Questions about English used in Australia.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
1answer
56 views

What does the word “En masse” mean in the following context?

I need someone to help me to define the meaning of the word "en masse" in the following context: the initial aim of internment during the later conflict was to identify and intern those who posed ...
1
vote
3answers
92 views

Is it “re-offend” or “reoffend”? [closed]

I want to know whether there is a hyphen in the word re-offend, or if it is spelt reoffend. I looked in Oxford English dictionary and the word "reoffend" appears, but then I checked Merriam-Webster ...
4
votes
1answer
165 views

What does 'Roodow (wrongly spelled, only the sound)' mean?

In Australia, I have met a lot of people saying a word (sound like) 'roudow' to respond (mostly to end, like 'alright' equivalent) a conversation. I have been searching around but haven't got any clue ...
3
votes
3answers
548 views

Meaning of “Cheeky” in Australian Aboriginal English

In Australian Aboriginal English, does "Cheeky" have meanings different from those found in other varieties of English? In the Baz Luhrmann movie "Australia", the word "Cheeky" was used by the ...
1
vote
1answer
178 views

Is there a phonetic difference between the final vowel sounds of “butter” and “action” in Australian English?

The Macquarie Dictionary lists the following pronunciations: butter /ˈbʌtə/, apart /əˈpaːt/ & action /ˈækʃən/. Wiktionary lists them as butter /ˈbʌ.tə/ (RP), apart /əˈpɑː(ɹ)t/ (RP) & action ...
5
votes
3answers
345 views

Are there any words pronounced with an unstressed short monophthong at the end of word that are not /ə/?

Following my question Are there any words in English pronounced with /e/ at the end? I was wondering if there are any words pronounced with an unstressed short monophthong at the end of word that are ...
5
votes
2answers
205 views

Buckley's Chance

In Australian parlance we have the expression "He's got Buckley's chance" or "You've got two chances - Yours and Buckley's". Meaning - he o you have no chance at all. Who was Buckley?
1
vote
3answers
1k views

How common is pronouncing the past tense of beat as /bet/?

Personally, I pronounce the past tense of "beat" (to win at a game) as /biːt/, to sound identical to the infinitive. However, I have heard a few people under the age of 30 and from either the west or ...
2
votes
2answers
174 views

Does the English language have an official Academy?

For some languages, there are academies that decide topics such as grammar and spelling of things, for example, for the Spanish language, there are 22 academies in 22 different countries, all making ...
6
votes
2answers
945 views

Meaning and origin of British/Australian slang word 'tut'

About twenty years ago I overheard a girl from the north of England laughingly advise a friend to get ready for a night out by telling her to 'slap some tut on your face'. She clearly meant 'put on ...
-1
votes
2answers
774 views

British and other English variants of 'write to me' - 'write me'' [duplicate]

In British English, the standard is 'write to me'. In American English the standard is 'write me'. Similar variants exist with 'out of the window' and 'out the window'. When did the dropping of ...
1
vote
2answers
82 views

What does an en_GB speaker need to know to write en_AU?

I'm a native speaker of British English, and I often write documentation and copy for an international audience. I understand the differences between British and American English enough to "translate" ...
1
vote
2answers
207 views

Is “Wrong side business” used in real life?

In the film "Australia", the phrase "Wrong side business" (or "Wrong sided"?) is used as slang for sex. It sounds like typical Australian English or Australian Aboriginal English. However, I've lived ...
4
votes
1answer
123 views

What's the origin of “dinkum”?

Dinkum as a noun means work, especially hard work. As an adjective, like fair dinkum, it means honest or genuine. Other than saying it's chiefly Australian and New Zealand, the OED simply says ...
0
votes
3answers
439 views

Use of as good and as well

Are these two sentences correct? This is as good as ... This works as well as ... Edit: This one is as good as the other one. This one works as well as the other one.
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do 'fine words butter no parsnips'?

