That’s something Aussie Matt Horsburgh, the PR manager for Babbel International, has realized since he started working in Europe alongside international colleagues.
“Working with people from all over the world on a daily basis, it’s eye-opening – and sometimes downright hilarious – to see how others react to some really everyday Aussie expressions,” he said.
“One of my favorite examples was when I said ‘yeah, no worries’ to a colleague and they asked me what I was worried about. I had to clarify that it meant ‘yes’.
“Even though I constantly end up having to explain what things like ‘she’ll be right’ or ‘togs’ mean, I think our slang is one of the most endearing things about being an Australian, and people from other countries always love hearing about our idiosyncrasies.”
Sometimes, though, it can start off sounding like total nonsense.
Babbel, the language learning app, recently polled people from the US, the UK, Canada, France, Sweden, Germany, Spain, the Philippines, Poland and Russia, seeking their interpretations of classic Australian slang.
Respondents successfully deciphered the easy stuff, like “g’day”, but other words and phrases left them totally baffled and perhaps even a little frightened.
Here are some of the survey results.
‘SHE’LL BE RIGHT’
UK’s guess: “The wife is always correct”
Russia’s guess: “She will be back in a minute”
Actual meaning: Everything will be fine
‘CHUCK A U-EY’
Germany’s guess: “Something that is disgusting”
Poland’s guess: “To drink fast”
Russia’s guess: “Everything is cool”
Actual meaning: To make a U-turn while driving
UK: “Bring the drinks”
France and Sweden and Germany: “Waiter”
Actual meaning: Service station
FLAT OUT LIKE A LIZARD DRINKING
US: “Absolutely no idea”
France: “To have a flat tire”
Germany: “Spilling drinks everywhere”
Actual meaning: To be very busy
‘FAIR SUCK OF THE SAUCE BOTTLE’
UK: “Probably something alcohol related”
US: “To be drunk”
Actual meaning: To be treated fairly or reasonably
‘CARRY ON LIKE A PORK CHOP’
UK: “A fat person trying to finish a task”
US: “To talk excessively”
Actual meaning: To act in an overly dramatic manner
‘YOU HUM DINGER’
Sweden: “You fool”
Philippines: “You’re boring”
Poland: “You smell bad”
Actual meaning: A remarkable person or thing
‘HEAD LIKE A DROPPED PIE’
Germany: “To be confused”
Sweden: “Having a headache”
Actual meaning: To be unattractive
‘KANGAROOS LOOSE IN THE TOP PADDOCK’
Canada: “Someone who isn’t very smart” (bingo!)
Poland: “To be very messy”
Russia: “Mobbing the losers”
Actual meaning: To be foolish, nonsensical, crazy
‘SHE’S A BLOODY RIPPER‘
France: “She just wants your money”
US: “A big storm”
Actual meaning: Something awesome
US: “One of the former Prime Ministers”
Actual meaning: Enthusiastic yes, you bet (taken from “f**ken oath”)
Sweden: “A crazy person”
Poland: “Not a very smart person”
Actual meaning: Wine, usually cheap, sold in a cask
‘CRACK THE SH*TS’
US: “To get nervous”
Germany: “To clear out quickly”
Actual meaning: To get angry or annoyed.