Can You Tell Australian Slang From U.K. Slang?



By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Flashpop/DigitalVision/GettyImages

About This Quiz

The "Land Down Under" or good old "Blighty."  Two very different places, but if you think about it, Australia has its origins as a country thanks to the United Kingdom, even if they used it as a penal colony at first. 

And as is the case with every country, each has their own unique sayings... their own slang, if you will. The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes slang as "an informal nonstandard vocabulary composed typically of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech." Basically, it's colloquial speech for a specific region. 

So just how much slang do you know from the United Kingdom and Australia? Well, no doubt you would have heard the saying "shrimp on the barbie." That's about the most cliche Australian slang there is. What about in the United Kingdom? Someone might invite you around for a "fag and a cuppa" - that's tea and a smoke if you didn't know.

But what other U.K. and Australian slang terms would you be able to pick out? In this quiz, you need to tell us where each slang term is used - either "Down Under" or in "Blighty"! This will put you to the test, but by the end of it, you will be an expert in slang from these two regions.

Good luck! 

"Bush tucker" is consumed in which country?

"Tucker" is an Australian term for food, along the lines of "tuck in." Bush tucker is found in the Outback, a vast region of Australia that is largely uninhabited. An example of bush tucker would be something like witchetty grubs, or perhaps even crocodile meat.


Where might someone be involved in an "argy-bargy"?

"Argy-bargy" is a U.K. slang term for an argument! This generally happens on nights out at the local pub, usually over a game of football!


True or false? In the United Kingdom, "gaffer" is the term for a boss.

Not so much in the corporate world, but in construction and other industries such as that, workers will call their boss "the gaffer." It is also a term that soccer players use for their manager.


In which country would you be if your friend "honked"?

"Honk" is a term used throughout the United Kingdom to describe someone throwing up. This usually happens after a night at the local pub or nightclub, when someone consumes a few too many! Just keep their hair out of it!


If someone offered you a "snag," where would you be?

"Bush tucker" might include a crocodile "snag." But what is it? Well, it seems like Australians like to rename pretty much everything, because a snag is simply a sausage!


It's customary to wear "thongs" to the beach in which country?

No, "thongs" are not what you think, and yes, you can wear them to the beach. Thongs are simply sandals or flip-flops, the perfect footwear for the beach or all summer long Down Under!


Where are you most like to be offered a "stubby"?

Don't be alarmed. If you like cold alcoholic beverages on a sunny day, then Australia is the place to be. A "stubby" is just a bottle of beer.


True or false? In Australia, to "skull" a beer means to down it in one go.

When someone "skulls" their beer they have knocked it back in one go, without a pause. No one should "skull" a "slab" though - that's a carton of beer!


A friend tells you he is spending the night in with the "idiot box." Where does he live?

No, don't worry, it's not his significant other! Another word for it is the "telly." Yes, the "idiot box" is simply a television. Is it still an "idiot box" if you watch general knowledge game shows? Now there's a question...


"You little ripper" is a phrase you will hear often in which country?

"You little ripper" is a classic Australian term. It's a congratulatory saying, along the lines of "That's fantastic." Another similar Australian saying is "Good on ya, mate!"


In which country would "the fuzz" be called to ask a noisy neighbor to turn down their music?

"The fuzz" is United Kingdom slang for the police imported from North America. Interestingly, the ordinary policeman is not armed with a pistol. And that noisy neighbor? He might call the policeman a "copper," yet another slang term for law enforcement in the U.K.


"No drama" is a phrase from which of these below?

Most people in Australia are pretty chill. "No drama" is something someone might say to you if you stood on their toe at a concert and apologized. All it really means is, don't worry, it's cool.


Which country's citizens are more likely to "spit the dummy"?

If you "spit the dummy," you are having a sudden tantrum. It's essentially a healthy Australian reaction against authority.


True or false? "Ivories" in the United Kingdom generally means teeth.

Yes, your "ivories" are your teeth in the U.K. But in both countries, as well as in the U.S. and beyond, the word can also be used for piano keys (tickling the ivories) or even to describe dice. Why? Well, the keys of a piano and dice were made out of ivory in days gone by.


Is "jock" a word that will be used in the United Kingdom?

"Jock" is a bit of a derogatory way in which some people from the United Kingdom describe someone from Scotland. In Scotland, it can be used as a nickname for someone named Jack.


