Questions about English used in Australia.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

12
votes
3answers
2k views

Date as a synonym for anus

In the Song "Ten Foot Cock And A Few Hundred Virgins" Tim Minchin uses the phrase "it's a sin to take it up the date, even if it's great, even with your cowboy mate". I'm not a native English speaker ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do Aussies use “cactus” to mean “dead,” “useless,” or “broken”?

This bloody washing machine is cactus! Glossaries / dictionaries of Australian slang (like this one, and this one) list cactus as meaning "dead, useless, or broken." How did this usage come ...
6
votes
5answers
723 views

How to express someone's height in metric

If someone is 169cm tall, what is the most common way of saying their height in metres and centimetres in American/Australian/British English? I'm not interested in converting metres (meters) and ...
0
votes
3answers
48 views

Are there local differences in the definitions of cleaning and tidying?

Do the words cleaning and tidying translate differently in different English speaking countries? Specifically, would vacuuming always be considered part of tidying AND cleaning?
3
votes
3answers
65 views

How did the term “bolshie” come to be applied to birds?

This question is prompted by a term in http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/73108561/Council-warning-threatened-falcon-species-launch-fists-of-fury-against-walkers Falcons were bolshie birds, ...
3
votes
2answers
171 views

In which countries would “tags” be understood to mean “License plates and stickers that show the registration is currently valid”?

On our sister site a user recently used the term "tags" in relation to taxis in China. I thought it might man some kind of official authorization to operate a taxi. But upon clarification I was told ...
5
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
32
votes
9answers
4k views

Is “best” still a superlative in “best friend”, as in can you have more than one “best friend”?

I was speaking to a 15-year-old native English speaker (in Australia), who referred to someone as her "best friend". Later, she revealed that this wasn't her only best friend. She had four best ...
0
votes
3answers
3k views

How to pronounce (OS X) Yosemite in Australian English

In Australian English, is (OS X) Yosemite pronounced to rhyme with "vegemite", or the same as in Yosemite Sam, who is named after the national park?
1
vote
0answers
63 views

“He could do X for England”. Are there similar expressions in other parts of the English-speaking world to this derogatory sentence?

In Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe novels, I've read the phrase: "He could [do x] for England. It is always derogatory. It is a lovely phrase! Because I can't put my finger on a quote from these ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

In phonetic transcription of Australian English, is the schwa (ə) ever nasalised?

In linguistics we've been looking at phonetic transcriptions. In words that have been reduced in conversation (i.e. /ænd/ has become [ən]) is the schwa nasalised? I know that in Australian English ...
1
vote
1answer
102 views

Is “muck” used as a minced version of “f———” in Australian English?

While "muck" deals with the taboo of filth, while "fuck" deals with the taboo of sex, the two verbs can be used similarly in some circumstances in Australian English. For example "muck up", "muck ...
3
votes
2answers
211 views

What is the origin of the word “copped”?

In the language used by footy (Australian football) commentators the word "copped" is frequent. For instance, if a player gets knocked on the head, say, then the sentence might be "player X copped ...
1
vote
1answer
41 views

Does “three corner” refer to South Australia? [closed]

In the NHK program Somewhere Street (Japanese: Sekai Fureai Machiaruki) on Adelaide, a lifesaver was quoted as saying what sounded like (pideo.net link at 14:25): Born down the road ... after ...
2
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
546 views

“I usually knock off at 6”

"I usually knock off at 6", i heard an english gentleman say that. Does it sound odd only to me? In fact, what I heard was "I usually masturbate at 6" Did some research: found a book (i'm guessing ...
0
votes
2answers
35 views

What did Horne mean by “catching the 8.2” when discussing surburbanisation in Australia?

In the book The Lucky Country, Donald Horne says: Australia may have been the first suburban nation: for several generations, most of its men have been catching the 8.2, and messing about with ...
3
votes
3answers
401 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? ...
0
votes
1answer
243 views

Phrases used to replace“ I think” [closed]

Can anybody suggest phrases or sentences I can use instead of "I think" when it comes to giving opinions Thank you.
1
vote
2answers
73 views

Is “cut and come again” understood outside Australia?

Although I haven't read the Australian children's book "The Magic Pudding", I'm familiar with the phrase "cut and come again" being used in it. Is the phrase understood outside of Australia?
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Is 'magazine' a singular subject or plural?

