Be Advised, Language Lessons, Learnin', Pontifications

Language Lessons: Talkin’ Strayin’ S-Z

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See Part 1: A-D here.

See Part 2: F-S here.

Language Lessons: Talkin’ Strayin’ S-Z 
Apocalypse Josh

So, the time has come to draw a close to my A to Z of Aussie lingo. I hope its been educational and amusing, and prevented more punch-ons than it started. These are by no means complete lists, and the lingo is heavily regional and varies in different communities, but I hope I’ve give a broad enough basis to communicate with any stray Aussies you might come across and maybe even interpret for them. In this final segment, we’ll cover from S – Z and discuss some pretty obscure Aussie terms. Enjoy!

Shag: To have sex, a milder term for fuck, but only having a sexual connotation. “We were at Dave-o’s party and there was this Sheila from out of town there, someone’s cousin, and I really wanted to shag her, but, it wasn’t happening, mate. She’d had too much to drink, and I’m a gentleman”.

Sheila: A girl, a chick. Diminutive term for a generic female person. “They all piled out of the wreck, lucky no one was hurt. Three dudes and a Sheila. She looked a bit flustered, and one of the dudes got on the phone to call someone and the Sheila started yelling at him to call the cops, but they weren’t having none of that.”

Snag: A Sausage, like a bratwurst or Frankfurt. There are myriad kinds of sausage in the Australian culinary line-up. The humble snag is really the simplest and least glamorous, perfect for a Saturday morning Bunning’s Sausage sizzle or other mass-public catered event. “Sure mate, bring them and the kids, we’ll throw some snags on the barbie and everyone can go for a dip in the pool.”

Snap: A response to a simultaneous event or phrase. Used much like “jinx”. Originates from the simple make-a-pair card game of the same name. “Macca’s run? Macca’s run! SNAP!”

Sannga: A contraction of sandwich, equivalent to “sammich.” Generally a simple two-slices of bread and one ingredient bachelor-grade meal. “I’m afraid all I can offer you is a cuppa and a cheese and vegemite sannga. Not even an snags left, that mob cleared me right out!”

SAUCE!: Made not of chocolate or apples, but tomatoes. What would usually be called ketchup is just called sauce in Australia. Good on snags, burgers and chips. Not to be used on steak, unless you’re a monster. Could be put on pasta, but not where your Italian neighbor’s gonna can see, or it’s the wooden spoon for you!

Specie: A sporting term referring to the “spectacular” aerial tackles of “Aussie Rules Football” in which one player runs up or otherwise climbs up an opponent to intercept and catch an incoming football, marking and thus securing it for their side for the next play. Quite a rough technique that can lead to impact and cleat-related injuries on the marked player, and to the performer upon landing due to the heights attained and the marked player’s movements. Also used as the cheer for when such an event takes place, on or off the field. “We were at Stevo’s wedding and when they threw the bouquet, up comes this Sheila, Sheryl, from three rows back and just goes mental, chucks a speccie, up over the bridesmaids and takes it, but didn’t stick the landing, did her ankle, had to call an ambo .. not pretty.”

SUSS: Contraction of “suspect.” Suggesting something isn’t quite right, or in some way tainted or illegal. “The whole unit couldn’t be any more suss if it were run out of a van parked behind a Target, where a guy called stinky Pete who wears a raincoats all year long makes belts out of shopping bags. But, we elected them.”


Spew: 
Vomit, to vomit, to chuck. “Mate, pull over quick, I’m gonna spew, hurry, hurry. BLAAAAARRRGH, too late.”

Sun’s coming down like an anvil on a nail: Colloquial expression indicating a very hot, overpoweringly sunny day. Could also be used as an authority figure in response to wrong doing. “If I hear about any of you blighters trying to shag those exchange students, I’ll be coming down on you like an anvil on a nail, understand?”

Texta: The Brand name of a felt-tipped marker. Kids coloring pens. Generally not permanent markers for those, it’s usually a Sharpie. “Hey, I found these Textas’s in the porta-crapper, figured we could use them for maps. But we need to get some sharpies, cause those dick pics just wipe off.”

