Speak English Like an Australian: Vital Australian Slang

australiaIf you are headed Down Under there are a few expression you must know before you go so we are dedicating this entry in our Speak English Like an Australian series to the most vital Australian slang.


Mate is an informal word for friend and it is common to hear ‘G’day mate’ in Australia. This expression is seen as being friendly and represents equality. Men particularly use the word ‘mate’ amongst male friends or when passing another male on the street and casually acknowledging them. Women hardly ever say mate, but they may say it to their male counterparts.

The term mate also can mean dude, man or buddy.


A: What are you doing tomorrow? Want to go to the skate park?

B: Yeah sure, mate. See ya then.

Note: Don’t say ‘G’day Mate’ to a woman. Ever.

Fair dinkum

The term ‘fair dinkum’ can be used in a few different ways depending on the context of the conversation.

  1. Fair dinkum means true or genuine
    A: Peter is a fair dinkum guy. He’ll help you out.
  2. Fair dinkum is also used to assess whether someone is being genuine or not.
    A: I saw a shark down at Rainbow beach this morning!
    B: Are you fair dinkum?
  3. Fair dinkum can also be used to express surprise or question something someone is telling you.
    A: I sold my house and quit my job. I’m moving up north!
    B: Fair dinkum!?

Note: In this example, fair dinkum means: ‘Are you for real?’ or ‘are you serious?’

How ya goin’? 

This literally means ‘How are you?’ Australians are known for shortening their words and abbreviating everything and this is a perfect example. In this case, ‘ya’ is said instead of you and ‘goin’ is used instead of saying going. This expression also has nothing to do with going somewhere.

Alternatively, you may also hear the expression ‘How are you doing’? or ‘How’s life’?

If you want a little more practice before your trip be sure to visit our mainpage!

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