Aussie Slang from Beyond the Trail

In April two of my dearest friends, Rob and Debra, quit their jobs, sold their house, and left everything behind for a  year of adventures traveling the globe. To stave off my jealousy (I mean, isn’t that everyone’s dream?), I made them promise to send me field reports about neat slang and other language tid bits they learn along the way. Their first report is from Australia, where they have spent a month working on a tea tree oil farm and traveling in an RV to some pretty amazing places. Below are some slang words and phrases they’ve encountered (probably while putting some shrimp on the barbie).

goon: boxed wine
How’s are ya: How are you?
pokies: slot machines
That’s all right: You’re welcome.
windscreen: windshield

They also report that when you ask if someone has the time, the common reply is, “yes.” Then you have to ask again for what the time actually is. To which Debra comments, “smart asses.”

Rob and Debra are tracking their journey on a great blog called Beyond the Trail. Their look into local life and customs in the places they visit makes for a fun an interesting break for us nine-to-fivers in need of a virtual vacation. Check it out on your next lunch break.

More Aussie slang
Here’s a collection of other Aussie slang terms and phrases I’ve gathered from the Outback of the internets.

arvo: afternoon
banana bender: a person from Queensland
bash somebody’s ear: to talk at great length
big red : a large male kangaroo
blowie: a large blow fly
chewie: chewing gum
chook: a chicken
clucky: to feel motherly
dill: a stupid person
dinky-di: a genuine thing
do one’s lolly : to have an angry outburst
earbash: constant chatter
exy: very expensive
feral: a rumor
googie: an egg
hard yakker: hard work
in the nick: to be in jail
jumbuck: a sheep
jumping bulljoe: an aggressive orange and black ant that hops
kark it: to die
like a stunned mullet: to be inactive, lazy
liquid laugh: vomit
mad as a cut snak : an insane person
mozzie: mosquito
mystery bag: a sausage
nark: to annoy or upset someone
Never Never: the far Outback
nicki noo: naked
off your tucker: to lose your appetite
pie eater: a resident of South Australia
plonk: really cheap wine
pommy: a person from England
prang: a motor vehicle accident or collision.
rip snorter: terrific
sandshoes: tennis shoes
scratchy: instant lottery ticket
Sheila: a woman
stonkered: to be absolutely drunk
sunnies: sunglasses
ta!: thank you
tucker: food
up a gum tree: in trouble or confused
wacker: a crazy person
wally: a stupid person
whinger: a person who constantly complains
wog: the flu
wowser: a party pooper
yobbo: a crazy person
ziff: a man’s beard

Interrobang: Is this the coolest name for a punctuation mark ever‽

interrobang symbolIn writing, sometimes it is necessary to express both excitement/surprise and disbelief at the same time. The most accepted method of showing these emotions through punctuation is to use both a question mark (?) and an exclamation point (!).

Did that dragon actually blow bubbles out of his nose?!

You saw Marvin kissing whom outside of study hall?!

However, there is a nonstandard symbol, called the “interrobang,” that melds both the question mark and the exclamation point into a symbol that looks like this: ‽

So, instead, the sentences would look like this:

Did that dragon actually blow bubbles out of his nose‽

You saw Marvin kissing whom outside of study hall‽

The point behind the point
The reason behind the new punctuation mark is to replace the clunky use of two punctuation marks into one elegant symbol, increasing efficiency, style, and general awesomeness.

The name “interrobang” comes from comes from a combination of the words “interrogative point,” which is another name for a question mark, and “bang,” which is printers’ slang for an exclamation point.

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Interrobang origins
In 1962, advertising executive Martin K. Speckter invented the mark, thinking that advertisements would look better if surprised rhetorical questions could be conveyed with a single punctuation mark. He proposed the new mark in a TYPEtalks magazine article, thus launching a fledgling campaign for the interrobang.

For a brief period, it seemed like people might widely adopt the little punctuation mark that could. The year 1966 brought the release of the Americana typeface, which included the interrobang. Two years later, the mark became available on some Remington typewriters.  And during the 1970s, Smith-Corona typewriters also offered the mark.

Using the interrobang
The interrobang is available through Microsoft Word. To use the mark, change your font to Wingdings 2. Then press the key marked with a tilde. (It’s beside the number one key on the top left side of your keyboard.) This will insert an interrobang into your Word document.

Now you will be able to express excitement mixed with surprise and disbelief with one stylish mark. Just imagine yourself typing the following:

Wait, you’re telling me not enough people are in lust with the interrobang‽

Feels good, doesn’t it‽

Erin Servais is the founder of Dot and Dash, LLC, an author-services company focusing on women writers and offering a range of editing, coaching, and social media packages.

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