Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 17: Australian Slang

Sydney Expat Interviews

I have to admit, I resisted picking up Australian slang for ages. But over the years, it’s just crept its sneaky way right into my life to the point where, these days, I literally write messages like this: 

“Cheeky coffee this arvo or brekkie tomo? Heaps keen for a catch up!”

Who even am I??

There are so many Australian phrases that I just adore, and are so much fun to say, that I’ve found resistance to be futile. I was sure some of the Sydney expats will have Aussie-fied their language, as well, so for this month’s interview series, I asked them what bits of Down Under slang they find slipping off their tongues, and there were defo definitely a few common denominators. 

This is the 17th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants linked below, and join me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney.


Question 17: What bits of Australian slang have you picked up?

Name: “Bushranger”
Country of Origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5 Years

“No worries” is like a mantra to me.

Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I’ll admit I said “no worries” frequently before arriving, although I’m sure I say it even more now! “Keen” and “how ya goin?” have also crept into my lexicon.

Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year

Melissa blogs at Leche Love

Not so much for me, yet. My son is using rubbish and bin now. I do use “no worries” a little bit more often though..



Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States

Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

I frequently embarrass myself when talking to my American friends because you just don’t realise how many sayings you’ve picked up and how many words you’ve actually forgotten! Plus having kids means I have to change what I say to what they are learning otherwise it can get confusing! So here are a few of my new words: bin, mate, chuck a u-ey, catalogue (instead of flyer).

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 7 years

Fully, No worries, for sure, ahh yeah.

Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England

Lived in Sydney: 1.5 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

I’ve managed to retain a relatively good Queen’s English so far, despite constant enquiries as to how I’m going, or how I pulled up!

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

Not much, to be honest. I’m still quintessentially English, although I do occassionally drop the odd “arvo” into typed text.

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 2.5 years

Arvo is afternoon. Mate is friend/buddy/colleague/or any random person on the street

Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

How are you going?


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 6 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

“No worries” and “How are you going?” (pronounced “howaryagoin”) are two I say a lot!

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

The biggies I’ve adapted are “No worries” “Keen” “Heaps” “Arvo” “Cheers” “How ya goin?”
(Shane has a comprehensive post about Aussie slang over on Sea Salt Secrets!)

Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 7 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland

No worries. I use this every day. And, “cheers” to say “thank you”. That’s pretty common for me to use now too.


Name: Rachel
Country of Origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 4 Years

I’m still not wholle conversant with the Australian – English, but it still makes me chuckle when I hear some new Aussie lingo. I’d love to drop the occassional “fair dinkum” into daily conversation. I know I say, “‘no worries,’ ‘no dramas’ and ‘how you going'” a fair bit!

Expats, how Aussie do you sound?

Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path
Read Part 8: Questions About Your Home
Read Part 9: What People at Home Think of Australia
Read Part 10: Advice for Moving to Sydney
Read Part 11: A Sydney Weekend
Read Part 12: Australian TV
Read Part 13: Something I Miss From Home 
Read Part 14: Favorite Sydney Restaurant
Read Part 15: The Huntsman Spider
Read Part 16: The Weekend Getaway