I'm a dual citizen of the United States and Australia, and most of my still-living family resides Down Under; as a writer and editor, I have always taken particular joy in the fun and lighthearted way many Aussies treat the English language. They have no compunctions about making up pretty out-there expressions (of course they vary by region—Australia is almost as large as the continental United States) and then modifying them so that you end up with what sounds to an American like a crazy phrase.

I would wager that Aussies (said like Ozzies) are the most creative users of the language with their knack for abbreviating pretty much every word you can think of and adding an o, a y, or an ie at the end—which makes it very cute sounding of course.

This fall (their summer!) I'll be heading to Oz to visit my family, and I'll be packing my cozzie (swimsuit) and sunnies (sunglasses) because if we're not at the beach, we're at the pool, especially in the summer. Hopefully I won't have to visit a smash shop (car repair) but I might have to accompany my dad to pick up a chook (chicken) in the arvo (afternoon) and stop at the servo (gas station) to fill up on petrol (not gas) on the way home. If I get buggered (tired) with all that running around, I'll take a kip (a nap), because I'm certainly not going to be doing much hard yakka (hard work) while I'm there. I'm not sure if I'll stay for Chrissie (Christmas), but I do love prezzies and delicious tucker (food), so we'll see! Yep, all of the previous info is fair dinkum (honest stuff, also: Dinky do), I promise!

Here are some more fun Australian idioms and slang words and their explanations. (Oh! And forget about throwing shrimp on the barbie—Australians call them prawns!)

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Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

How to speak Australian
The accent from Down Under isn't the only thing that's different; Aussies also use some mighty creative (and usually fun) words.