I was at a dinner last night where some rather nice herb butter was served with the vegetables. Conversation close to me then turned to the English expression 'Fine words butter no parsnips'. It ...
4
votes
7answers
845 views

Would the phrase “No worries!” be understood outside Australia?

In Australia, No worries! is a very common way of saying You’re welcome. I wonder whether it is used this way in other English-speaking countries. The phrase’s meaning can be understood easily ...
3
votes
1answer
115 views

Do Australians say “down north”?

I noticed some maps from the southern hemisphere are "reversed" with the south pole on top. Which makes me wonder, are there places in the southern hemisphere where the concept of "down" is presumed ...
0
votes
2answers
108 views

Who uses the term 'freehold'?

I am interested to discover in which countries, where English is used, the term 'freehold' and 'freeholder' is in everyday use. I know the question of 'freehold' has come up on this site before in ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

“brought some horses, real heelers..” : what is “heeler” here?

I quote from An Evening in Dandaloo (1891) by Banjo Paterson: It was while we held our races -- Hurdles, sprints and steplechases -- Up in Dandaloo, That a crowd of Sydney stealers, Jockeys, ...
2
votes
3answers
312 views

What do Australians mean when they say 'He came a gutsa'?

What does it mean to 'Come a gutsa'? I think I may have the Australian spelling right.
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Origin of “chuck a wobbly”?

Chuck a wobbly is Australian slang for someone throwing a tantrum, and I like it because it invokes amusing imagery. I'm not certain of its origins however. I can see how it may be equivalent to the ...
4
votes
7answers
201 views

Is there a word for an inferior substitute?

I was wondering if there is a word in English to describe a person fulfilling another's role, albeit not as proficient.
3
votes
2answers
161 views

Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word?

Usage: "I would not like to eat that pie as it looks all festy since you dropped it on the ground." Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word? Also, is it used elsewhere in the world? ...
2
votes
1answer
675 views

In an Australian context, should “Aborigine” be capitalised?

When referring to an Australian context, as opposed to Aboriginal Canadians, or indigenous people worlwide, should "Aborigine" (and "Aboriginal") be capitalised? I tried googling, but the hits I ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Exact meaning of “Tyranny of Distance”

In Australia, I often hear the phrase "the Tyranny of Distance", but I'm not exactly sure what it means. I know that the phrase originated from The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped ...
2
votes
1answer
119 views

Meaning of “I kissed her for her mother”

I recently re-read E.J. Brady's Down in Honolulu, but this line has stuck out to me: I kissed her for her mother,   I gev' her one, two, three; I squoze her for her brother— ...
1
vote
1answer
671 views

Sub-classification or subclassification? [closed]

We’re debating this at work. Merriam-Webster says it’s “subclassification”. Dictionary.Reference.com allows “sub-classification” and “subclassification” Is there a ‘more correct’ word to use? ...
6
votes
7answers
962 views

What could be the equivalent term in British or Australian English to the American English word “hillbilly”?

In Wikipedia, “hillbilly” is defined as: … a term referring to certain people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia but also the Ozarks. Owing to its ...
1
vote
1answer
176 views

Why are we supposed to say the “a” as an “e” in “any” and “many”?

I speak Australian English, but I seem to pronounce the words many and anything differently from how the vast majority of people here do so. I pronounce it using an a sound rather than an e sound ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Origin of “cracked the shits”

I heard someone use the expression "he cracked the shits" today which is universally recognised (at least in Australia) to mean "lost his temper". It struck me that it is a strange expression and the ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

English phonetics References [duplicate]

What are some great references on English pronunciation practices? The book The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations was mentioned in an answer on this site. Is it considered authoritative? What ...
2
votes
3answers
173 views

Is “cookie” a recent addition to Australian English?