If I am referring to a magazine as an entity comprising its editor and staff, is it correct to say, 'The magazine are keen for submissions' or 'The magazine is keen for submissions'? (I'm correcting ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

On literary techniques

Are there any literary techniques in these quotes? “But a man who comes to power with the support of the common people holds it alone and has no one around him who’s unwilling to obey” and ...
0
votes
1answer
89 views

What is it called when some pronounces their “s” sounds sharply

I've long noticed that when it comes to pronouncing words containing an "s" sound, their are those that pronounce it softly and those that pronounce it sharply. I have always wanted to put a name to ...
5
votes
1answer
172 views

Are litotes more common in Australian English?

Are litotes more common in Australian English, especially colloquial speech, compared to other dialects of English such as American English? I could find on ELU a comment stating that this is the ...
4
votes
2answers
180 views

Is 'yeah-nah' a uniquely Australian idiom?

There is a response in Australian English that means "Yes I hear you and empathise with your situation, but no this course of action won't work for me." [Yeah-Nah] I assumed this was a normal part of ...
2
votes
2answers
136 views

Do English speaking subcultures attach different meanings to the phrase “I'm sorry”? [duplicate]

On a recent trip the US, someone explained to me that saying "sorry" meant taking responsibility for causing the loss. Thus you should only say sorry if you intended to fix the situation. (And ...
3
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
456 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 Aboriginal English. Wikipedia's article on the topic gives a ...
8
votes
3answers
691 views

Why is the Australian Labor Party spelt without a 'u'? [closed]

In both the UK and New Zealand there are Labour parties spelt with a u. The Labour Party. The New Zealand Labour Party In Australia, it's The Labor Party. Australian Labor Party What explains ...
0
votes
1answer
190 views

what does ranger redhead mean for Australians?

I heard this reference on the Bravo TV show "Watch What Happens : Live" when Andy was speaking to the Housewives of Melbourne. They were giving phrases to the guests that were things Australians say, ...
4
votes
5answers
704 views

Expression for becoming homeless, which has the word 'street' in it? How about “pushed to the streets”?

If I lost all my money and became homeless, what standard expression can I use which has the word 'street'? Would it sound perfectly okay to a native English speaker if I said "I was pushed to the ...
2
votes
1answer
1k 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" ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

How did different accents originate in English? [closed]

I want to know the New Zealand and Australian dialects in English. Please tell me what you know.
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did Australian English change from spelling words like 'honor' to 'honour'?

I know there are other questions comparing the US and UK usage of o and ou in words like colour. My question is specifically in regard to Australian English. I was always taught that here in Australia ...
7
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
10k views

“Pissed” vs “Pissed off”

In Australian English there has always been a distinction between "pissed" (intoxicated) and "pissed off" (angry, irritated). I've noticed a trend towards the American usage where "he was really ...
-2
votes
1answer
214 views

Chose best passive/active voice… 1. They greet me cheerfully every morning. a. Every morning I was greeted cheerfully. b. I am greeted cheerfull [closed]

In the questions below the sentences have been given in active/passive voice. From the given alternatives, choose the one which best expresses the given sentence in passive/active voice... 1. They ...
5
votes
2answers
920 views

What Kind of Connotations are Associated with the word 'Bruv'?

I encountered the slang word 'bruv' for the first time not long ago while playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The word is used quite a lot by a genius scientist character named Gladstone Katoa, but ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

Socket or outlet, which one do you use when explaining to a child? [closed]

I'm just curious.... In the USA, how do you explain to a child 'don't put anything in the electrical outlet' or 'don't play with a wall socket'?? How do you say the same thing around the globe?
3
votes
0answers
365 views

Distinguishing Australian, English, South African accents [closed]

I have attended courses in English over many years, and as most of my English teachers have an Algerian accent, I have always wondered about the question of accents. I can distinguish an American ...
0
votes
1answer
101 views

Is “root access” acceptable in a professional setting in Australian English?

In Australian English, which has a slang meaning of "root" which is best avoided in a professional setting, is "root access" acceptable in a professional setting? If not, what synonyms, preferably ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

What is a “hens party” and where is this phrase commonly used?

Where does the term come from, where in the world is the term used? I came across the usage in this article, with this paragraph as quoted: Keara O'Neil was on a shopping trip to find bridesmaid ...
18
votes
6answers
21k views

How did the Australian accent come about?

Can anybody tell me how the Australian accent came about? It seems strange to me that it is not more like an English accent taking into account that the first and the majority of settlers were ...
5
votes
2answers
172 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 ...
6
votes
9answers
4k 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
262 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
748 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
102 views

1902 use of phrase “giving a tiger” in the context of paying homage to the King's coronation

In Mrs Aeneas Gunn's autobiographical 'The Little Black Princess : A True Tale of Life in the Never-Never Land, 1905, she writes about previously celebrating the coronation of Edward VII in the bush. ...
8
votes
4answers
24k 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. ...
5
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...