It would seem obvious to me that Australian English is closer to British English due to the historical events that led to English people living here. But it seems when differences occur that US English aligns more. Is this due to content from the US vs. Great Britain?

  • Are you implying that uniquely Australian changes to the language cause it to more closely resemble American English rather than British? Are you talking about spelling, pronunciation, or another facet? (Don't forget historical influences may have resulted from the WW2 US presence in the South Pacific, in close proximity to New Zealand and Australia.) May 26, 2011 at 0:59
  • I have been told that US English (when used correctly), at times, more accurately reflects the English used in GB at the time of colonization than the English used in GB today. I am not an expert on the subject, so cannot opine on the veracity of this. However, if it is true, then it would stand to reason that the same is true of Australian English.
    – user19855
    Apr 9, 2012 at 3:36
  • Probably someone asking this question here wants actual references or statistics, rather than opinions and anecdotes.
    – GEdgar
    Apr 9, 2012 at 13:00
  • @GEdgar: an attempt at a technical question and answer.
    – Mitch
    Apr 9, 2012 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


Australian English is quite like British-English. Around WW2, it was very similar, including terms like "pounds, shillings, tea(as in dinner), etc." still in common use. However, during the late 20th century, there is a rise of American English, being now used predominantly in movies, tv shows, etc.

Due to this influence of American English, Australian English is becoming increasingly like American English, as well as several other countries, like New Zealand, Canada, etc. (Not including British-English).

  • Although it should be noted that concerns about Australian English becoming too "Americanized" have been voiced since at least the 1800s.
    – lzcd
    Apr 10, 2012 at 3:28

As far as slang is concerned, I've found that Australian and British are closer to each other than to American:

  • dickhead
  • mate
  • arse

I'm not sure why this is. But it might be driven by the same force that makes the sports of Australia and Britain coincide a lot more than with the US (cricket & rugby).

(FYI I've lived in the UK and USA but never Australia, though at my secondary school there would be Australian exchange sports coaches who’d bark orders at me)

  • 1
    Britain has no monopoly on dickheads.
    – tchrist
    Sep 10, 2018 at 3:01
  • Sure, though I can tell you Americans don't say it. And as a wider point, America, the country of entrepreneurs, isn't very innovative when it comes to slang. The British seem to have a lot more slang synonyms for the same entity than Americans do. Sep 10, 2018 at 3:03
  • I quite assure you we do very much say that word. And have for as long as I can remember, which is rather a long time. Your racist dig was not appreciated.
    – tchrist
    Sep 10, 2018 at 3:05
  • Interesting, I've never heard Americans say it and I've been living here for 14 years. And I apologize, I don't mean any racist dig. I'm not sure what I said that was racist. If anything, my use of rude words was the one thing I was conscious may not be appropriate. Sep 10, 2018 at 3:07
  • 2
    The word was plenty common when I was 14 in America, more than four decades ago. I'm pretty sure it's still current. If you haven't heard it here, then perhaps folks are just being polite around you.
    – tchrist
    Sep 10, 2018 at 3:08

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