might be the same language, but the different meanings between Australia, England and America can cause all sorts of confusion. For example, my Mum moved from England to Australia 25 years ago. She discovered her understanding of English was vastly different to ours when someone yelled across an office 'Someone pass the Durex!". Apparently 25 years ago, Aussies called sticky tape 'Durex', whilst in Pommy Land that was a condom brand. (We've now caught up with the rest of the world and recognize it as a condom also).
My English uncle got very confused listening to me talking about stockings and pants. He thought I was being rude.
In honour of this language divergence I thought it might be helpful (and interesting!) to put together a basic dictionary of commonly used words, which have potentially confusing, embarrassing or offensive meanings (depending on what country you're from). This is based on a brainstorming session with my family and we may have some of the American meanings slightly wrong. Please let me know if we do. These are also the words most commonly
used in OZ. We do sometimes use English or American terminology because we're so influenced by our UK heritage and American t.v.
I've listed the Australian version of a word first and then attempted to put the equivalent word in English or American. Abbreviations used: Oz
= Australian, UK
An Aussies Guide To English
Tip: We like to shorten words.
and so on... (well, we are
known for being laid back. 😊)
Food and Drink
Biscuit ("bickie" is a baby or a Nana word. Yuck) = cookie (US)
Icy pole = ice lolly (UK) (whilst in UK the icy pole is only the type in the tube, for us it's any
water based, frozen, single serve 'ice lolly'.)
Jam = jelly (US) (we wouldn't dream of having 'peanut butter and jelly
Jelly = jello (US)
Lollies = candy (US), sweets (UK)
Orange Juice = O.J (US)
Pancake = flap jack (UK)
Scone = biscuit (US)
Soft drink= soda (US), pop (UK)
Toasted Sandwich = jaffle (US)
G-String = thong (US)
Jumper = sweater (US)
Pants = trousers (UK)
Singlet = vest (UK)
Stay ups = stockings (UK)
Stockings= pantyhose (UK) (we also use it for the sexier half leg lacy ones, but most Aussie girls call pantyhose 'stockings' too.)
Sunnies (sunglasses)= shades (US)
Thongs = flip flops (UK)
Undies (or 'briefs') = pants (UK)
Vest = waistcoat (UK)
House and Street
Bungalo = granny flat (UK) or shack (OZ).
Double Storey= house (UK)
Footpath = sidewalk (US), pavement (UK)
House= bungalo (UK) (Don't tell an Aussie they have 'a lovely bungalo', they'll think you're saying their house is a small shack)
Loo = toilet
PA (Public Address) System = Tanoy (UK)
Vacuum Cleaner = Hoover (UK)
School or Office
Bandaid = sticking plaster (it's technically a brand name)
Cigarette, ciggie, smoke = fag (UK)
= Math (US)
Sticky tape or cellotape = tape
Rubber= eraser (UK) (Used in the right context it also means condom, but generally it means eraser)
Bum, buttocks, butt, arse = fanny (US)
Fanny = female private parts (we call it a 'bum bag' NOT a 'fanny pack'.)
Terms for People
Bogan/Yobbo = Aussie version of 'trailer trash' (US), but sometimes viewed with affection. It really depends on who calls you one as to how it should be taken.
Dag = eccentric, scruffy person, a bit of a 'character'. Often used in an affectionate way.
Daggy= attributes of a dag (meaning, you look a mess with no sense of style. NOT always used in an affectionate way.)
Fag = an offensive term for male homosexual (NOT referring to a cigarette.) Obviously it's best you don't use this term in Australia.
Don't you just LOVE the English language? I find it hilarious. I hope you'll add to my list too!