New Zealand slang from Beyond the Trail

When we left off with Rob and Debra, our Beyond the Trail travel bloggers, they were backpacking it across Australia, soaking up sun, drinking Fosters (Okay, I don’t know if that part is true.), and rifling both the cities and countryside for fun Aussie slang to share with Grammar Partiers.

The location of their current field report is New Zealand, where they are soaking up the sun, yada yada yada, having an amazing time everyone should be envious of, and rifling both the cities and countryside for fun New Zealand slang to share with us.

Here are some slang words and phrases Debra emailed to me recently that she has heard on her adventures:

brekkie: breakfast
coach: bus
good on ya: good for you
he just cruises/we cruise: chilling
sweet as: something really good
what are ya after: what would you like/what kinds of things are you interested in

In my web travels, I found, which listed loads of kiwi slang words and phrases. I have listed some of my favorites below, but I recommend checking out the site for more slangy goodness.

across the Ditch: across the Tasman Sea
bickies: biscuits
bit of a dag: person with a good sense of humor
blimin’: bloody (like the swear word)
blow me down: an expression of surprise
cadge: to borrow
carked it: died
crook: sick
dairy: corner store
fizzy drink: soda
flash: something that looks new
going bush: become reclusive
grunds: underwear
hard yakka: hard work
ice block: ice pop
manus: idiot
pashing: kissing
plaster: band aid
pong: bad smell
rack off: go away
rattle your dags: command to hurry up
stuffed: tired
ta: thanks
togs: swim suit
winge: to complain
wobbly: tantrum
yonks: a long time

If any of these are out of date, or if you know of any new slang words I should include in my list, please let me know.

You can follow Rob and Deb’s fantastical globe-trotting journey at their blog, Beyond the Trail. With their inside peek into foreign cultures, which only people willing to rough it at camp sites and stray way off the beaten path can have, the site is a must-read.

A lose-loose situation

person surfing with an orange and pink sky behind them

Photo by Pixabay on


lose: the opposite of win; to no longer have something
loose: the opposite of tight


Lose and loose are spelling errors that can cause a lot of trouble. If you confuse one word for the other, spell check won’t catch it, since the spelling is correct, but the word choice is not. With these words, it’s best just to memorize which word to use when.

If you are one of the people who gets stuck on these words, there’s a quick test that can help you decide which word to type. Lose and loose sound differently. Try saying them out loud. You’ll notice that the s in lose makes more of a z sound. Meanwhile, the s in loose makes a regular s sound. So when you’re typing your sentence, stop when you get to lose or loose and say the word out loud. If you say it with a z sound, type lose. If you say it with an s sound, type loose.

It still wouldn’t hurt to run though some examples.


After he tripped, the kitten worried he would lose the race.

Some say if the kitten continues to eat cookies, he will lose his great figure.

In the first example, lose means the opposite of win. In the second example, lose means to no longer have something.


After switching to a healthy diet, the kitten’s pants became loose on him.

Martin asked his wife to tighten the bolt, because it was loose.

In both of these examples, loose means the opposite of tight.

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Fill in the blank with either lose or loose.

1. “Frank, I’m concerned that my spacesuit is too _______ on me,” Koko said.

2. “Shut your yap hole, Koko. I don’t want to ______ time,” Frank said.

3. “What if I ______ the wrench and it floats away into outer space because my gloves are too big and I can’t hold onto it very well?” Koko asked.

4. “Why do you even need the wrench, Koko? There is nothing _______ on the space ship. Everything is tightly secured,” Frank said.

5. “Frank, let’s be serious here. If our space ship falls apart while we are in outer space, we will _____ the competition, and we will die,” Koko said.

Answers: 1. loose 2. lose 3. lose 4. loose 5. lose

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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Sick idioms

For most of the past week, I have been sick. I mean sick sick. Curled up in a ball, clutching the tissue box, a useless sick lump with a scratchy throat, who can do nothing but cough and sneeze while her insides turn into mucus sick. And with my last two brain cells that survived the fever, I thought about idioms, of course.

It’s true, I am sick as a dog. As in, “Have you seen Erin? Yeah, the lady with the two-foot high mound of used tissues piled beside her? She is sick as a dog.” Why I’m sick as a dog, and not as a cat, a rat, a raccoon, or sick as a termite, I don’t know. That’s the magic of idioms—they don’t mean what they literally say. Dogs are very popular animals in idioms, however. There’s in the dog house and fight like cats and dogs and call off the dogs, to name a few. And sick as a dog has been in our parlance since at least the 1500s.