When someone is "earwigging," where would they be living?

Only nosey people "earwig" - don't be one of those people. "Earwigging," or "to earwig," means listening in on someone else's conversation, either in person or on the phone.


In which of these countries would a "mozzie" suck your blood?

They come out at night... and in droves, looking for blood. No, it's not a zombie invasion, it's just mosquitos! In Australia, they simply call these pests "mozzies"


Where would you be likely to hear the term "damp squib"?

The reference to "damp squib" is that when a lit fuse doesn't burn, there will be no fireworks. Basically, it's a disappointment. The phrase can be used in many ways - for example, "I thought the new boss would change things around here, but he is a bit of a damp squib."


A "doofer" is a word used for an unnamed thing in which of these places?

In the U.K., a "doofer" is the same as a doohickey or a thingamajig. When you don't know what it is, you call it a "doofer"! Essentially, it's an object that is unnamed. Oddly enough, in Australia "doofer" is also slang, but it refers to someone who joins in a dance party held in the bush.


Someone putting in the "hard yakka" is in which country?

It's tough putting in the "hard yakka," especially during the Australian summer. But someone's gotta do it. "Hard yakka" is simply doing some hard work. It may be on your actual job or out in your garden, for example.


Where are you likely to hear the phrase "fair dinkum"?

"Fair dinkum" is about the greatest Australian phrase there is. But what does it mean? In a nutshell, it means honestly. For example, "I drank 26 stubbys last night? Fair dinkum?" "Yeah, fair dinkum!"


Where would locals call you a "drongo"?

Don't be a "drongo." But what is it? Easily put, its someone being a fool. And Australians will call you that, when if and when they need to.


True or false? "Joe Bloggs" is a term favored in the United Kingdom?

"Joe Bloggs" is used to describe an average person - normally one that you have not met. For example, "Who is that Joe Bloggs over there?" In many other English-speaking countries, including Australia, the name is "Joe Blow."


The term "all mouth and no trousers" originated where?

A person who is full of it but not likely to act on their bravado is said to be "all mouth and no trousers." This term is used in the United Kingdom.


The term "blinding" is more likely to be used in which country?

It's got nothing to do with eyesight or a lack thereof. In fact, it is a term used to praise someone. For example, "That was a blinding goal you scored." Or it could be changed to, "You played a blinder!"


In which country would something be described as "going off"?

The term "going off" is used to describe an event, like a rock concert. For example, "It's really going off here." But it also could be used to describe an area with lots of people. For example, "The mall is going off."


In which country would you use the word "conk"?

There is nothing nice about a "conk," that is for sure. This phrase, used in the United Kingdom, refers to a blow to the nose or head, as in "He conked his head against the door!"


If someone calls you a "larrikin" where are they likely to be from?

"Larrikin" is an Australian term to describe someone who is up for a bit of fun or someone who always jokes around. It describes someone who is a prankster at heart.


Is "smoko" an Australian term?

"Smoko" is certainly an Australian term. It describes a smoke break. It might be used like this: "Hey mate, I am just going on smoko, be back in five minutes." Sometimes a smoko can be a break for any reason, like to get coffee, that has nothing to do with smoking.


In which country would someone say they are "stoked"?

"Stoked" is a classic Australian term that actually comes from the surfing culture in the country. It means to be happy or pleased. Someone who is "super stoked" is very happy, then.


"Fortnight" is a term common to which of the places below?

No, it's not just a popular computer game the kids like to play. If someone will see you in a "fortnight," it means a period of two weeks.


"Sickie" is a popular term from which of these options below?

It's not too difficult to work out what a "sickie" is, is it? It's taking a day off from work because you are ill, or perhaps you just feel like a day off work.


Is "bent as a nine-bob note" a term from the United Kingdom?

Yes, that is a term that is used in the U.K. It refers to someone who doesn't do their dealings within the law, who is dishonest and corrupt.


When someone says they are "shooting through" which country are they likely to be in?

This term is used when someone is leaving a place. "I'm shooting through" means they are on their way to their next destination. Usually used when someone has arrived but won't be staying long.


True or false? "Goon" is a word from the United Kingdom, referring to a form of alcohol.

"Goon" is a word that may be used in the United Kingdom, as it is in the United States, to describe a henchman. In Australia, it is the slang name given to cheap boxed wine.


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