Gems, Jaffles, and other Australian Lingo

The Culture

After being here 1 (and a bit) months, so far, I’ve picked up on some uniquely Australian words and phrases.  Here they are with their American translations.

  • gems=Tater-Tots
  • jaffle=grilled cheese
  • touch wood=knock on wood
  • brain snap= mind-blowing
  • hundreds and thousands=nonpareil sprinkles
  • diggers=soldiers
  • icy pole=popsicle
  • barracking for=rooting for
  • milk bar=convenience store
  • tea room=break room
  • sauce=condiments
  • savoury biscuits=crackers
  • boot=trunk
  • 000=911 (as in emergencies)
  • ute=pickup truck
  • mince=ground meat
  • fairy floss=cotton candy

Another common language phenomenon is shortening words,  and then often adding an “o” or “ie” to the end.

  • avo=avocado
  • brekkie=breakfast
  • Tassie=Tasmania
  • footy=Australian Rules Football
  • mozzie=mosquito
  • tradies=tradesmen
  • lollies=lollipops/candy
  • Woolies=Woolworth’s (a grocery store)

But wait… There’s more!  Spelling changes also can be confusing.  Australian computers autocorrect the American spelling to the British one-it’s strange.

  • “re”=”er”
    • litre, metre, centre, theatre, calibre, sombre, fibre
  • “our”=”or”
    • colour, savoury, humour, behaviour, rumour, honour
  • “ce”=”se”
    • defence, licence,
  • “s”=”z”
    • organise, apoligise, maximise, minimise, specialise
  • “l”=”ll”
    • enrol, canceled

Bonus strange letter pronunciations.

  • z=zed
  • h=haych

One thought on “Gems, Jaffles, and other Australian Lingo

  1. Elle: I have heard that the world famous McDonald’s fast food restaurants in Australia are quite upscale compared to the ones in the United States. In your opinion is this true? Are the menus similar? Cousin Jim.


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