Tea time: Dinner. Supper as a meal term is not used much in Australian conversation, but “tea time” is fairly common. Not to be confused with a tea-break, which is equivalent to a coffee or smoke break. “Go out if you want but if you’re not home by tea time there’ll be hell to pay.”

Trooper: A person showing resilience, especially through adversity. Also the private rank in the ADF. “Look at Trooper Marra there, yomping up that hill, in full pack in the rain. Pack’s as big as he is. What a bloody Trooper! Credit to the Regiment he is.”

Root: A coarse equivalent to shag. Also to break. “Mate, I could totally do with a root.

Rooted: To break something or have sex. “Can I get a lift down to the servo for smokes? The car’s rooted”

Pie: The idea of what constitutes pie differs between Australia and North America. In North America a dinner plate-sized baked desert under a pastry crust is “just like mom used to make.” However, in Australia the pie is a savory dish. Sized like a hamburger, filled with minced ‘beef” and gravy, in an all-enclosing crust, and eaten with care because “Caution: contents HOT”. A squirt of tomato sauce and you have yourself a hot, almost nutritious meal when at the footy, on the building site, or between classes.

Pissed: To get angry, or drunk, sometimes both. Derived from the term “piss” which refers to booze. “So the boss came down from section five and was seriously pissed. After the shellacking he gave us, we’re gonna all need to get pissed tonight!”

Piss-up: Drinking party, a kegger. A most Australian of conventions, usually centered around a BBQ. The piss-up is rarely the advertised formal goal, but it just takes a bit of imagination, a wink and a nod to escalate from “just a  barbie at Kev’s” to a full on piss-up over a long weekend.

Piss off: Dismissive insult, also a negative reply. Can be used in a variety of contexts including to depart an unpleasant situation. “So I told him if he was that pissed off that Davo’s kids BBQ wasn’t a piss-up, that he could pack up and piss off, right smart.”

Povo: Poor, a contraction of “poverty stricken”. Often used as an excuse for not taking part in some shared activity, or potentially to escape paying one’s share. More often than not it’s a legitimate plea for aid. “Sorry mates, I’d love to chip in but rent was due and the kid’s birthday, so I’m totally povo till next pay”.

POETS Day: Piss Off Early it’s Friday, a cute way of saying “I’m pissing-off and taking the rest of the day as a Poets Day.” Perhaps there will be wine, beer, or dancing on bar-tops with a tie around one’s head. The important thing is there is a long standing Aussie tradition of “knocking off early once the work is done, and going for a drink”.

Where ya goin’? To the pub?: A self answering question. Usually asked in pairs, and often obvious. Another Australian quirk. “Is it wet out? Maybe I better take a coat?”

Westie: The majority of the Australian urban populations tend to live along the Eastern coast, from Cairns and Brisbane in the north, Sydney further south, and in the more bayside cities of Adelaide and Melbourne (where I live). It seems a socioeconomic effect of being far from the coast is that the less affluent suburbs are further west. In keeping with the fine Aussie tradition of abbreviation these folks are called “Westies” and generally looked down upon by the more sophisticated Eastern suburbanites.

Yeah nah: An acknowledgment and negative reply all in one. “I have heard and understood you, but I disagree.” A polite way of declining. “Maccca’s run? Yeah-nah. I’m povo.” The inverse, “Nah-yeah,” can also be used as appropriate.

Yeah-yeah-nah: An expansion of “Yeah nah.” “I have heard and understood you, I agree but I have to decline.” Sometimes you can concur with the situation but not be able to do anything about it.

Yobbo: A special kind of hoodlum, causing trouble and being obnoxious. “What is that noise? Is it bin night? Is it a riot? No, its just some yobbo’s coming home early from the pub! PULL YOUR HEADS IN, you Westie Dickheads!” Derisive, and counter to the usual appreciation of someone who bucks the system. Nobody likes a yobbo.