There are many “sick” idioms in English. And not all mean to literally be ill. Sick as a parrot, for example, is a U.K. idiom that means to be very disappointed. For example, “Johnny was sick as a parrot when his team lost the match.”

There’s also sick at heart, which means to be very sad. For example, “The day Johnny left for the Navy, I was sick at heart, thinking of him being so far away from me.”

With my last few moments of clarity I have before I slip into another cold medicine daze, I have gathered a collection of sick idioms for you to enjoy. Here’s to your health.

Be sick and tired: to be fed up
Example: I am sick and tired of this cold! It’s lasted a whole week!

Be sick to death: to be fed up
Example: I am sick to death of homework! When is summer vacation going to get here?

Be worried sick: to be extremely concerned
Example: I have been worried sick about Johnny since he joined the Navy. What if a shark eats his submarine?

Be sick to your stomach: to encounter such unpleasantness that it makes you ill
Example: The thought of having to share my cookies with that little girl makes me sick to my stomach. These cookies are mine!

Sick up: vomit
Example: I ate so many cookies this morning that I made sick up.

Make someone sick: to extremely disturb someone
Example: Mom made me share my cookies, and it just made me sick. I was so angry!

Sick in bed: to stay in bed while ill
Example: I have been sick in bed with this cold for a week now.

Funny French Idioms

As part of my final in my French class, I will be performing a scene from a famous French play. I don’t know yet what character I will be, but I do know that I will be wearing a unicorn hat. Because I have one. Because, why not? (And because it may be silly enough to distract my teacher from noticing any mispronunciations.)

To get in the mood for my debut as an actrice française, I have collected a group of funny French idioms for you to enjoy.

Idioms are phrases, sometimes unique to particular cultures, that have a different meaning than the literal phrase. English idioms you may recognize are, “It’s raining like cats and dogs,” and “mad as a hatter.”

French idiom: C’est la fin des haricots.
Literal translation: That’s the end of the beans.
Idiomatic meaning: That’s the last straw.

French idiom: Devenir chêvre
Literal translation: To become a goat
Idiomatic meaning: To get very angry

French idiom: Les carottes sont cuites.
Literal translation: The carrots are cooked.
Idiomatic meaning: I’ve had enough!

French idiom: Casser les oreilles.
Literal translation: To break someone’s ears
Idiomatic meaning: To be offensive with too loud of music, too much talking, etc.

French idiom: Faire un boeuf
Literal translation: To make a beef
Idiomatic meaning: To have a musical jam session

French idiom: Avoir la gueule de bois
Literal translation: To have a wooden face
Idiomatic meaning: To have a hangover

French idiom: Faire un tabac
Literal translation: Make a tobacco
Idiomatic meaning: Be the talk of the town

French idiom: Avoir le cafard
Literal translation: To have the beetle
Idiomatic meaning: To be blue

French idiom: Chercher des puces
Literal translation: To look for fleas
Idiomatic meaning: To annoy someone

French idiom:  A toutes les sauces
Literal translation: With all the sauces
Idiomatic meaning: In all kinds of ways

French idiom: Avoir le démon de midi
Literal translation: To have the midday demon
Idiomatic meaning: To have a midlife crisis

French idiom: Faire le pied de grue
Literal translation: To make like a flamingo stands
Idiomatic meaning: To wait

On that note, I’m going to “make like a tree and leave” until next time. Bonsoir!

Funny Spanish idioms


Here is a list of entertaining Spanish idioms and their English equivalents.

La carne de burro no es transparente.
Literal translation: The flesh of the donkey is not transparent.
English equivalent: You make a better door than a window.

Sacarse el gordo.
Literal translation: To draw the fat one.
English equivalent: To hit the jackpot.


Gato escaldado del agua fria huye.
Literal translation: The scalded cat flees cold water.
English equivalent: Once bitten twice shy.


Cada perico a su estaca, cada changa a su mecate.
Literal translation: Each parrot on its perch, each monkey on its rope.
English equivalent: To each his own.


Comer frijoles y repetir pollo
Literal translation: To eat beans and belch chicken.
English equivalent: His bark is mightier than his bite.


Da un beso a la botella.
Literal translation: Give the bottle a kiss.
English equivalent: Take a swig.

Claro como el agua de Xochimilco
Literal translation: Clear as the water of Xochimilco
English equivalent: Clear as mud.

Está pensando en las musarañas.
Literal translation: He or she is thinking about the creepy-crawlies.
English equivalent: He or she is daydreaming.