Slang words start from many different sources. Some words are shortened versions of longer words. Many were expressions already used by migrants who came from the north of England. If you are unsure what an expression means, it is all right to ask the person who said it to explain. Some common expressions are:
- Bring a plate - when you are invited to a party and asked to 'bring a plate', this means to bring a dish of food to share with your host and other guests. Take the food to the party in any type of dish, not just a plate, and it is usually ready to serve. This is common for communal gatherings such as for school, work or a club. If you are unsure what to bring, you can ask the host.
- BYO - when an invitation to a party says 'BYO', this means 'bring your drink'. If you do not drink alcohol, it is acceptable to bring juice, soft drink or soda, or water. Some restaurants are BYO. You can bring your own wine to these, although there is usually a charge for providing and cleaning glasses called 'corkage'.
- Arvo - this is shout for afternoon. 'Drop by this arvo,' means please come and visit this afternoon.
- Fortnight - this term describes a period of two weeks.
- Barbeque, BBQ, barbie - outdoor cooking, usually of meat or seafood over a grill or hotplate using gas or coals. The host serves the eat with salads and bread rolls.It is common for a guest, when invited to a BBQ, to ask if they should bring anything.
- Snag - the raw type sausages usually cooked at a BBQ. They can be made of pork, beef or chicken.
- Chook - the term chook means a chicken, usually a hen.
- Cuppa - a cup of tea or coffer 'Drop by this arvo for a cuppa' means please come and visit this afternoon for a cup of tea or coffee.
- Loo or dunny - Thesea are slang term for toilet. If you are a guest in someone's house for the first time, it is usually polite to ask permission to use his or her toilet. 'May I use your toilet please?' Some people ask, 'Where's the loo?'
- Fair dinkum - honest, the truth. 'Fair dinkum?' when used as a question means, 'is it really true?'
- To be crooked - to be sick or ill
- Flat out - busy
- Shout - to buy someone a drink. At a bar or a pub when a group of friends meet, it is usual for each person to 'shout a round', meaning buy everybody a drink. Each person takes a turn at buying a 'round'. It is also acceptable to say that you do not drink (alcohol) by saying that you are a 'teetotaller.This also means you are not obliged to shout.
- Bloke - a man. Sometimes if you ask for help, you may get an answer, to 'see that bloke over there'.
- How ya goin? 'How are you going?' means how are you, or how do you do? It does not mean what form of transport you are taking. Sometimes it can sound like 'ow-ya-goin-mate'.
- For more information on Australian slang visit: http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/choose-australia/about-australia/au-customs/common-words.htm