Wedges: Finger sized slices of potato, with skin on, deep fried and often served with our cream and sweet-chili sauce. As distinct to the rectangular, peeled, jumbo French-Fried style “chip”. “I could murder some wedges mate. Hold the sour cream, don’t want to spew.”

Zed: The last letter of the alphabet. It gets pronounced differently in Australia, for no good reason I can determine. Aye, Bee, Cee, Dee, Eee, Eff, Gee…. Double You, Eckss, Why, ZED. As in: “Whose motorcycle is that? It’s Zed’s. Who is Zed? Zed’s dead, baby, Zed’s dead.” Also, the white African horse with the black stripes?” A zeb-brah not a ZEE-Brah. Don’t ask me why.

There you have it, my Aye to ZED of Australian terms of phrase, a user’s guide to Strine! I’d be remiss however if I neglected our antipodean cousins from New Zealand. They’re the Zack of the aNZac name and we’re as proud as punch of them, especially when they’re not over here collecting welfare and getting famous (I’m looking at you, Russell Crowe). They also talk funny. Here are a few choice terms that spring to mind. Hope they help you communicate with any Kiwis you come across.

Chully bun: “Chilly bin,” an ice box, a cooler. “You brought beers? Great, chuck them into the chully bun, bro.”

Chup: “Chips,” hot chips. In combination with battered deep fried fish, served with vinegar and salt or sauce as “FUSH und CHUPS.”

Jandal: A sandal, or flip-flop. Thongs. Footwear, not underwear. “Get your jandals off the table you duffer, here comes the fush und chups.”

Sex: The number that comes between five and seven. Play games with your pet Kiwi, get them to order fush and chups for you and your five friends, and get them to repeat the order. “So, it’s sex battered pieces of flake. Sex dim sims. Sex pieces of calamari, sex bottles of Coke and a fried pineapple ring for Stevo, you cunt?”

Shear: To cut the wool off a sheep. “No I’m not shearing this sheep with anyone, get your own you randy bastards”.

This isn’t really a thing, I’m just teasing. It’s a common joke between the Aussies and Kiwis. We say that Kiwis are outnumbered by sheep, and farmers get lonely …

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About the Author: Josh Orth is a second generation expat currently dwelling in the arguably civilized outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. He’s lived in deserts, jungles and urban sprawls around the world and traveled/adventured into assorted inhospitable places around the world and has a keen sense of the speed with which the trappings of ‘civilized Western life’ can disappear. This has led him to begin writing about his interests and observations when it comes to the gear, skills and other necessities of self reliance of being equipped for whatever a capricious, occasionally indurate life might throw at him. This isn’t by any means to say our eccentric friend truly experiences genuine vorfreude about dystopian life, but if he had to he might not complain. Read more by Josh at Apocalypse Equipped.

Grunts: vorfreude.

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We’re not saying Josh flies a PL-12 Airtruk. We’re just saying this guy and Josh have never been seen in the same room together at the same time.
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Apocalypse Josh
Josh Orth is a second generation expat currently dwelling in the arguably civilized outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. He's lived in deserts, jungles and urban sprawls around the world and traveled/adventured into assorted inhospitable places around the world and has a keen sense of the speed with which the trappings of 'civilized Western life' can disappear. This has led him to begin writing about his interests and observations when it comes to the gear, skills and other necessities of self reliance of being equipped for whatever a capricious, occasionally indurate life might throw at him. This isn't by any means to say our eccentric friend actually longs for life in dystopia, but if he had to he might not complain. Read more by Josh at Apocalypse Equipped.

3 Comments

  1. Bennie Hill used to do a routine in which he was promoting a sale at a food store where, with a coupon they could save two pence on a can of something. The routine ends with Bennie exhorting the viewer to tell their neighbors: “2 P off!”

    Anyway I thought it was funny….

    1. Never saw that particular one, but I like it; it’s Benny Hill all over.
      My name’s Frank, as well. Maybe we all find that one funny.

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