Wiktionary's entry for cookie says a "cookie" is (England and Wales) A specifically American-style biscuit. and Wikipedia's entry for biscuit says Although in Commonwealth Nations, the term ...
1
vote
1answer
726 views

Are you “Dinky Die”? And what does Dinky Die mean? [closed]

Australia day is nearly upon us! And that means it's time to throw another chop on the barbie and say real Aussie things like "dinky die". Stone the crows, what's that even mean, "dinky die"? I've ...
3
votes
1answer
840 views

“Ridgy didge” — what's that mean? [closed]

Australia day is nearly upon us! And that means it's time to throw another steak on the barbie and say real Aussie things like "ridgy didge". Flaming heck, what's that even mean, "ridgy didge"? I've ...
8
votes
3answers
12k views

Why are Australian redheads often called 'bluey'?

From Wikipedia's article on Virgin Australia: Virgin Australia was launched as Virgin Blue in August 2000, with two Boeing 737–400 aircraft, one leased from then-sister airline Virgin Express. ...
2
votes
3answers
327 views

Is “I'm not racist, but …” more common in Australian English than other dialects? [closed]

Is the phrase "I'm not racist, but ..." more common in Australian English than other dialects? The phrase is used as a prefix to something that's likely to be interpreted as racist, probably because ...
1
vote
2answers
282 views

Is it unidiomatic to say “an Australian person” or “an Aussie person”?

As mentioned in For people, can you say "a British" like you can say "an Australian"?, you can use "an Australian" to talk about an Australian person. But is it also ok to use "an ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “early mark” only used in Australia and New Zealand?

What countries is "early mark" used in? It means being let out of something, typically school, early. onelook.com only reports it being mentioned in Urban Dictionary, and it doesn't have information ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Where does “I'll go he” come from, and is there more to the phrase?

I understand the meaning of the saying "I'll go he", but does anyone know where it comes from? The researcher here seems to think that there is a couple of words left off.
4
votes
1answer
342 views

Origin of “not for quids” phrase

At various times I've supposed the informal Australian phrase “not for quids” (which apparently is analogous to “not at any price”) derives from quid, which refers to sovereigns, or guineas. At ...
5
votes
3answers
210 views

Different dictionary in New South Wales, Australia?

My writing textbook on page 446 says this: Use local conventions regarding punctuation, spelling, and mechanics. Be aware that these conventions differ from place to place, even in the English ...
25
votes
6answers
1k views

Does the washing up fairy exist outside of Australia? [closed]

Just to clarify, I'm not talking about the Lush product of the same name. In Australia, the washing up fairy is a mythical creature. People leave their dishes unwashed overnight, and lo and behold, ...
8
votes
1answer
356 views

Meaning of “work ethics” in Australian English

Inspired by this question, I'm left wondering if the phrase “work ethics” has a slightly different meaning in Australian English than in other dialects. I came across this term some ...
1
vote
0answers
114 views

Resources for Australian street talk? [closed]

I know of a great series of books called "Street Talk" which tries to cover colloquial American English. Is there any such resources for Australian English? Especially with emphasis on Listening and ...
2
votes
1answer
679 views

Regional usage of “Violet” and “Purple”

I am looking to describe a flower such as the one in the following picture for a game: After showing the game to a number of beta testers, I noted that about half of them were fine with "violet" ...
4
votes
1answer
211 views

Parenthetical commas and foreign English

I advise a friend on her writing, despite not quite knowing an adverb from a proverb (kidding (kinda)). Invariably, parenthetical commas such as the following: Jane, my assistant, opened the ...
0
votes
4answers
612 views

What's the Australian or British way to say 'Ticket collector'? [closed]

I know Indians say ticket collectors while in Australia people are confused with this phrase. Please let me know how you would say that.
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Origin & history of name “she oak” or “sheoak” (a Casuarina tree)

In wikipedia's Casuarinaceae article (and somewhat similarly in its Casuarina article), one finds: The most widely used common name for Casuarinaceae species is sheoak or she-oak (a comparison of ...
15
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it awkward to use the word “aubergine” instead of “eggplant”?

According to Google Ngrams eggplant is far more common (although in British English aubergine seems to have a small advantage over eggplant). So, not being a native speaker of English I wonder ...